Returning starters look to rebound ‘cats
Team maturing after 4-win campaign last year
The pains of the Cassville boys basketball team’s 4-win season last year are covered and healed, and the formerly young Wildcats are looking to do some damage this season with the experience they gained.
Zack Kleine, Cassville boys basketball coach, said the team is hoping to take a big step forward this year.
“We return a lot of our key pieces,” he said. “We were very young last year with mostly sophomores and a couple of freshman playing most of the minutes. We will still be young this year with only one senior on the roster, but, hopefully, having a year of varsity experience for the guys will help limit some of the youthful mistakes we made last year.”
Cassville graduated a pair of seniors, Carson Whittemire and Zac Acheson, and they have a returning All-District selection leading the team, 5-9 junior Aidan Cook.
“Aiden has really been working hard on his game over the summer, and we are looking forward to him having a great year,” Kleine said.
Fellow juniors Peter Littlefield, at 6-1; Hernan Hernandez, at 5-7; Garrett Ewing, at 5-6; Caleb Leach, at 5-9; and Isaac Hadlow, at 5-11, will add to the mix.
“Peter started every game last season as a sophomore,” Kleine said. “He has gotten much stronger. He was a key piece for us defensively last year, and we are hoping he can be more aggressive for us offensively this year. Hernan does a lot of little things for us. He is a very active player who can hit an outside shot.
“Garrett is one of the best leaders we have. He will be coming off a knee injury from football, but he will be a big piece for us whenever he gets healthy. Caleb is a tremendous kid that does everything the right way. Isaac started most of the year as a sophomore. Has been in the weight room and gotten much stronger. We are looking forward to seeing how he develops throughout the season.”
Other impact players include 6-4 sophomore John Dunbar, who Kleine said got starting minutes as a freshman at the end of last season and is growing in confidence, and Tim Hudson, the lone senior standing at 6-0.
A newcomer that may also have an impact after missing last season with a shoulder injury is Cosmo Rhoads, a 6-3 sophomore.
Cassville’s season begins on Monday at the Strafford Invitational Tournament. The first home game is on Dec. 7 against Purdy.