By Scott Vanscoy (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Eric Rogers takes over as the new head coach of the Forsyth Panthers as the Panthers look to rebuild this season. The Panthers are no longer a member of the SWCL conference and are now a member of the Mid-Lakes Conference. This season brings new opportunities and challenges as they navigate their way through the Mid-Lakes. The Panthers will have to replace much of their scoring and rebounding from last season. Forsyth lost 6 lettermen and will have to replace 85% of their scoring and 79% of their rebounding. Miciah Rocha led the team in scoring last year with a 22.2 points per game average; he also pulled down 5 boards per game. Anthony Stanford and James Koch averaged 14 points and 10 points each, as well.
Senior Dawson Deroo returns as the team’s only returning starter. Deroo averaged 5.8 points and almost 7 boards per game last year, and Deroo is looking to see those numbers increase to get the Panthers in the win column.
Three letter winners return: seniors Lane Smith and Briar Kellem, along with junior guard Trevor Turner. Turner saw the varsity floor the most among these three, but they will all be asked to contribute on both sides of the floor.
Senior Billy Tate will be one of four new faces to the vasity roster. The other three are juniors Nick Lumley and Jon Deroo, along with sophomore guard Buck Sanders.
Some goals that Forsyth would like to obtain this season are to win 20 plus games, finish in the top half of their conference, and win a couple of tournaments. The Panthers would like to be able hold their opponents to under 45 points a night; a tall task for such a young team.
“We are a program with some young talent,” said Rogers. “We had a taste of success in 2017-18, finishing as SWCL Conference Champs. With the Mid-Lakes being a stellar conference, we would like to finish near the top of the conference. Our focus will be team unity and fundamentals with a defensive philosophy.”
Going from the SWCL Conference to the Mid-Lakes Conference will be a daunting task. Clever (SWCL Champ two years ago), Fair Grove, Skyline, Stockton and Strafford are in the Mid-Lakes. They all have pedigrees of success in their programs’ histories. With Forsyth and Clever both moving to the Conference there are many unknowns, but Rogers think his kids are up for the challenge.
“Last season we finished as Conference Champs with a 20-7 record in the SWCL,” said Rogers. “We are a young team looking to compete each night in a tough Mid-Lakes conference.”