By Chris Parker
Morrisville boys basketball has a young but experienced squad returning for coach Jonathan Winslow’s third season. The Panthers finished 9-17 last year.
A strong group of juniors lead the way including: Dylan Blehm, Garret Trantham, Sam Maas, Waylon Mitchell and John Presley. All five saw time in at least 15 varsity games last season.
Blehm is the headliner entering his third season as a starter. Last season he averaged 11.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
“Dylan started most of his freshman year and all of last year. He is an excellent 3-point shooter, and contributes in a lot of ways,” Winslow said. “He was elected a captain last year as a sophomore. He made eight 3-pointers in a game against Wheatland last year. I expect him to be a major contributor this year.”
Trantham is another returning starter after averaging 6.3 points per game last year.
“He is an excellent on ball defender and has a chance to really cause problems for other teams with his quickness. He is also one of our ball-handlers. I am looking for him to take a step forward this year,” Winslow said.
Sophomores Josh McMillen and Hadan Madewell both return with starting experience. Classmates Chance Hampton and Gavin Duchscherer also saw varsity action last year.
McMillen started every game as a freshman averaging 8.2 points, 3.9 assist, 3.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game.
“He (McMillen) has the potential to be a great defender and I expect his assists and scoring to continue to improve. He is very quick and athletic and should be a catalyst for us this season,” Winslow said.
Victor Duchscherer is the team’s lone senior. He played in 18 games last season.
Sophomore Ian Vance along with freshmen Isaac Francka and Jacob Bumgarner will be three newcomers who could see time on varsity.
Morrisville will be strong on the perimeter this year.
“I think that our guard play will be a strength of our team as well as our pressure defense and shooting. Even though we only have one senior we have a lot of varsity experience returning,” Winslow said.
Winslow sees several places where his team can improve.
“The first thing we need to improve is our mental toughness. The biggest area of improvement is in the area of rebounding. Other areas needing improvement are half-court defense and offensive efficiency,” Winslow said.
Overall, he thinks the experience his young team gained last year will pay off in the form of more success this year.
“I expect us to be very competitive. I think that our experience we have gained with a lot of freshmen and sophomores playing varsity minutes the last couple of years will began to pay off. I expect us to work hard every day and see improvement as the year goes,” Winslow said.
Morrisville opens the season Dec. 2-7 at the Fordland Invitational.