The Marion County boys basketball team is coming off a tough season, but the experience the young Mustangs gained should help them this year.
Last season Marion County lost its leading scorer due to a torn ACL. First-year coach Justin Ellison didn’t have much experience to turn to on his roster after the injury.
The result was a 5-19 season, but the experience the young Mustangs gained should help them this season.
“We have more experience coming back for this season,” the second-year coach said. “We started playing better at the end of last season so I feel like with that experience we have more confidence as we start this season.”
One leader Ellison will rely on heavily this season will be guard Ty Bowdish. The senior led the Mustangs in scoring as junior with 10 points per game.
“Ty will be the one bringing the ball up the court for us this season and we will look for him to be one of our top scorers again,” the Mustangs coach said.
Alex Huffman is another senior guard who Ellison expects a big season from.
“Alex creates a lot of energy for us on the defensive end,” the coach said. “We can have him defend multiple positions. We also expect him to be a scorer for us this season. He had a game last year where he scored 17 so we are going to try and get him to around 10-12 per game this season.”
Another senior is Carson Bock. Ellison is impressed with his overall game.
“He is probably our most athletic kid we have,” the Mustangs coach said. “We look for him to be in that 12-15 point range for us this season if we want to be able to compete in the big games.”
The Mustangs do not possess much size, but Sheldon Whetstone will be called upon to man the center of the paint.
“He should fill that void nicely for us this year,” Ellison said of a lack of size. “He missed all of last season due to a summer baseball injury but he is back healthy this season so we expect big things from him in the post.”
Due to a lack of a true post presence last season, Ellison mentioned a lot of games were lost on the boards. He hopes that will not be the case this season.
“A huge key will our ability to rebound the basketball,” the coach said. “We were undersized last year, and still kind of are, but in the games we lost we got out rebounded badly. We gave teams a lot of second, third and fourth chances. We cannot let that happen this year.”
Ellison also mentioned the Mustangs couldn’t find a way to finish out close games last year. With a more experienced team this season, Ellison expects a different outcome in those situations.
“We had four or five games where we were right there in the fourth quarter but I feel like our lack of experience hurt us in those games,” he explained. “Hopefully this season we can come out on the right side of those games with the guys we have coming back.”
Case Wolfe rounds out the Mustangs expected starting five. The sophomore came off the bench last season.
“He is probably our best outside shooter and we are expecting 8-10 points a game from him this season,” Ellison said.
Tony Lange, Brennan Nick, Landon Holt and Logan Sherfy round out the Mustangs roster. Sherfy is currently out with a concussion, but Ellison expects him to return to the team by the end of the week.
Aside from adding to last season’s win total, Ellison mentioned he hopes to get back to an old Marion County tradition this season.
“We want to be able to protect our home court,” the Mustangs coach said. “Last year we were only able to win two games at home. Playing and winning at home was such a big strength of the Marion County programs in the past.”
The Mustangs open the season Monday at home against Brashear.