By Chris Parker
Reeds Spring boys basketball will have a new head coach after finishing 14-13 overall last year. Austin Kendrick takes over the Wolves basketball program after serving as an assistant at Parkview for the past eight years.
“The biggest attraction for Reeds Spring is the community. This community loves their sports and they are always willing to go out of their way to support them. Mix that with the returning talent that we have, the excellent facilities, and the amazing administration,” Kendrick said.
That experienced core starts with senior Lance Hafar. He was a Second-Team All-Big 8 East selection last year as a junior. Hafar led the team in points (12.4), rebounds (8.7) and blocks (2.5) per game last year. The senior has played in 74 career varsity games and scored 726 total points in his career.
“Having a guy like Lance is huge for a new guy. He’s someone that you know what you can expect out of him. He is a very passionate player that wears his heart on his sleeve and he really pushes the guys around him to be better. He is someone that we will lean on heavily this year both on and off the court,” Kendrick said. “His ability to play inside out (is his greatest asset). He is a guy that can go in and post or step out and hit the three. This can make him hard to guard and can cause some matchup problems for other teams.”
Ty Cooper returns after earning honorable mention all-conference honors as a sophomore. He is another experienced player with 50 varsity games under his belt in his first two years. He was second on the team with 10.3 points per game last year.
“Ty’s ability to make perimeter shots has really helped him find some success at a young age. He has a lot of skill and great instincts on the offensive side of the ball,” Kendrick said. “I expect him to take a big step this year as far as his development on the defensive side of the ball. We are also going to look to him to take on more of a leadership role that he has not been used to over the last two years.”
Micah Asbill and Tanner Hirschi have both impressed Kendrick in the off-season.
Asbill is a senior guard who scored seven points per game last year.
“I knew Micah was a really good defender coming in but he has worked really hard on his offensive game and it shows. With his motor on the court he will open a lot of people’s eyes,” Kendrick said.
Hirschi is a junior forward who averaged 2.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game last year.
“Tanner is another kid that has a high motor. He has grown physically and athletically since last year. He is the type of kid that has a nose for the ball and always seems to find himself right in the middle of everything,” Kendrick said.
Junior Evan Gross is another returning player that will have an impact after seeing action in 22 games last year.
“Evan is one of the best athletes in school. He can make a lot happen on both ends of the floor,” Kendrick said.
Juniors Matt Greenwalt and Austin Herzan will be new players to watch on the varsity level.
Kendrick will look to make Reeds Spring a consistent winner. The Wolves have finished below .500 in seven of the past 10 years.
“The biggest thing I am focusing on right now is building a new culture. This is always an important step for any first year guy, but to me this is the most important part of developing something new and exciting,” Kendrick said. “Our play on the court will be much different as I am looking to bring a much more up-tempo style this season. Usually as a new guy you have to build from the ground up the best thing about coming to Reeds Spring is the cupboard is in no way bare.”
Reeds Spring will open the season on Nov. 24 at Hartville.
“Overall I am expecting the guys to buy into a new culture and to find a new identity,” Kendrick said. “We’ve got to improve on the defensive end of the floor and if we do it should allow us to be more competitive in the Big 8 East which is one of the toughest conferences in SWMO.”