By Dana Harding (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
There will be a new face at the helm in Marionville this season, as Rob Guerin takes over head coaching duties.
Guerin, who spent the past six seasons coaching the Pierce City girls, replaces Ted Young following Marionville’s appearance in the Class 2 quarterfinals.
The Comets finished the season with a 22-8 record, falling to eventual state champion Greenwood.
A quintet of graduated seniors depart the program in Gavin Stanton, Josh Goodman, Laythen Utke, Dom Clevenger and Evan Dotson.
Stanton will continue his basketball career this season at Baptist Bible College.
While Marionville lost a significant amount of scoring and rebounding with its graduated class, the Comets do return a quartet of lettermen eager to step up and lead this season in Lake High, Jordan Williams, Koy Ditmar and Kale Bateman.
High, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, averaged 3.5 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists last season for the Comets.
“Lake gave us good minutes and earned more time as the year went on,” Guerin said. “He’s a talented scorer and we expect him to have an immediate impact this year.”
Williams, a 6-foot junior, averaged 4.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists.
“Jordan is very talented and hit big shots down the stretch last year,” Guerin said. “He has the ability to score from anywhere. He has put in a lot of work, and we expect him to be a leader for us this year.”
Ditmar appeared in only 10 games last season for Marionville; however, Guerin anticipates the 5-foot-8 sophomore will assume the team’s point guard duties.
“Koy is an extremely hard worker, and he will get after it defensively,” Guerin said. “We expect a lot out of our point guard and expect to give him big minutes.”
A 6-foot-4 senior, Bateman averaged 2.2 points and 2.1 rebounds.
“Kale has great length and athleticism,” Guerin said. “He showed great potential last year as he got some valuable varsity time. We look for him to step up this year and give great minutes.”
With a host of open spots on the roster, Marionville will also welcome several newcomers to the program including Wil Carlton, Jacksen Smith, Blane Young, Mathew Goodman, Jacob Gray, Wyley Brown, Adam Phillips, Kaden Kirby, Austin White, Jacob Keith and Kaden Klineline.
Entering his first season with a relatively inexperienced squad, Guerin hopes his group can develop quickly into a competitive unit and improve as the season progresses.
“We are a young team with minimal experience, so we will need to learn quick and from every opportunity, so we can improve throughout the season,” Guerin said. “They seemed eager to learn and played hard this summer and we need that to carry over to the season.”
Guerin is quick to point out this development is directly tied to how well his players respond to a new coach and new system.
“The main obstacle is how well the team responds to my coaching style and my philosophy,” Guerin said. “They will need to buy all-in and continue to improve every day. The style of play may be a little different and some will depend on how well the players are able to adjust and/or change their mind-set.”
Marionville opens its season Dec. 2 with the Marionville Invitational Tournament.