By Denise Tucker (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Aurora Houn’ Dawgs boys’ basketball team is in a state of transition with its second coach in three years and the loss of six seniors from the 2018-2019 squad.
And, though he may be in his first year as the head coach at Aurora, Adam Thornhill is no stranger to the profession having spent the last 11 years coaching at Seymour, Conway and most recently at Lebanon High School, accumulating an overall record of 116-171.
At each stop, Thornhill has turned things around. He improved the number of wins at Seymour in his two seasons there; had winning records in each of his three seasons at Conway; and led Lebanon to its first district final appearance (2017) since 2011, during his five seasons with the Yellowjackets.
Last season, the Houn’ Dawgs finished 3-21 overall and 1-5 in the Big 8 East after going 11-15 in 2017-2018 and 14-13 in 2016-2017. Thornhill looks for positive results heading into 2019-2020.
“With our inexperience we are sure to go through some ups and downs this season, but these are the type of young men who will be able to get through those experiences and grow from them,” Thornhill said. “They are an extremely fun group to coach that play unselfish and with high intensity.”
Aurora will look to turn things around with a young squad that includes Jaesik Friggle, Carson Barr, Trey Mulholland and Ryan Cline.
Friggle is a 6-foot sophomore guard, who started most of last season as a freshman. He averaged 6.2 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. “An athletic guard with the ability to get to the basket and hit from deep, who could be a great defender,” Thornhill said.
Barr, a junior, is another 6-0 athletic guard, while Mulholland, a 6-1 sophomore, is a “strong athletic guard with a smooth jumper and the ability to finish through contact. He is able to guard multiple positions.”
“Ryan (6-0 senior) gained varsity experience three years ago as a freshman,” Thornhill said. “He was injured the past two years but looks to be healthy now. He is a skilled guard and high-character player who could provide leadership and maturity for a young team.”
Thornhill also will be looking to newcomers Gavin Youngblood and Sage Welch to contribute this season, as well.
Youngblood is a 6-0 sophomore athletic guard “who has worked hard in the offseason to improve his game. He specializes in getting to the rim and finishing.”
Welch, a 6-0 sophomore, is another athletic guard “who has worked hard in the offseason. He specializes in stretching defenses with his outside shot.”
The Houn’ Dawgs open the season after Thanksgiving at McDonald County on Dec. 3.
“We’ll begin laying the foundation of a position-less, fast-attacking style of play that will help to develop players faster and build confidence,” Thornhill said.