ABV hopes fans will give the Anna-Jonesboro Wildcats the bennefit of the doubt in the early part of the basketball season.

With a lot of the cagers also being standouts on the gridiron, don't be surprised if Coach Mike Chamness has to use a lot of players early in the season, especially in the Goreville Invitational Tournament that begins the week after Thanksgiving.

At least that extra week will let these duel sport athletes heal up from the pounding that football puts on the body.

As for the 2017-18 season, Coach Chamness has a lot to be thankful for.

The top eight players return from the 10-17 squad that lost in the regional at Trico to Vienna.

Last season this coach used a lot of players that were underclassmen and they are all back for another round of games.

Five juniors, a sophomore and two freshman last season got their baptism under fire and they are a year older now and will know what to expect as the season begins.

Jake Parr, a 6-foot-2 senior, topped the Wildcats' offense with 18 points and eight rebounds a game.

He was all-conference and all-South along with special mention on the ABV list.

He is one of those players that coaches like to have on their squad because they can do a lot of things. It's “Parr for the course” at Anna-Jonesboro.

Five-foot-eleven senior Sheldon McGrath tossed in 10 points a game and handed out the “candy” with four assists a night.

According to Coach Chamness, those two lead by example.

Jocob Zimmerman is a 5-foot-9 senior (7.6 p.p.g.) and 5-foot-9 senior Ross Pinnon (2.3 p.p.g.) along with 6-foot-5 senior Logan Sawyer (4.6 p,p,g,, 4.3 r.p.g.) round out the starting five.

The three other kids in the rotation are 6-foot-1 junior Carson Reynolds, 5-foot-10 sophomore Blake Pena and 6-foot-4 sophomore Noah McFarland.

For some unknown reason, there always seems to be a “Noah” on the roster.

But that makes some sense, since they play around “the arc.”

“I think our team has a good nucleus coming back. We have really worked on our bodies over the off-season trying to get stronger to endure the length of the season and the physicality of the game. I'm really excited about our group and their desire to get better. They have been great to be around all summer and looking forward to starting in the fall,” said Coach Chamness, who is approaching 100-wins for his brief career.

OUTLOOK – Look for improvement from this program with experience returning in every spot on the floor. However this team plays in a very tough conference so it won't be easy to rack up wins. ABV likes their chances of improving that won-loss mark and they should be able to do quite well outside of the SIRR and perhaps win some games that they shouldn't. It should be an enjoyable season, once they get in basketball shape.

N27-D2 Goreville Invitational Tournament J13-20 West Frankfort Mid-Winter Classic


@ Nashville J26 Nashville
D9 @ Cobden J27 West Frankfort
D15 Carterville J31 @ Ullin Century
D16 Metropolis Massac County F2 @ Carterville
D19 @ Chester F3 Benton Shootout
D22 @ Pinckneyville F9 Pinckneyville
D26-28 Eldorado Holiday Tournament F10 @ Du Quoin
J5 Du Quoin F16 Sparta
J12 @ Sparta F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD