The Hardin County Cougars and head coach Rodney Lane have made the folks in that neck of the woods quite proud of their basketball team.

After going many seasons without success, the Cougars managed to win a regional title in 2015 and finished above .500 last season at 15-12.

However things could have been much better but the injury bug bit the Cats with leading scorer and rebounder Austin Seavers going down late in the year.

In his absence, the Cougars lost their last six games after a 15-6 beginning.

A loss to GEC rival Carrier Mills in the opening round of the Goreville 1A Regional ended the once promising season.

However, as they have done in the most recent past, they will rebuild with a lot of players now interested in being a part of Cougars' basketball.

Coach Lane will turn to team leader Tyler Winters, a 5-foot-10 senior and now fourth year varsity player.

Winters scored 18 points a night as a junior and was a starter as a sophomore when the Cougars won the school's first regional title since 1986.

He has also passed the 1,000-point mark for his prep career and will be looking to pad those numbers and led this club to more victories.

The others looking to help out include Craig Hudson, a 6-foot-3 senior, who averaged 10 points and seven rebounds.

Cameron Shaw, a 5-foot-9 senior backcourt specialist, returns for the Cougars after averaging just under 10 points a game.

According to Coach Lane, Shaw is a 3-point marksmen who shouldn't be left alone beyond the arc.
“This team has a good mix of experience and good young talent. Tyler Winters is a very talented and quick guard that has two years of varsity experience under his belt , along with a regional championship. Hudson and Shaw have a lot of varsity experience and this is their last year to prove themselves,” said Coach Lane.

In the paint, Jamison Hicks is a 6-foot-6 junior center who Coach Lane called upon to fill in for Seavers late in the season. Hicks averaged about three points a game in his new role last winter.

Coach Lane added the names of some kids who will be ready once the season commences with a trip to the Goreville Invitational Tournament, which is a big step up in competition from its run of seasons at the Crab Orchard Thanksgiving Tournament.

The schedule also features games with Crittenden County (KY.) and Union County (KY.) as well as Cairo, all as part of the master plan to improve the schedule.

Hunter Cullum, a 6-foot junior that played a lot off of the bench last season and will be more involved in 2016-17.

Five-foot-ten sophomore Jaron Austin, 6-foot-1 sophomore Gabe Fowler and 5-foot-9 sophomore Isaiah Bridgewaters all played substantial minutes as freshmen a season ago.

“They are all three good athletes and will get a lot better as they gain varsity experience, we look for them to play a big role in our success,” said Coach Lane. “This ream has a good balance of experience and young talent. Hicks and Hudson give us size in the middle that we aren't used to having. At this point we have eight or nine players that could be in the starting lineup, so we should be fairly deep especially as this season moves on. With our size inside and are ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter, and drive the basket we should be a pretty rounded team.”

Coach Lane also mentioned that longtime teacher and coach Gene Fatheree has returned as the JV/assistant coach.

“Coach Fatheree was an assistant under Cave-in-Rock and Hardin County Hall of Fame coach Glen Oxford, he was an assistant under Hardin County coach Stan Powles, and also an assistant under coach Charlie Strausburger and eventually the head coach at Hardin County for a number of years. We are very fortunate and very grateful for having Coach Fatheree return to the Hardin County bench. The experience and the knowledge he brings with him is a big asset to our basketball program. Myself and our team are very proud and excited to have him back.”
N27-D2 Goreville Invitational Tournament J16 @ Union County (KY.)


@ Carrier Mills-Stonefort J19 @ Junction Gallatin County
D9 Crittenden County (KY.) J22-27 GEC Tournament @ SIC
D15 Norris City-Omaha-Enfield J29 Webster County (KY.)
D26-28 Eldorado Holiday Tournament J30 Golconda Pope County
J4 Dongola F3 @ Johnston City
J5 Thompsonville F9 Carrier Mills-Stonefort
J9 @ Galatia F13 Junction Gallatin County
J12 @ Golconda Pope County F16 @ Marion Crab Orchard
J13 @ Crittenden County (KY.) F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD