November 22, 2007

Tigers Must Fill Key Holes To Defend Conference Hoops Title In 2007-08

Is the glass half full or half empty? That is the question fans of the Scotland County boys basketball team will be faced with this year.

Optimists will point out that Scotland County returns conference co-MVP Cody Musgrove. He led the team scoring 15.6 points and grabbing 9.4 rebounds per contest, both numbers which will likely increase this year as he works hard to fill the glass to the rim. They also have Ryan Bergeson who claimed the coach of the year honors at both the conference and district level.

Pessimists will remind each other that Scotland County graduated three starters. Matt Wickert and Bryce and Grant Blomme took with them more than 37 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists per contest. If SCR-I can’t replace the trio of three-year starters, they will have trouble getting a good drink from the glass.

“A lot of our success is going to be determined by how well our guards can handle the ball,” said Bergeson who piloted the Tigers to the district championship game and a 16-10 mark overall in 2006-07. “We are going to have to find some perimeter scoring threats to keep teams from just packing it in the pain to stop our inside game.”

Bergeson, now in his third season at the helm, will have a crew of five seniors to provide some needed leadership for a talented group of underclassmen that showed signs of promise this summer during successful league and camp performances.

Travis Trueblood returns to man the point guard position. The senior made the biggest shot of the year, scoring in the final seconds to beat Brookfield and insure Scotland County’s perfect conference season a year ago.

Trueblood battled a separated shoulder last year that forced him in and out of the starting line-up. He averaged two points and two rebounds a night. Bergeson said he expects both numbers to improve along with the senior’s health.

Sophomore Kyle Shelley averaged 3.0 points and 4.8 rebounds a game as a freshman. He served as the team’s sixth man, getting some experience as a starter when Trueblood was out. At 6’3” he gives the Tigers a pair of forwards that should allow the Tigers to control the interior in most games.

Fellow sophomore Brandon Garnett is a leading candidate to fill one of the perimeter starting roles. He shared time with junior Andrew Duley, and senior Matt Dice last season as the leading back-ups for the Tigers guard trio.

Junior Jacob Howard and seniors Joe Spurgeon and Eric Glass will provide depth in the post for SCR-I. Glass missed most of last season with a broken hand. Howard showed signs of being a scoring threat, putting up eight big points in a one-point conference win over Putnam County.

First year assistant coach Lance Smith pointed to the athleticism of Spurgeon, who went out for basketball for the first time last year. He praised his work ethic pushing the rest of the post players to improve and providing Musgrove with a worthy practice opponent that should only benefit him come game time.

Campbell will have his hands tied with the junior varsity schedule, as limited numbers will make his task difficult. With just 14 players out this year, the junior varsity team will be limited to five or six players on most nights. That crew will consist of freshmen Andrew Humes, Bryce Smith, Kasey Dial and Dakota Wells along with sophomore Trever Harris who missed last year with an injury.

SCR-I will open the season at the Novinger Tournament scheduled for the week of November 26th.

Clark County looks like the team to beat in the Tri-Rivers Conference in 2007-08 if the Tigers want to repeat as league champions. The Indians return all-conference performers Michael Brennan and Colt Sommers. Knox County will be a tough opponent as well led by first team standout Dennis Dent in the paint and talented guard Daniel McMahon.

Putnam County will have to replace co-MVP David Fowler and Brookfield will be in a similar position, looking to fill the shoes of first teamer Alex Clawson.

Schuyler County will be led by first teamer Jacob Winkler. North Shelby and Milan will be dark horses for a league title after graduating key components in 2006-07.

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