By Chris Parker
Reeds Spring won 11 games last year. This year the Wolves have big goals with a strong group of returning upperclassmen to lead the way.
Senior Ty Cooper is at the head of that group after he led Reeds Spring in scoring with 12.6 points per game last year. He was the lone all-conference selection for Reeds Spring earning honorable mention all-conference honors.
“Last year Ty’s game revolved around shooting threes. He shot .455 from behind the arc, so he did it really well, but this year we have challenged him to grow his game and become a better defender as well as find ways to score other than just shooting threes. We want him to be an all-around threat,” Reeds Spring head coach Austin Kendrick said. “I expect Ty to have a big year. He has a lot of guys around him this year that can score it and do some good things on the offensive end. This should alleviate some pressure on Ty.”
Seniors Matt Greenwalt, Tanner Hirschi and Austin Herzan along with junior Caden Wiest all return after seeing action in a minimum of 20 varsity games each last year.
Greenwalt is a forward who averaged 4.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game last season.
“Matt is one of those guys that is going to outwork anyone he plays against,” Kendrick said. “He has one of the best work ethics I have seen. This is apparent from how he has transformed his body (dropped over 80 pounds) and his game.”
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Hirschi is the team’s second-leading returning scorer behind Cooper. The forward averaged 7.1 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game last year.
“Tanner is our best athlete,” Kendrick said. “He uses that athleticism to get to the rim on the offensive end and to cause a lot of disruptions on the defensive end.”
Herzan saw action in 24 of 26 varsity games last year. He plays guard and forward.
“Austin is one of our best leaders on the team,” Kendrick said. “His game is not flashy, but he is a team first guy that does things the right way. He has developed his game to where he is now confident in his ability on both ends of the floor.”
Wiest, who is one of the area’s best football players, is also a force on the basketball court. He averaged 4.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore.
“Caden is very well known for what he does on the football field, but I believe he will turn heads on the court as well,” Kendrick said. “He is one of our best defenders and has the ability to switch and guard anyone on the floor. He has also worked hard to develop his post game as well as a mid-range game. He was also our best rebounder last year so we will look for more of the same as he is not afraid to be physical with his frame.”
Senior Raef Williams along with junior Addison Abshire and Logan Henderson will be newcomers to watch this year.
Kendrick on Williams: “Raef primarily played JV last year but got some minutes late in the year and took advantage of it. He played some big minutes in big games down the stretch. His role will expand this year. He long and rangy and has good ball skills.”
Kendrick on Abshire: “Addison is another guy that played primarily JV last year but is looking to take on a bigger role this year. He will be splitting time at the point guard position. He plays with good pace and is a pass first point guard that does a good job of putting his teammates in good position.”
Kendrick on Henderson: “Logan moved in from Branson and has a lot of upside. He is athletic and aggressive attacking the rim. He has a nose for the ball and knows how to score it. He will also be getting reps at our point guard position.”
Reeds Spring will rely almost solely on upperclassmen this year. This is a group that has played basketball together for a long time.
“Our greatest strength this year will be in our team chemistry. We’ve got a lot of guys that have grown up playing basketball together. There is a lot of trust and faith in each other which I believe will show on every level of the game,” Kendrick said.
Kendrick will look for more of a scoring punch up and down the roster after averaging just 48 points per game last year.
“We are going to have to find a way to be a more dynamic offensive team,” Kendrick said. “We only averaged 48 points a game last year. This year we understand that we have to cut down on turnovers so we can have more opportunities to score the ball.”
Reeds Spring will host a jamboree on Nov. 16 with Branson and Hollister. The Wolves will open the regular season in the Forsyth tournament Nov. 30-Dec. 4.
“Overall, I expect us to compete in the Big 8 East as well as our district,” Kendrick said. “My expectations don’t land on a set number of wins and losses but rather that our group of guys will go out every night and play as hard as they can for each other.”