Eyes forward for Wildcats hoops
Cassville primed for breakout season
For the Cassville basketball program, the goals are simple — keep the eyes forward and keep marching toward success.
Last year, the Wildcats finished the season 13-13 and were up and down with consistency. This year, with four returning starters and six lettermen, the sky is the limit.
“Our program had a great summer together,” said Barrett Milleson, Cassville coach. “We went to camps and played against quality programs. We will need to get healthy and stay that way to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. The Big 8 plays hard, physical basketball each night, and this year, I believe all the teams should be improved. We are excited as a staff to return so many talented players in our program.”
The Wildcats will have to replace a two-time All-Conference player in Collin Pearman, who averaged a double-double in his junior and senior seasons.
“Collin was our glue guy last year,” Milleson said. “He was able to control a lot of the offensive action for us, and we have spent the offseason trying to fill the role that he had.”
Returning for the Wildcats is junior guard Ethan Hoppes. As a sophomore, he averaged 15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals per game.
“Ethan has been a varsity player since his freshman year and continues to be a go-to guy for us,” Milleson said. “After a disappointing end to our season last year, he has worked his tail off in the gym this offseason. We expect him to have his best year yet.”
Trey Dalton, who suffered an off season injury, is expected to be back in January. Dalton, according to his coach, is an incredible offensive player and savvy defender. He averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds per game last season.
Senior Skyler Wolf, 6-7, and senior Austin Wilson, 5-9, will both be counted to solidify the starting lineup.
“It is hard to believe, but Skyler has only played basketball since his freshman year,” Milleson said. “The growth over these four years has blown us away. He should be ready to make a huge impact for us against other teams’ post players. Austin has embraced his role both on and off the floor and has improved in all areas of his game.”
Cassville will also get key contributions from juniors Derek Christy and Luke Lowery.
Milleson called Christy one of the best shooters on the team. Lowery played big minutes as the backup post player last year, possessing a different game than the rest of the post that gives the squad a different look on offense.
Cassville will also give a look at newcomers Jarrod Wallace and and DJ White.
“Jarrod saw time at the end of the season playing varsity as a forward,” Milleson said. “He has great footwork and timing on defense. He has big shoes to fill with Collin leaving, but Jarrod was a great understudy last year.
“DJ has the ability to be a big-time player for us. He moves effortlessly on the floor and is incredibly coachable. DJ will help these upperclassmen with his athleticism and length on both ends of the floor.”
Cassville plays Southwest Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Marionville.
The Wildcats hosted Berryville (Ark.) on Monday to the start the season.