With the top three scorers missing via graduation, the Carterville Lions will lean on two remaining starters and three others to get the season going.

Head coach Shane Hawkins will have the services of 6-foot-7 senior Luke Ford as he returns after posting six points and eight rebounds a game as a junior.

Justin Johnson, a senior guard, averaged five points a night.

All of the other major minutes and scoring left when Taylor Heil, Brendan Beasley and Blake Jackson all departed.

Heil was sometimes dominating in the lane and Beasley was the point guard running the show.

Jackson was the shooting guard on the team that went 17-14 overall against a tough schedule.

Carbondale took them out of the 3A regional in the semifinals.

Dylan Valerius, a senior guard, along with senior guard Conner Henderson, junior guard Dylan Moore, junior forward Luke Stritzel and sophomore guard Austin Garbe will all get a chance in the first week of the season at the Pyramid Plus Tournament.

“We lost three seniors who were heavy in everything we did last year,” said Coach Hawkins. “It will take awhile for our new group to get adjusted to new roles.”

OUTLOOK - As for the conference race, the Lions will be in the chase because of Ford and Johnson being veterans that can lead. The first week of the season will be a tough one for this young club as they learn and work to get better. They will find out first hand what 3A basketball is all about in the early going.

N20-25 Pyramid Plus Tournament J27 @ Benton


West Frankfort F2 Anna-Jonesboro
D8 Du Quoin F3 @ Metropolis Massac County
D15 @ Anna-Jonesboro F9 @ Nashville
D16 Carbondale F10 Sparta
D20 Nashville F13 @ Harrisburg
D28-29 Pinckneyville "Duster Thomas" Classic F16 Pinckneyville
J5 Sparta F23 Herrin
J12 @ Pinckneyville F26-M2 IHSA Regional TBD
J26 @ Du Quoin M7-10 IHSA Sectional TBD