21-22 Marion boys hoops cmyk.jpg

The 2021-22 Marion County boys basketball team. Front row left to right: Porter Britt, Levi Wright, Mason Wood, Root Cheney, Joey Lageman, Nick Kelso, Kegan Mcintosh and Jackson Stewart. Back row: Head coach Reed Plunkett, Wyatt Goldinger, Caden Stotts, Mac Keilholz, Cooper Stotts, Spencer Whetstone, Riley Baldwin, assistant coach Ryan Wood and the team manager.

PHILADELPHIA, Mo. — Marion County is entering the new boys basketball season hoping better days are coming for the program.

It has been some lean years for the Mustangs with the team going nearly two years between wins before breaking the winless streak last January.

After going 1-19 last season, Marion County players have set a goal to win more games, be more competitive and make a push for a .500 record.

“I think that’s a lofty goal, but I think it’s something we can push for,” said Marion County head coach Reed Plunkett. “We are talking about forming the right habits so when we get into January and February we are a tough team to beat. That people don’t look at Marion County and think it’s going to be an easy win. They are going to have to earn it.”

The Mustangs will rely heavily on seniors Spencer Whetstone and Cooper Stotts this season, with both players being four-year starters.

“We are looking for them to lead because they’ve got a ton of varsity experience,” Plunkett said. “Just kind of step up their game as far as making good decisions and being team leaders.

Marion County has one more senior, Kegan Mcintosh, who has not played prior to this season.

Junior Root Cheney will be looked to as one of the primary scorers for Marion County, and is known for being a headsy defender.

Rounding out Marion County’s starting lineup are sophomores Jackson Stewart and Wyatt Goldinger.

“Wyatt is a pretty consistent scoring threat,” Plunkett said. “He can score from all three levels — from three’s, midrange and can get to the rim.”

Stewart had a growth spurt since his freshman season and grew five inches taller.

“He’s gotten a lot more length to him,” Plunkett said. “He plays extremely hard. He’s a headsy ballplayer and he really prides himself on his on the ball defense.”

The Mustangs also have eight freshmen on this year’s team, with some who will get significant minutes off the bench.

Some freshmen who could make an impact include point guard Joey Lageman, center Caden Stotts, Porter Britt and Mason Wood.

Marion County increased their numbers from nine players to 14 this season.

“We are way deeper than we’ve been in year’s past,” Plunkett said. “So we are hoping to utilize that to our advantage.”

Joining the coaching staff this season is former Palmyra head coach Ryan Wood, who will be Plunkett’s top assistant coach for both the boys and girls team. Wood won a district championship last season at Palmyra before stepping down as coach after the season.

It is not the first time these two have worked with each other. Wood was Plunkett’s high school coach at Marion County and the duo helped win the district title during Plunkett’s senior year in 2013-14. Plunkett also did some volunteer work for Wood at Palmyra while was attending college.

“I can already tell his impact in practice,” Plunkett said. “I call it the Wood effect. He’s won so many games and is just so respected in the industry as a local coach and the kids know that. That has been a tremendous blessing to me.”

2021-22 Schedule

Nov. 23 — North Shelby

Nov. 30 — at Community

Dec. 2 — at Bevier

Dec. 6-11 — Monroe City Tournament

Dec. 13 — North Shelby

Dec. 14 — at Higbee

Dec. 16 — Madison

Dec. 20 — La Plata

Jan. 4 — at Brashear

Jan. 7 — Novinger

Jan. 10 — at Wellsville-Middletown

Jan. 11 — Macon County with Bucklin

Jan. 17-22 — North Shelby Tournament

Jan. 25 — at Atlanta

Jan. 28 — at Mark Twain

Jan. 31 — Scotland County

Feb. 1 — Paris

Feb. 5 — at Silex

Feb. 7-12 — Brashear Tournament

Feb. 15 — at Canton

Feb. 17 — South Shelby

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