CRAB ORCHARD
BY JACK BULLOCK
When you look at the Greater Egyptian Conference and projections for the 2017-18, no team has more to replace than Crab Orchard.

Head coach Jon Brown sent some good seniors away, including two 1,000-point career scorers and five seniors, four of which were key parts of a 23-7 club last season.

Coach Brown saw seniors Caleb Vaughn and McKager Ferrell take their 2,000-points away while another starter; Jaden Schell will also be missed.

For the ones coming back, two of the kids started games last season for the Trojans, who were champions of their own Thanksgiving Tournament and also the annual GEC Tournament in January.

Five-foot-seven senior guard Cameron Stephens was a big part of the Crab Orchard successful season as he popped home 11 points a night for his club.

Having another senior in the backcourt is a plus and Levi Vinson returns for his final prep season after helping out with nine points a contest last winter.

Those two will be the players Coach Brown will look for as leaders as this team heads into 2017-18.

Hunter Throgmorton, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, has impressed the coaching staff.

A junior, a sophomore and a trio of freshman are also in the running for playing time to fill the other three starting slots and also important reserve minutes.

Five-foot-ten junior Chaise Whitehead, 5-foot-10 sophomore Tony Lakotich and freshman 6-foot-2 Quentin Meyers, will all play a lot of minutes in the first week of five games for the Trojans at their Turkey tourney.

“Beyond Vinson and Stephens the team will be comprised of freshmen and sophomores. We will have a lack of size and varsity experience, which will be concerns,” said Coach Brown. “Sharp shooting, all-out hustle, and pressure defense will be relied on to compete with bigger more experienced teams. We will have room for a lot of improvement and we plan to do just that.“

OUTLOOK – This hasn't been the only time that this coach has sent away a great group of seniors. But this mentor and program always seem to find the answers to the questions that they face heading into each basketball season. The Trojans will be part of the discussion in the conference race and another 20-win season is certainly possible.

2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE
N20-25 Crab Orchard Turkey Tournament J22-27 GEC Tournament @ SIC
N28 Norris City-Omaha-Enfield J30 Thompsonville
D1 @ Pope County F1 @ Patoka
D5 Gallatin County F3 @ Galatia
D8 Galatia F5 Shawnee
D9-16 Wayne City Holiday Tournament F6 @ Carrier Mills
D19 Waltonville F9 @ Norris City-Omaha-Enfield
J5 Century F10 Vandalia
J9 Carrier Mills F15 @ Shawnee
J12 @ Galatia F16 Hardin County
J16 @ Thompsonville F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD