Since Scott Kroeger became coach in 2018, the Montgomery County boys basketball team has been successful, finishing with over 20 wins three times and capturing two Eastern Missouri Conference titles …
Since Scott Kroeger became coach in 2018, the Montgomery County boys basketball team has been successful, finishing with over 20 wins three times and capturing two Eastern Missouri Conference titles and two district championships.
This year, the Wildcats are looking to help Kroeger pick up his fourth straight winning season. But they will have to do it without four of their players – Logan Hutcheson, Keenan James, Ethan Rakers and Drake Smith – as all of them graduated in May.
MCHS has three seniors, three juniors and seven sophomores on its squad. Sophomore Clayton Parker is the only returning player from last year’s starting lineup.
“I feel like we have a lot of talent,” Kroeger said. “We have kids who know how to play basketball. They’ve been playing together for a long time. But you can not match experience. A less talented team with more experience is going to be in the driver’s seat coming into the game more times than not. So we’re going to have to either act experienced early or we’re going to have to get experience fast. I think that’s going to benefit us in the long run.”
Parker turned in a strong freshman season last winter, earning second-team all-EMO honors and being selected to two all-tournament teams.
“He really does a good job of making people around him better,” Kroeger said. “That’s the ultimate sign of a really good player in any team sport.”
Alex Hartman, Zak Rodgers and Noah Farmer make up the Wildcats’ senior class. Juniors Mason Leu, Cade Smith and Mick Williams and sophomores Isaiah Thomas, Jay Rodgers, Sean Rodgers, Tyler Erwin, Tatum Wessel and Jordan Hicks round out the team.
Hartman, Rodgers, Leu and Erwin had some varsity time last year.
MCHS finished with 17-13 a year ago, its third straight winning season. After winning their second straight district title, the Wildcats had their season end in a heartbreaking fashion, losing to Cole Camp on a buzzer-beating shot in a Class 3 sectional game.
Kroeger said he was impressed with the way his team performed during the Blue and White scrimmage on Nov. 10 at Ballew & Snell Court.
“What I was happy about is they pushed each other,” Kroeger said. “They weren’t out there being nice to each other. We were worried about that earlier in the year because they are close and they treat each other well. But we were worried about them pushing each other. (The scrimmage) was a good step in the right direction.”
The Wildcats have a pair of new assistant coaches in Dustin Figg and Ron Williams. Figg helped coach the Montgomery County Middle School boys team last year.
“Those two guys will do quite literally anything they can to help the kids,” said Kroeger, who has 93 victories during his MCHS coaching tenure. “That’s all you can ask for. We work really well together. They do so much for me to make my life easier. It’s going to make this season so much more enjoyable. I’ve got to try to find ways to do that for them as well.”
The Wildcats begin their season at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 22 with a home game against Winfield at home.
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