By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Glendale will have a different look in Brian McTague’s seventh season.
The Falcons return just two starters and three total letterwinners from last year’s 13-13 group. A team that averaged 66.5 PPG and made 216 3-point FG. But, last year’s edition was McTague’s lowest-scoring group since his first season at Glendale.
Senior guards Karter Lowry and Jackson Osborn return after finding major minutes last year. Lowry, a starter, averaged 9.3 PPG, 2.3 RPG and 1.5 APG. Osborn was a reserve point guard that averaged 3.0 PPG, 2.5 APG and 1.4 SPG.
The biggest name returning for Glendale is sophomore Carter Harrell.
The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 10.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 2.4 APG. Harrell was also selected to the Ozark Conference All-Defensive Team last season. One of the top 2022 players in Missouri, Harrell will have a chance to have a breakout season in the Ozark Conference.
“Carter is long and athletic with a great basketball IQ,” said McTague. “He competes on both ends, so he was able to play from day one.”
The rest of Glendale’s roster will be filled out by players that haven’t seen much varsity action.
Seniors Shivell Crosby, Chase Killian and junior Jack Clinkenbeard will compete for spots in the backcourt rotation. Seniors Travon Cooper and Isaac Hill, as well as 6-foot-8 sophomore Aaron Ledgerwood, will anchor the paint for the Falcons.
The success of Glendale’s season will hinge on how quickly its inexperienced players get acclimated to varsity basketball. Something that was a struggle last year when the Falcons lost eight games by six points or fewer.
“The speed of the game and the intensity of varsity basketball is difficult to adjust to,” said McTague. “It’s just different than playing JV or freshman ball. Another year of experience at the varsity level is beneficial for all kids. They know what to expect now and will be better at closing out games.”
It’ll be a baptism by fire for the young Falcons.
Their pre-conference schedule includes 4-star prospect Trey Alexander and Heritage Hall (Okla.), Rogers Hertiage and Nixa all before Christmas.
The Ozark Conference will again be loaded and Glendale will likely share a district with either SPS rivals Kickapoo and Parkview, or the elite of the COC. Regardless, what it’ll take for the Falcons to compete for conference and district championships will be the same.
“We must be unselfish, have role buy-in and only care about winning at the end of the day,” said McTague. “The league should be pretty balanced this year, so there will be a lot of close games each night. The teams that can close in the fourth quarter will rise up.”
Glendale will open the 2019-20 season on Dec. 5 at the Van Horn Tournament.