By Denise Tucker (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Hollister Tigers return four starters and seven letterwinners this season, but must overcome a key loss to graduation.
Presley David was a Class 3 District 11 pick and an All-Big 8 East second-team honoree last season, and an important piece for the Tigers.
“Presley was a big loss for our program,” said head coach Pete Leonard, who has a 41-60 record in six years at Hollister. “He was a great leader on and off the floor. His hard work ethic and determination on the floor will be missed by his coaches and teammates.”
The Tigers finished the 2019-2020 campaign with a 12-15 overall record, 2-4 in the Big 8 East, after going 12-13, 1-6 the year before. Their season ended with a one-point loss (53-52) to Forsyth in the district quarterfinals.
Back this season for Hollister is 5-foot-10 senior Cole Jones. Jones was an all-conference honorable mention selection, and a starter as a sophomore and a junior. He averaged 13 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals per game during his junior season.
Returning with Jones are Josh Barlow, Garrett Snyder, Colby Teaster and Brady Peterson.
Josh Barlow, a 6-4 junior, averaged 9 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 apg and 1 spg; Garrett Snyder, a 6-1 sophomore, averaged 5 ppg, 2 rpg and 1 apg in 15 games; Colby Teaster, a 6-0 senior, averaged 3 ppg, 2 rpg and 1 apg; and Brady Peterson, a 5-10 senior, played in 10 games for the Tigers.
Leonard welcomes seven newcomers to the roster this season in Ethan Wright, Clay Kemp, Ryland Franks, Luke Calovich, Blake Russell, Jacob Jones and Noah Richardson.
• Ethan Wright, 5-9 sophomore. “Ethan is going to be looked at to help at the point guard position this year. We are expecting big things from him this season.”
• Clay Kemp, 6-5 junior. “Clay is a big, hard-working kid who we are looking to be a big presence in the paint this season.”
• Ryland Franks, 6-2 sophomore. “Ryland will join Clay in the paint this year. Ryland has good footwork and is working very hard to outwork his opponents in the lane.”
• Luke Calovich, 6-3 sophomore. “Luke is extremely athletic and will be a huge asset to our team this year.”
• Blake Russell, 5-9 sophomore. “Blake is a hardnosed player who can knock down outside shots and also mix it up in the paint.”
• Jacob Jones, 6-3 senior. “Jacob will be looked at to have a big role in the paint this year.”
• Noah Richardson, 6-3 freshman. “Noah will be looked at, right off the bat, to give us a strong presence in the paint.”
Hollister is scheduled to host a jamboree with Branson and Reeds Spring before opening the regular season at home against Cabool.
“I am looking forward to this season with this athletic group of young men,” Leonard said. “This is one of the most athletic teams I have had at Hollister. Their basketball IQ is high and they are very hard workers.
“I have had this group of seniors their entire high school career, so they know what I expect and they expect the same from their younger teammates.”