By John Miller (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
As Brandon Kimbrough enters his second year as head coach of the Central Bulldogs, his mission remains the same: establishing culture while developing talent.
“We are excited about this upcoming season,” said Kimbrough. “We had a great group of seniors last year who did a tremendous job establishing culture. We will be young this year with only two seniors, but we are excited about the young talent that we have coming up through the ranks. We will continue to build our culture and continue to be competitive as we develop our young talent.”
Last year, Central finished 5-19 and went 1-7 in the Ozark Conference. A loss to Branson (56-43) in district play ended its season.
Three seniors are gone from last year: Quinton Beezley, Derek Melton, and Gavin Almy.
“Gavin gave us length and athleticism at the guard position,” Kimbrough said. “He also gave us consistent scoring that will be missed. Derek brought much-needed toughness to our program last year, while Quinton was a veteran presence at the point guard position.”
This season, the Bulldogs will lean on the play of its five returning lettermen: seniors Ta’Shawn Chatman and Rohan Basal, junior Andy Su, and sophomores Andrew Bryant and Jamarious Lawrey.
Chatman, an All-Conference Defensive Team pick last year, averaged 5.4 points and 4.0 rebounds. His leadership will be vital to Central’s success this year.
Basal, a 6-foot-3 post, averaged 4.4 points and 2.0 rebounds last year for the Bulldogs. Su played in 18 games last season, averaging under one point per game.
Central will also look for contributions from a pair of newcomers: sophomore Tae’Sean McShane and junior Cole Hughes.
“Tae’Sean was part of a very talented freshman team last year,” Kimbrough said. “He brings athleticism and physicality. Cole had a great season on JV last year, and we are excited about the perimeter shooting he could potentially bring to the varsity level.”
Five transfers from area schools have also arrived at Central and are hoping to contribute at the varsity level this winter. These transfers include Jaden McCoy (Spokane), Tyren Hendrix (Parkview), Sterling Vinson (Hillcrest), Dwayne Andrews (Hillcrest), and Deverin King (Glendale).
Last year, the Bulldogs were outscored 64-47 per game on average. They shot 44 percent from the field, 35 percent from 3-point range, and 60 percent from the foul stripe. These are all numbers they’ll hope to improve on this year.
With a strong mix of newcomers and returners, the Central Bulldogs hope for more success this coming winter.