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Boys Basketball preview

It’s time to tip off another high school boys basketball season.

CBC won the Class 5 state championship last year and the Cadets’ coach Justin Tatum has two starters back. Tatum is casting his squad as underdogs who will “need to play with a chip on our shoulder” this season.

Chaminade will be competing with CBC for supremacy in the Metro Catholic Conference. Coach Frank Bennett’s Red Devils will be led by senior Jayson Tatum, the son of the CBC coach.

Lafayette Coach Scott Allen’s team should be solid again; while De Smet Jesuit coach Kevin Poekler will have a youth movement this season with his Spartans.

Here is a look at the teams in alphabetical order with insight from the coaches:


2013-14 record: 25-7

Head coach: Justin Tatum

Returning: 6 players, 2 starters

Offense: “Whatever our personnel allows us to run.”

Defense: “Whatever it takes to win.”

Players to watch: Jordan Barnes, Christian Willis and Blake Bommarito

Newcomers to watch: Kenny Lesley

Strengths: “Can really score.”

Goals: “Compete every day.”

Favorites to win the Metro Catholic Conference: Chaminade



2013-14 record: 24-3

Head coach: Frank Bennett

Returning: 8 players, 3 starters

Offense: Motion; Defense: Man-to-man

Players to watch: Jayson Tatum, Tyler Cook, Mike Lewis and Will Gladson

Newcomers to watch: Jacob Stoecklin and Isaac Olson

Strengths: “Many offensive weapons.”

Goals: “Get better every day.”

Favorites to win the Metro Catholic Conference: Chaminade and CBC



2013-14 record: 8-18

Head coach: Kevin Poelker

Returning: 1 starter

Players to watch: Matt Winter, Griffin Palmer, Rick Hill and Ryan Stipanovich

Newcomers to watch: Tommy Barton, Ethan Erusha and Dillon Gilkey

Strengths: “Play hard, play together.”

Goals: “Be the best we can be, fulfill our potential.”

Favorites to win the Metro Catholic Conference: Chaminade



2013-14 record: 9-18

Head coach: Austin Kirby

Returning: 8 players, 1 starter

Offense: Multiple; Defense: Man-to-man

Player to watch: Conner Walden

Newcomer to watch: Cameron Nisbet

Strengths: “Play hard and play good defense.”

Goals: “Win a district championship.”

Favorites to win the Suburban West Conference American Division: Lafayette and Marquette



2013-14 record: 12-14

Head coach: Joe Walterbach

Returning: Ben Culver, Pat Donahue, Kory Reinsfelder, Andrew Rogers; and Ryan McAleenan

Offense: “Run and gun.”

Defense: “Full court pressure, trapping.”

Players to watch: Andrew Rogers, Joe Bruno, Ben Culver, Pat Donahue, Alex Gardner and Kory Reinsfelder

Newcomers to watch: Joe Walker, Ryan McAleenan; Jordan Frankow, Sam Shanks, Tim Simon and Drew Johnson

Strengths: “We are very deep and will be able to rotate guys frequently.”

Goals: “To improve our defense.”

Favorites to win the AAA Small Division: Cardinal Ritter



2013-14 record: 24-5

Head coach: Scott Allen

Returning: 2 starters

Offense: “We’d like to get out and run but we have to be solid defensively to do that.”

Defense: “We’ll mix it up with primarily man and throw in some zone.”

Players to watch: Cam Scales and Zach Steinberg

Newcomers to watch: “The list is long … pretty much everyone else on our roster.”

Strengths: “We have guys who can shoot it and are just good kids.”

Goals: “We want to compete to win every game. We hope to be playing for the district championship.”

Favorites to win the Suburban West Conference American Division: “I think so far things are up for grabs.”



2013-14 record: 12-13

Head coach: Kevin Schultz

Returning: 9 players, 4 starters

Offense: Motion; Defense: Man

Players to watch: Sean McCracken, Jason Powers, Spencer Osterman and Jack Matzen

Newcomers to watch: Dylan Dix, Jack Eggmann and  Nick Bulanda

Strengths: “Our cohesion, work ethic and intelligence.”

Goals: “Improve on a daily basis and be our best at the end of the season.”

Favorites to win the SWC American Division: Lafayette



2013-14 record: 17-9

Head coach: Matt Hixenbaugh

Returning: 1 starter

Offense: “Ball movement to get the best shot each trip.”

Defense: “Primarily man-to-man.”

Player to watch: Alec Spence

Newcomers to watch: “Many freshman and sophomores.”

Strengths: Depth

Goals: “Be playing our best basketball at the end of the season.”

Favorites to win the Metro League: Burroughs, Westminster and Lutheran North



2013-14 record: 18-10

Head coach: Rick Kirby

Returning: 2 starters

Offense: “Will be a variety of sets that will include lots of ball screens.”

Defense: “99.9 percent man-man. Always has been and always will be.”

Players to watch: Jarrett Cox-Bradley and Risaan McKenney

Newcomers to watch: Josh Konecek, Erick Stephens and DeAndre Campbell

Strengths: “My emphasis from day one is defense. We have much work to do here but we are making strides.”

Goals: “20 wins, a conference championship and a district championship.”

Favorites to win the SC National Division: Parkway West



2013-14 record: 12-15

Head coach: Jason Breeland

Returning: 4 players, 1 starter

Offense: Uptempo; Defense: Primarily man-to-man

Player to watch: Carl Jones

Newcomer to watch: Jarrad McCloud

Strengths: “Athleticism and speed.”

Goals: “Compete and get better every day.”

Favorites to win the Suburban XII South Division: Webster Groves and Kirkwood



2013-14 record: 15-10

Head coach: Mitch Stevens

Returning: 4 players, 1 starter

Offense: Motion; Defense: Man-to-man

Players to watch: Connor McArthy, Ross Scanlon and Anton Ruiz

Newcomer to watch: Jack Mullen

Strengths: “Team speed.”

Goals: “Win conference and district.”

Favorites to win the SWC American Division: Lafayette



2013-14 record: 16-11

Head coach: John Wright

Returning: 6 players, 2 starters

Offense: Half court sets and motion

Defense: Man-to-man and some zone

Players to watch: Wyatt Yess, Joey Twellman, Keith Clerk, Austin Sisk, Caleb Socha and Andrew Widowski

Newcomers to watch: Nick Lathrop, Henderson Faulkner, Matt Pilgrim, Wyatt Harlan, Matt Petersen, Noah Andrews and Mark Umstead

Strengths: “We take pride in playing tough defense. Our size will allow us to have an inside presence that we want take advantage of on defense, on the boards, and by working for high percentage shots.”

Goals: “We want to push ourselves every day in practice and be playing our best basketball at the end of the season.”

Favorites to win the SC National Division: “Hard to say, it’s wide open.”



Head coach: Duane Thomas

Returning: 2 players, 3 starters

Defense: Mixed

Players to watch: Evan Eisenauer, Marion Bania, Corbitt Grow, Cooper Randolph and Kaylin Hernandez

Newcomers to watch: Colin Saad, Josh Barthelmess, Nathan Wood, Tyler Wingert, Scott Carter and Cam Sellers

Strengths: “We should be able to score both inside and out. Nice to have the additional depth.”


2013-14 record: 13-13

Head coach: Bob McCormack

Returning: 3 starters

Offense: “Mix it up. Motion.”

Defense: “Mix it up. Press as well as zones and man-to-man.”

Players to watch: Cole Esperado, Nate VonderHaar, Stephen Poth, Matt Kinneson and Jack Kurz

Newcomers to watch: Holden Wilmsen, Danny Kaszmereck and John Forshaw

Strengths: “Experience will help us. Kids have been around and played since their sophomore year … Everyone knows their role and won’t overdo things. They help each other out and will play as a team.”

Goals: “To finish tops in the conference, and we are in a tough district.”

Favorites to win the Metro League: “Up in the air. MICDS is always good and Westminster has some good players back. It will be a good battle and it will make every Tuesday and Friday fun and challenging.”




2013-14 record: 16-11

Head coach: Doug Coleman

Returning: 4 players, 2 starters

Offense: Motion; Defense: Man-to-man

Players to watch: Aaron Cook Jr., Matt Weber and Brendan Bognar

Newcomers to watch: Steve Webb and Cliff Degroot

Strengths: Defense

Goals: “Win, compete every play and display habits of a tough team.”

Favorites to win the Metro League: Priory, Lutheran North and Lutheran South



2013-14 record: 19-9

Head coach: Mike Potsou

Returning: 6 players, 1 starter

Offense: “We have a talented group of guards and will run our offense to our strengths.”

Defense: Man-to-man and zone

Players to watch: DeVaughn Rucker and Bryce Berry

Newcomers to watch: Chadd Montgomery, Collin Strege, Jordan Crouch, Torrence Watson and Will Matthews

Strengths: Guard play

Goals: “To get better each day so this young team can gel and repeat as district champions.”


Districts and conferences

Archdiocesan Athletic Association (AAA) Small Division teams: Cardinal Ritter, Bishop DuBourg, Kennedy, Lutheran St. Charles, O’Fallon Christian and Trinity

Class  3 District 4 teams: Brentwood, Cleveland NJROTC, Kennedy, John Burroughs, Maplewood, Principia, Valley Park and Whitfield

Class  4 District 4 teams: Clayton, MICDS, Parkway West, Priory, University City and Westminster Christian Academy

Class  5 District 2 teams: CBC, Kirkwood, Parkway South, Rockwood Summit and Vianney

Class  5 District 6 teams: De Smet Jesuit, Hazelwood Central, Hazelwood West, Parkway North and Pattonville

Class  5 District 7 teams: Chaminade, Hazelwood East, Ladue, McCluer North and Ritenour

Class 5 District 8 teams: Eureka, Lafayette, Marquette, Parkway Central and Washington

Metro Catholic Conference teams: CBC, Chaminade, De Smet Jesuit, SLUH and Vianney

Metro League teams: John Burroughs, Lutheran North, Lutheran South, MICDS, Principia, Priory and Westminster Christian Academy

Suburban Central (SC) National Division teams: Clayton, Ladue, Parkway Central, Parkway West and University City

Suburban West Conference (SWC)American Division teams: Eureka, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette and Parkway South

Suburban XII South Division teams: Kirkwood, Parkway North, Pattonville, Ritenour, Rockwood Summit and Webster Groves

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