2017-18 Winter Preview: Skyline Boys Basketball

By John Miller (For OzarksSportsZone.com)

Expectations are high this winter for the Skyline Tigers – and for good reason. The team returns four starters and six lettermen from last year’s squad that finished 14-12 with a 1-5 mark in the Mid-Lakes Conference.

But with so many key players back, first year coach Tommy Egan likes what he sees.

“We have a group of hardworking and coachable guys that are a pleasure to be around,” Egan said. “They are very competitive and want to have success in whatever they do. They have put in a lot of time in the gym and weight room to be able to compete at their best. As we continue to understand individual roles, as well as get used to playing with a new coaching staff and each other, we should continue to get better.”

Among the key returners is 6-foot-2 senior Brant Gideon, who was all-conference honorable mention last year after averaging 15.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.3 steals. “Brant is a very well-rounded player that can score the basketball from all three levels,” Egan said. “He is also a good ball-handler and has improved his strength. He has worked extremely hard on his game in the offseason and we are expecting him to have a big senior season.”

Another key returner is 5-foot-9 sophomore Dax Beem, who averaged 13.8 points and 2.7 assists last year. “Dax is an absolute gym rat and a very smart basketball player,” Egan said. “He had a solid freshman season as the starting point guard. He is a very good outside shooter as well as finisher at the basket.”

Skyline also returns 6-foot-1 senior Mason Lile, who averaged 7 points and 7.1 rebounds last year and should provide an interior toughness to the Tigers. “He is a competitor and we are a better basketball team when he is on the floor,” Egan said.

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Other top returners for the Tigers include senior Marshall Cox, junior Paden Hodges, and sophomores Gage Gunter and Chris Logan.

Skyline also features a set of newcomers that are expected to make an impact at the varsity level this year. These newcomers include sophomores Brayden Whiteside, Connor Logan, Rhett Glor, and Ethan Edwards, and freshmen Dayton Pursley, Trey Swearingin, Austin Craig, and Jordan Rowland.

Last year the Tigers averaged 55.8 points per game while shooting 49 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3-point range, and 68 percent from the free-throw line.

“We will face some very tough challenges on our schedule, including the Blue and Gold Tournament and participating in the very good Mid-Lakes Conference,” Egan said. “However, if we can stay healthy, we think we have the chance to be a pretty good team heading into the district tournament.”

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