HAMILTON COUNTY
BY JACK BULLOCK
Eight seniors are gone from the Hamilton County Foxes program that managed just a 6-23 overall mark in 2016-17.

Most notably missing from last winter is one of the top backcourt players in the South, 6-foot guard Oakley Dial. Also part of the graduating class is Noah Rapp, Ethan Rapp, Austin Potter, Nate Neal, Tyler Gray, Jordan Pike and Dalton Miller.

With them they took a lot of points and minutes from a squad that was more competitive than their won/loss mark shows.

The Foxes bowed out of the post-season with a loss to Flora at the Flora 2A Regional.

Head coach Jeremy Varner has a group of players back that played important minutes along with newcomers looking to make a splash. One transfer should also help out with minutes.

Matt Rubenacker, a 5-foot-10 senior, returns for the Foxes along with classmates Jake Whipple, a 6-foot guard, and 6-foot-2 forward Kyle VanAbbema.

Another senior is Dylan Boykin, a 5-foot-9 guard, who transferred in from Mt. Vernon.

Rubenacker, Whipple and VanAbbema all saw significant time on the floor last winter.

Coach Varner mentioned a pair of juniors; 6-foot-3 Randy Schaefer and 6-foot-1 Hunter Braden.

The underclassmen expected to help are Garrett Webb, a 5-foot-10 guard, 6-foot-2 Zach Weaver and 6-foot Evan Shelton. All three are sophomores.

One freshman; 6-foot-3 Robbie Morgan, was listed by this coach as one that could help out on the varsity.

Of the six wins last season, the Foxes won a pair of conference games against Fairfield and Johnston City while taking care of four 1A schools, NCOE, Gallatin County, Hardin County and Carrier Mills.

That would have made the Foxes 4-0 against Greater Egyptian Conference teams.

“We hope to build on last season's progress and make a push to get back to the top of BDC East. Our kids have worked hard, are very coach-able, and want to get over the hump,” said Coach Varner. “Our seniors have been through this before and we hope our younger guys can step up and fill the void left from our graduates.”

OUTLOOK – Don't expect any miracles here but they have some kids back that have experience. Replacing Dial and Co. will be felt early in the schedule but perhaps a few weeks into the season this team can develop into a contender to get back to at least double-digit wins. They proved last season in their two league triumphs that teams better show up ready to play against the Foxes.

2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE
N27-D2 Goreville Invitational Tournament J12 Johnston City

D8

Albion Edwards County J15-20 Benton Invitational Tournament
D12 @ Fairfield J26 @ Eldorado
D15 @ Carmi-White County F2 @ Albion Edwards County
D21 Eldorado F3 Benton "Rich Herrin" Shootout
D26-28 Eldorado Holiday Tournament F6 Fairfield
J2 @ Carrier Mills-Stonefort F9 Carmi-White County
J5 Christopher F10 @ Waltonville
J6 @ Norris City-Omaha-Enfield F16 @ Johnston City
J9 Du Quoin F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD