By Dana Harding (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Skyline notched an 18-9 record last season, coming up just short of its goal, according to second-year head coach Tommy Egan.
“As a team, we really wanted to put ourselves in position to win a district championship,” Egan said. “We got to the district championship game, but ultimately lost 86-81 to Spokane in overtime. It was a tremendous game played by both teams.”
The Tigers say goodbye to a trio of graduated seniors in Marshall Cox, Brant Gideon and Mason Lile.
Gideon is continuing his basketball career at Central Methodist University.
“In graduating these three, we lose three of our top six in terms of minutes played, three of our top four rebounders, two of our top three in assists and our leading scorer,” Egan said. “They were all major contributors that will be tough to replace.”
Despite the graduation losses, Skyline does return plenty of firepower in 5-foot-10 junior Dax Beem (17.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.8 spg).
“Dax has started for us since his freshman year,” Egan said. “He absolutely loves the game and continues to put many hours in the gym to continue to improve. We are looking for him to be our leader on the floor and have a great junior year.”
Beem is joined by a trio of juniors in 5-foot-10 Gage Gunter (5.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg), 5-foot-10 Chris Logan (7.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg), 6-foot-1 Brayden Whiteside (4.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg).
Skyline will also feature a host of varsity newcomers ready to compete for playing time this season, including 6-foot-3 junior Ethan Edwards, 5-foot-10 junior Connor Logan, 6-foot-3 sophomore Austin Craig, 6-foot sophomore Dayton Pursley, 5-foot-9 sophomore Jordan Rowland and 5-foot-9 sophomore Trey Swearingin.
The Tigers will also field a deep freshman class in 5-foot-8 Lawson Beem, 5-foot-8 Kourt Cheek, 6-foot-1 Jaytin Defreece, 5-foot-10 Garrett Salley and 5-foot-8 Zack Williams.”
While Skyline will be relatively young, Egan believes his team will be more than ready to compete this season.
“We will be somewhat young in that we have graduated three key contributors and will not have a senior on the roster,” Egan said. “However, we have juniors that already have quite a bit of varsity experience and a group of talented underclassmen along with them. This should provide for highly competitive practices day in and day out, which in turn should lead to constant improvement as the season goes along.”
With plenty of depth on the roster, Skyline will look to be aggressive defensively and force tempo.
“We feel comfortable in playing a number of guys this year,” Egan said. “If we are plagued by injuries or foul trouble we feel confident in the guys coming off of our bench. We are looking to be able to create turnovers defensively with our depth and quickness. The more we play together and feed off of each other, we should have a number of guys that can score the basketball.”
Skyline tips off its season Nov. 26 in the 86th Annual Warsaw Tournament.