ALTON MARQUETTE
BY JACK BULLOCK
With six of his top seven scorers returning, this should be a good time to be an Alton Marquette Explorers' fan.

Head coach Steve Medford leads his troops into the 2017-18 after getting all the way to the Carbondale 2A Supersectional last March, only to fall to eventual state runner up Mt. Carmel.

The reward for the Explorers this season? Another trip back up to 3A.

This program, because of the IHSA success factor, yo-yo's between 2A and 3A, like they did after the 2011-12 season.

Similar to Breese Mater Dei, when they are good they get moved up, then when they are not so good for a while, they get moved back down.

So they have been punished for making long postseason runs.

Anyway, it is what it is and the Explorers are back to the 3A tournament again in 2017-18.

Coach Medford will turn to the six holdovers from a year ago as they work towards the postseason and hopefully to repeat some of the previous year's regular season successes.

The Explorers won the Metro-East Lutheran Thanksgiving Tournament last November and are set to defend that crown this season. In fact they won all three of their regular season tournaments a year ago (Columbia/Freeburg and Sparta) on their way to a 30-4 mark and their first every boy's basketball sectional title, beating Nashville on their home floor to advance to the supersectional.

Six-foot-seven senior Jacob Hall returns for Marquette as does starting guard and scorer Sammy Green, a 6-foot senior.

Reagan Snider, a 6-foot senior guard, gives Coach Medford an outstanding backcourt with experience to spare.

“All three of those kids were really good for us last season and we expect big things this year,” said Coach Medford.

This coach also has three other vets from last season; 6-foot-1 Isiah Ervin, 5-foot-10 Chris Hartrich and 6-foot-5 forward are all juniors who played key roles for the Explorers last winter.

“We have a great core of guys to work with, and any one of them could lead us in scoring on any given night,” added Coach Medford. “We are looking forward to a great season. We can compete and make a run in 3A if we play the right way. Our kids know how to win and expect to win. We look forward to another great year and we hope we can win a 3A regional and hopefully compete for a 3A sectional. We know its a tall task but we think we can do it.”

OUTLOOK – Unfortunately for this program, they are one of the many private schools in the state that this happens to. But the talent is there for them to make some 3A noise and the Explorers schedule will help them get ready. Depending on the draw, they could find themselves in a very winnable regional.

2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE
N20-25 Metro-East Lutheran "Turkey Tip-Off" J9 @ Bunker Hill

N28

Bethalto Civic Memorial J15-20 Sparta "Mid-Winter Classic"
D1 Nokomis J23 St. Louis (MO.) Lift For Life
D5 Edwardsville Metro-East Lutheran J26 @ East Alton-Wood River
D7 Sydney (Austraila) Trinty Grammar F2 @ St. Louis (MO.) McClure North
D12 @ Mount Olive F6 @ Highland
D16 Belleville Althoff F9 Roxana
D21 Madison F13 Breese Central
D26-29 Freeburg/Columbia Holiday Tournament F16 @ Waterloo Gibault
J6 @ Breese Mater Dei F26-M2 IHSA Regional TBD