Miller Cardinal's basketball begins the 2013-14 season with some good news and some bad news. The bad news is the loss of five key contributors from last year due to graduation. The good news. the Cardinals believe in using lots of players so five more players return that saw significant varsity action in 2012-13.
The Cardinals finished with a 13-13 overall record last season, but finished in third place in the Spring River Valley conference at 6-3. They won 11 of their final 16 contests. Lost from that squad that saw ample varsity playing time are Riley Jack, Dalton Gulick, Kyle Davidson and Chris Collins.
So head boy's basketball coach Scott Brakebill prefers to focus on the positive side of last year and expects to see great things from the team that returns for 2013-14.
"Last year was a tale of two seasons for us," said Brakebill. "Last year's team was very special. They were able to fight through adversity and find a way to come together on and off the court.. So there is now a good buzz coming into this season. We have a core of upperclassmen that tasted success at the varsity level and now they are very eager to get out and prove themselves for a whole season."
Key returning players for Brakebill include seniors Steve Faucett, Jared Mallory, Dolan Parnell and Chance Mehrhoff, a transfer from Appleton West High School in Wisconsin.
Faucett and Mallory will take care of the point guard and shooting guard spots, respectively, while Parnell and Mehrhoff are primarily post players who will be expected to control the paint and gain a lot of rebounds.
Jordan Jack, a junior for the Cardinals, is the team's returning leading scorer at 13 points a game and the team's leading rebounder with over seven boards a night. Jack was also a 2nd Team All-Conference and All-District performer as a sophomore.
Brakebill also mentioned players Ryan Crane, Jeff Weeks, Jacob Bailey, Isaac Hill, Anthony Fox, Jordan Collins, Trey Hill, Jordan Butterfield and Dylan Hill as guys who will be vying for varsity playing time, as well.
"A big key for this team having a successful season will be trust," said Brakebill. "Each player needs to have faith in the guy next to him, believe in what we are trying to accomplish as a team and have confidence in his own abilities."
Miller opens the season at Chadwick on Nov. 26, followed by the Marionville Tournament beginning Dec. 2. The Cardinal's first home game will be Dec. 10 against Walnut Grove.