Even with five of his basketball players preparing to play last week for a football state championship, Central boys basketball coach James Barnett thought a 2-2 week at the Pittsfield Turkey Tournament left more to be desired.
"We had higher hopes for the tournament knowing we still had Lane Ippensen, Hayden Neisen and with how well Jalan Vance played over the summer," Barnett said. "I really liked our chances of competing in the tournament and maybe even winning the tournament."
Barnett is eager to see how the Panthers will compete when the football players return. Central will welcome back starters Cole Williams and Eric Jones, along with key reserves Kollen Hughes, Bryce Flesner and Marcus Bunch, from the Class 1A state runners up. The schedule works nicely for the Panthers, as they won't play again until Dec. 6.
"We get eight practices to get them back into the swing of things," Barnett said. "Our schedule really worked out ideal for this and (the football team) making a run."
Once the Panthers are at full speed, Barnett likes the potential.
"It should be a good group," he said. "We have depth, and that's a luxury for teams in smaller areas."
Indians sharing the ball
The Payson Seymour boys basketball team won four games and the title at the Pittsfield Turkey Tournament last week.
The Indians had big scoring nights from Tanner Cannady (32 points), Cole Schwartz (27) and Lucas Loos (25) during the week, but what most impressed Payson Seymour coach Brian Rea was the team's eagerness to pass the basketball.
"Ball movement is something I'm really impressed with right now," Rea said. "I'm hoping we can continue to share the ball, because we've done a lot of that in practice, and we aren't worrying about who has it. We're just looking for the best shot."
That movement has created open shots for multiple players.
"They were willing to move the ball and not worry about their points," Rea said.
Rea says having multiple players who can have a big night makes the Indians more dangerous.
"It makes us harder to defend," he said. "It helps with the chemistry and camaraderie, because it isn't a one-man show."
Young Titans win tournament
The West Hancock boys basketball team has three new starters but still found a way to win four games at the Spoon River Tip-Off Classic last week in Sciota.
Titans coach Reno Pinkston said the tournament title run was fueled on the defensive end of the floor.
"I really liked our aggression on defense," he said. "We had five guys getting acclimated to the speed of the varsity game, and that got better along the way."
Pinkston said the Titans overcame foul trouble to win the first game. Returning starters Drake Hammel and Peyton Dooley, both named to the all-tournament team, provided leadership for the new starters.
That paid off later in the tournament as the Titans were still aggressive defensively and avoided foul trouble. The Titans allowed just 36.3 points per game in the tournament.
"If you get a team that can be aggressive defensively, you can always dial it back if you need to," Pinkston said. "Getting them to play that way is a lot harder to do."
Pinkston was also impressed with Lucas Dorethy's play in the tournament.
"He definitely deserved all-tournament," he said. "He's shooting a really high percentage and played really well. He was getting the ball in the scoring area, but you still have to finish."