Wildcats look for next step on hardwood

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Cassville's Ethan Hoppes leads the Wildcats into the 2016-2017 season on Tuesday. Cole Jackson/Special to the Cassville Democrat

Cassville eyes growth from 2015

There is little doubt who the biggest believer in Cassville hoops is this season.

Fans and team members need to look no further than the man in charge of the program -- Barrett Milleson.

Collin Pearman prepares to power up a shot for the Wildcats against Spokane last season. The senior will be asked to lead Cassville as it opens play on Tuesday. Cole Jackson/Special to the Cassville Democrat

Last year, in his inaugural coaching debut, Milleson guided the Wildcats to a 8-17 overall record, but what the coach also implemented was an energy and fight, his food for the team's growth.

"As a coaching staff, we hope to continue to build on our improvement from last year," Milleson said. "We had a lot of seniors and lots of very young talent and we look forward to the challenge of our players maturing in new roles."

Cassville lost two outstanding players to graduation in Noah Hadlow and Allen Lambel.

They return two starters in Collin Pearman and Ethan Hoppes.

"Our depth at both the guard and forward will be better," Milleson said. "We have excellent leadership from our seniors who are well respected in our locker room. The Big 8 plays tough, physical basketball, and the winner of our conference each year truly earns it. We look forward to another exciting year of Cassville basketball."

Pearman, a 6-2 senior, averaged a double-double last year with 10 points and 10 rebounds per game.

"Collin was a key to our success last year," Milleson said. "He can score the ball in multiple ways, guard multiple positions and rebounded very well on both ends of the floor."

Pearman understands his role this season.

"Our team last year sparked a flame within the school and basketball program," he said. "This year, we are excited to add fuel to that fire. We have a talented, hard-working, and cohesive group of players. While we have young starters and contributors, they all earned valuable experience last year. This year will be a huge step for our program, and I am excited for what we can accomplish."

Hoppes worked himself into a starting position as a freshman and then held onto it for the remainder of the year. He averaged 6 points and 4 assists in 19 games last year.

"Ethan started the end of the year as a freshman," Milleson said. "He was a talented high energy guy that can make plays for both himself and his teammates."

Troy Rose, Trey Dalton, Austin Wilson and Skylar Wolf will look to increase their minutes this season.

Dalton came off the bench in the Wildcats' game against Carl Junction and scored 20 points.

Milleson is expecting all four players to step up and contribute this season.

Cassville opens the season on the road at Berryville, Ark., on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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