New faces highlight Lebanon boys team

Lebanon, Mo. (For  -- One year after a host of close calls and a 4-5 finish in the Ozark Conference, the Lebanon boys' basketball team will be looking to replace nearly its entire varsity roster.

Among the players LHS will have to replace will be post player Devon Zimdars, a first-team All-Ozark Conference selection, as well as Jordan McGinnis and T.J. Overstreet, both three-year varsity players.

The Yellowjackets will look to a host of seniors who were junior varsity players a year ago to fill the void.

“We lost a lot from last year with seven seniors leaving us and we return one letterman and part time starter in Brock West,” Lebanon head coach Cole Dishman said. “Other than that we are going to have guys fighting for spots that played at the junior varsity level last year.

“We are going to be pretty inexperienced at the varsity level but have some good talent coming up.”

Only one player returns with significant varsity experience, guard Brock West. A 5-foot-7, 175-pound senior, West was named the Ozark Conference Player of the Year on the football field after rushing for more than 2,000 yards.

He came off the bench to provide a spark last season for the LHS basketball team as he scored 45 points in 26 games, but will looked upon to handle the ball and provide scoring punch this season.

“West is smart and a leader,” Dishman said. “He is not the vocal leader, but the way he plays. His quickness on the defensive end ... he can step up and guard anybody on the ball.

“He is going to slide in and be the primary ball handler and make a lot of plays whether that is him scoring or getting people in position to score.”

The wild card for LHS is 6-foot-8 senior Christian Klutz, who will be looking to step into a varsity role for the first time this season. He played for the LHS junior varsity last season and is recovering from a broken leg suffered in the offseason.

Also in the mix are senior guards Jeffrey Plake, Isaac Gillen, and senior post players Tyler Merriott and J.T. Dorris. Only Dorris, who played in five games last year, has varsity experience. Also out for the team is senior Devante Chew, who is playing for the first time since eighth-grade.

Among the underclassmen in the mix for LHS is juniors Josh Archer and Chris Davis and sophomore Chad Howerton.

Despite the inexperience, Dishman said the team is motivated and plays with passion.

"They go hard," he said. "They get after it at the defensive end,  and at the offensive end we are getting there, it is just timing.

"We're building and we are seeing a lot of good things."

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