Life will be more difficult for the Hillcrest High School boys’ basketball team this season without Dorial Green-Beckham.
But in the postseason, the road to Columbia might actually be a little easier.
Trapped last year in one of the state’s toughest districts, the Hornets had to win an overtime game against Rogersville in the District 11 final.
Hillcrest is now in District 10 and should cruise out of the field, despite not currently having a post player.
But coach John Schaefer’s bevy of guards should mix things up enough to convincingly handle most local Class 4s. And, like we said in today’s Hillcrest story, the “win without DGB” chip on the Hornets’ shoulders should carry through the season.
In the new District 11, Republic appears to be the favorite, as the depth for new coach Trevyor Fisher should be able to overcome quality players like Austin Selby of Reeds Spring and Logan Miller of West Plains.
You wonder, though, how Republic will fare against top teams without a reliable go-to option when the team needs a big bucket. Or, maybe Fisher will help that option emerge.
District 12 should be the most interesting local Class 4 tournament. I could see Carl Junction, Carthage, McDonald County or Webb City moving on to sectional.
The good news is, with the addition of Carthage to Class 4, the overall talent in this district is better than last year.
I’m going to take Webb City, with all those football athletes, to move through District 12. It’d be quite a feat for players like Kohl Slaughter and Phoenix Johnson to add to their football hardware without any kind of preseason on the hardwood — like every year.
But locally, Hillcrest is still the Class 4 team to beat. Schaefer will have quite an experiment this year, juggling all sorts of guards and uneven lineups. He’ll create matchup problems each night, but will have his own matchup difficulties to deal with defensively.
I see Hillcrest getting out of the local sectional once again, before running into a tough quarterfinal opponent — Helias, Mexico, Duchesne, etc.
Then, we’ll find out how the experiment works against top competition.
Contact Matt Schoch at 417-836-1191 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @MattSchochNL.