By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Cassville Basketball will enter a new era with Thomas Hubbard taking over the reins from Chris Shore.
Hubbard comes over after five seasons at Pittsburg (Kan.) and two years at Porter (Okla.), part of an 18-year coaching career.
He will now take over a program that will look to rebuild after a 22-6 season, losing four starters and five letterwinners.
For Hubbard, the most important thing when taking over a new program is simple; it comes down to developing relationships. Especially when trying to replace a group like the Class of 2018 and all of their success.
“The players know that you care about them personally and your expectations,” said Hubbard. “Anytime you have that much success it’s hard to replace those type of players. That group of girls were very competitive and they would do whatever was needed to do to improve as a team and were committed to each other. They were great teammates to each other and I think they helped set the expectations for future teams of how you play for your teammates and not necessarily for yourself.”
Hubbard’s first edition will be centered on lone returning starter, junior guard Madry McCrackin, who averaged 7.8 PPG and 3.1 RPG as a sophomore.
Senior Alondra Miller also returns after playing sparingly as a junior. Sophomores Kyren Postlewaot, Lilly Harrison, Jordyn Stafford and Hallie Hackler will also compete for roles after seeing minutes as freshmen last season.
Hubbard is also excited about a quartet of newcomers, two seniors and two freshmen, who could potentially add depth and versatility this year.
Adrien Lee and Haley Nape will see minutes on the perimeter and in the post respectively, while freshman Sharayah Seymour could see reps at several positions. Freshman Riley Morris will also add depth in the post.
“Adrien is a multi-sport athlete that has a great attitude,” said Hubbard. “She will be a great addition for our team, playing a guard position. Haley has good size and is a very smart player. Will be a great teammate as well. She will play a post position.
“Sharayah is a versatile athlete that has the potential to be an impact player for us this year. She can play multiple positions. Riley is an athletic, very competitive player. I’m looking for her to potential help us later in the season. She will play a post position.”
Cassville will again have no shortage of premiere nonconference games, with COC foes Carthage and Neosho on the schedule, as well as small school powers Pierce City, Fair Grove and Blue Eye.
A new addition to the schedule will be Nevada, who joins the Big 8 along with what was known as the COC Small.
The Lady Tigers won a Class 4 district championship last season. With the new conference format, specifically the crossover game on Feb. 11, Cassville will be looking at two more marque games in the Big 8.
“For the West side of the league, we only added Nevada, so for us our schedule really didn’t change all that much,” said Hubbard. “But overall the competitiveness of the conference as definitely increased. Should be some very good match-ups throughout the year.”
Cassville will open the 2018-19 season at home against Pea Ridge (Ark.) on Nov. 16.