By Denise Tucker (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Marionville Comets are coming off a disappointing 2017-2018 season, and head coach Ted Young looks for his team to rebound this season.
The Comets finished 12-15 overall and 1-5 in the Mid-Lakes Conference last year. They defeated Billings 64-53 in the first round of the Class 2 District 11 Tournament before losing 55-40 to Crane in the second round.
Marionville, which will be competing in the Southwest Conference this year, loses just one starter/letterman from last season. Guard Ryan Mayberry was the only senior from 2017-18 and was an All-Mid-Lakes Honorable Mention selection. His toughness and winning mentality will be missed.
Back for the Comets this season are four starters and four seniors. Key returnees include:
• Josh Goodman – 5-11 senior – averaged 16.3 points per game, 3.5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. Goodman was a first-team All-District selection and second-team All-Mid-Lakes. Young says Goodman was one of the Comets’ best scorers, and he “will look for him to continue to lead the way in scoring and rebounding.”
• Gavin Stanton – 6-1 senior – averaged 10.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.7 apg. Stanton was a first-team All-District and All-Mid-Lakes Honorable Mention pick last year. “He has really developed as a scorer and is a great defender. We will ask him to do a lot of things this year.”
• Laythen Utke – 6-0 senior – averaged 5.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.4 apg. “We expect big things out of Laythen entering his senior year.”
• Evan Dotson – 6-0 senior – averaged 3.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.7 apg. Dotson is a three-sport athlete. “We will need him to be dominant defensively and feed off his toughness.”
• Kale Bateman – 6-5 junior – “Showed great potential last year. We look for him to step up this year and give great minutes.”
• Mathew Goodman – 5-9 junior – “He is a good defender and brings us a lot of toughness. We will ask him to handle the ball and lock down scorers.”
Young, who is in his 24th year at Marionville (422-196), has several freshmen and sophomores who will look to compete for varsity minutes this season.
• Austin White – 6-1 sophomore
• Lake High – 5-9 freshman
• Koy Ditmar – 5-6 freshman
• Jordan Williams – 5-9 sophomore
• Chris Mayberry – 6-0 senior
• Jacksen Smith – 5-9 freshman
• Zach Newberry – 6-1 junior
• Wyley Brown – 5-9 freshman
• Adam Phillips – 5-9 sophomore
• Arthur Isom – 5-10 senior – moved in from Wynne, Ark.
The Comets will participate in a jamboree, which includes Galena, College Heights and Sarcoxie, on Nov. 15 at Ozark Christian College, before opening the regular season on Nov. 26, when they host the Marionville Invitational.
“Last year was very disappointing for us,” Young said. “Hopefully this year, we can come together as a team and play with a lot more passion and heart so we can turn things around from a season ago.
“We hope to compete at the highest level each game and do the little things right each and every night. We have to be disciplined and be physically and mentally tougher than anyone else, and good things will happen.”