By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
It had been exactly a decade since Lebanon basketball finished a season over .500 and that’s exactly what Bill Brown did in Year One with the Yellowjackets, leading the group to a 14-11 record and a district runner-up finish.
For Brown, Lebanon represented exactly the change of scenery he was looking for when he decided to leave Parkview in March 2015 after 13 years at his alma mater.
“I love coaching here at Lebanon,” said Brown. “The support from administration is refreshing. The community wants a winner and I hope we can provide them with some more fun this season.”
Lebanon returns several key pieces from last year’s group and has the foundation to take another step in the Ozark Conference hierarchy.
Senior guard Quenton Shelton is entering his fourth year as a starter and returning All-Ozark Conference selection after averaging 20.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 1.3 SPG. Shelton shot 40% from 3-point range and currently holds offers from SBU, Oklahoma Christian and Quincy.
“Quenton is a tough match up for most guards,” said Brown. “He can post you up and take you off the dribble. He has an opportunity to score 2,000 points this season.”
Senior Ethan Christal (10.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG) returns as the team’s leader in 3FG makes (38). Classmates Jordan Lewis (7.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG) and Bryson Crowell (3.3 PPG) give Lebanon a quartet of seniors with loads of experience.
That is something Brown is confident will pay off this winter.
“Bryson, Ethan and Jordan are players who have been in the program for four years,” said Brown. “Last season was a big change for them and by the end of the season I felt we were all getting on the same page. I feel these seniors will have an opportunity to do what hasn’t been done in a long time; back-to-back winning seasons.”
Junior Tyler Williamson (4.3 PPG) will be in the mix again after finding some minutes as a sophomore. Classmates Colin Higbee, Caleb Falzone and Josh Napper will also be competing from prominent roles in the rotation.
After feeling like they let an opportunity at a district championship escape them last season, this group of seniors will look to do something that’s been a rarity in the program’s history; compete for conference and district championships.
“I feel we will be very competitive in the conference and have a chance to stay in the upper half of the OC again this season,” said Brown. “To be competitive we will need to continue getting better on defense and find two scorers to go along with Q.”
Lebanon will open the 2019-20 season on Dec. 10 at home against Marshfield.