June 7, 2007

Wickert To Take Court One Final Time In Quincy All-Star Hoops Classic

When the 2006-07 basketball season started for the Scotland County Tigers, there was one player in particular chomping at the bit to take the court.

Matt Wickert would have told you that hoops wasnít even his best sport, but after being sidelined for basically the entire football season with a broken leg, the SCR-I senior, was ready to return to competition.

The anticipation turned to frustration as Wickertís season did not get off to a great start. He was held to single digits in scoring and spent much of the game on the bench in foul trouble.

While Wickert came out of the gates trying to make up for the lost football season in his debut on the hard court, the senior definitely didnít let the slow start spoil the season.

Coach Ryan Bergeson gave credit to Wickertís leadership as a turning point for the program. After struggling through a 3-22 season as sophomores, the team improved in 2005-06 and had high hopes as Wickert led a talented returning cast of starters. But a 4-7 start to the year had the team doubting itself before Wickert challenged his teammates to pick up their play.

They did just that, closing out the year, going 12-3 and advancing to the district championship game, along the way capturing a conference title for the first time since 1999.

Leadership wasnít all the senior contributed during the hot stretch. He finished the year averaging 13.0 points and 6.5 rebounds a night for the Tigers, earning all-conference and all-district recognition. The high point of the year came on January 23rd, when Matt poured in a career best 31 points in a win over North Shelby.

Still Matt would have traded in the individual success for one more victory, a district title, and a chance to keep the season alive.

But that disappointing title match was not the final outing for Wickert. Matt will lace up the shoes one final time on the high school level. He was among the 10 northeast Missouri all-starts selected to play in the 24th Annual McDonaldís Quincy Herald-Whig Classic basketball game set for next week.

He will join a talented Missouri squad that will also feature Andy Anders, Nick OíBrien, and Curtis Smith of Highland; Andrew Bergeson and Brice Smith of Hannibal; Jonas McBride of Mark Twain; Dalton OíLeary of Palmyra; and fellow Tri-Rivers Conference players Justin Bevill of North Shelby and Carrington Daniel of Clark County.

They will have their hands filled with a talented team representing Illinois. That squad will be composed of Josh Babb, Brian McNeff and Nick Reynolds of Brown County; Kyle Beckman of Payson Seymour; Matt Bush and Jared Summers of Quincy; Ryan Byers of Barry-West Pike; Devon Frericks of QND; and Wade Pellman and Chris Starnes of Liberty.

The all-star games are scheduled for Saturday, June 9th at Quincy Universityís Pepsi Arena. The girlís game will tip off at 5:00 p.m. with the boyís game to follow at 7:30 p.m.

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