HERRIN
BY JACK BULLOCK
The Herrin Tigers have a new head coach, all to familiar with the program as long-time athletic director and former head coach Mike Mooneyham takes back the reigns of the program after Irv Lukens stepped down at the end of last season.
Coach Mooneyham had a nice run as head coach not so long ago (103-79 in six seasons at Herrin) and he brought the Tigers to the pinnacle of the school's second boy's basketball title back in 2002, only to see his team fall to Pleasant Plains in the Class A title game in overtime.
A lot of water has went under the bridge since that time and Coach Mooneyham will lead his 3A squad into a lot of tough battles this season.
The Tigers finished 10-17 last season, losing to Harrisburg in the 3A regional to end the year.
Herrin has some good players returning from a season that was highlighted by an unbeaten run at the West Frankfort Mid-Winter Classic back in January.
Jake Downen is a 6-foot-4 senior forward that is approaching the 1,000-point level.
His brother Ty Downen, also a 6-foot-4 senior, is also closing in on that mark as is 6-foot-4 senior DJ Spell.
That trio posses a threat to the opponents offensively as they can score from all over the halfcourt.
Coach Mooneyham also mentioned a couple of senior guards; 6-foot-1 Dalton Bush and 6-foot-1 Bronson Nesler.
Other letter winners looking for action include 6-foot-1 senior Jake Hartline, 6-foot-1 Parker McCormick and 6-foot-1 Matt Cagle.
They have size and a good deal of athletic ability and they will need things to fall into place as they tackle a tough as nails schedule.
“We have good size, good depth and we are a good shooting team,” said Coach Mooneyham, who is also a Herrin grad. “We have the pieces needed to make a run at a conference championship and be competitive at regional time. We also have a talented group of sophomores who we are asking to step into significant varsity minutes and we think they are very capable. We are flying under the radar right now but keep an eye on Herrin as the season progresses.”
2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE
N20-25 Pyramid Plus Tournament @ Marion J26 Benton

D5

Cairo J27 Mt. Vernon
D8 @ Benton F2 @ Murphysboro
D15 Murphysboro F3 Benton "Rich Herrin Classic"
D16 Pinckneyville F9 Metropolis Massac County
D26-28 Eldorado Holiday Tournament F10 @ West Frankfort
J5 West Frankfort F16 @ Harrisburg
J12 Harrisburg F20 @ Metropolis Massac County
J13 @ Woodlawn F23 @ Carterville
J15-20 West Frankfort "Mid-Winter Classic" F26-M2 IHSA Regional TBD