Bulldogs look to rebuild team from the ground up

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Ty Hudson, a freshman at Wheaton, is part of a youth movement on the floor for the Bulldogs this season. Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

Wheaton focuses on effort before wins

Tonight is the night for Wheaton.

The Bulldogs play for fifth place in the Sarcoxie tournament, facing a winless Exeter team, tonight (Wednesday) at 5 p.m.

The game represents the best chance the Bulldogs have for a varsity win this season.

The handwriting that a tough season was in store for Wheaton was on the wall last year with a senior-dominated team.

The Bulldogs lost 90 percent of their scoring to graduation and knew that this season would be a rebuilding effort.

Still, Coach Chris Kennedy won’t let that be the crutch for his team’s 0-9 start and 71-23 loss to Billings in the opening round of the Sarcoxie tournament on Thursday and another setback on Saturday to Sarcoxie, 61-25.

The game against Billings was out of hand by the end of the first quarter and was never close.

“Effort and energy are things we control,” Kennedy said. “We all knew that this was going to be a learning season. That’s why I said [to the team] we are not going to look at wins and losses. But, between now and the end of the season, I want us to play with more effort.”

The Bulldogs’ roster has two seniors, four juniors, a sophomore and five freshmen. The underclassmen have seen plenty of playing time this season.

Kennedy said it is imperative that his team improve on the simple things of the game.

“This group lays the foundation,” Kennedy said. “We are playing some tough teams and Billings is among those.”

Kennedy said he can handle losing games if his team gives everything they have for four quarters and comes up short. What he cannot handle is players going through the motions without effort or any energy.

Scoring for the Bulldogs: Jack Mitchell, 6; Austin Mielke, 5; Zac Leverich, 3; Ty Hudson, 3; Klay Reed, 2; Cody Parks, 2; and Payton Harper, 2.

The Bulldogs’ next regular season game is set for Thursday at Exeter. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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