By Justin Sampson (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Last season was a learning experience for much of the Reeds Spring roster. Players found themselves on the floor out of necessity as the Wolves put together a 6-19 record.
Now, Barry Yocom expects that experience to pay dividends.
“It was one of those years that we had a bunch of young kids that were thrust into varsity action,” the head coach said. “We took some lumps and gained experience. That will be better this year. The added year of skills, physicality, and basketball IQ will help us.”
Yocom has never been a big advocate of fall shootouts or other activities that tie up his players in the fall. He enjoys sticking to a handful of workouts per week while allowing his players to show their skills on other fields of play.
When his squad does come together, they’ll be led by three seniors: JT Bayliff, Al Chavez, and Brandon Reeves-Eakins.
Bayliff and Chavez, both returning starters, will make up the backcourt as they combined for 8.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists as juniors. Both will be expected to increase those numbers in their final varsity seasons.
Reeves-Eakins will fill up the post with his 6’4” frame. He spent last winter primarily contributing at the junior varsity level, where he was one of the high scorers on the team, but his size and defensive prowess will bump him into a larger role on the top squad.
All-Big 8 East Honorable Mention Lance Hafer proved to be the Wolves’ biggest weapon last season. He averaged just shy of 13 points per night with 7.8 rebounds as a sophomore. He boasts one of the taller frames in the area at 6’6”, a fact that Reeds Spring will continue to utilize.
“We look for him to produce and take the next step in his development,” said Yocom. “His length is a big factor. He rebounds well and plays the game hard.
Sophomore Ty Cooper made his own strides in his first year of high school basketball as he clocked above 10 points per night. After getting spot starts as a freshman, he’ll see an increased role with his shooting acumen and ability to attack the basket.
Junior Micah Asbill will likely slot into the point guard position after coming up big on the junior varsity squad as well. Sophomores Evan Gross, Austin Herzan, and Matthew Greenwalt will join junior Austin Lewis to fill out the roster.
Tanner Hirschi, a 6’2” sophomore, could add another boost after transferring in from Mid-Buchanan.
What Yocom likes most about his team is the mix of new blood and familiar talent. Rebounding and aggressiveness in the paint could be the determining factor to Reeds Spring’s success this winter. If they can lock that down, the Wolves could have enough scoring power to climb up the Big 8 standings.
“We have the potential to have a strong nucleus of players that can handle the scoring load,” said Yocom. “It won’t fall on just one person.”
The Wolves begin the season on Dec. 10 at Forsyth.