BY JACK BULLOCK
The Jerseyville Panthers head into the 2018-19 season without seven seniors from last winter who left in the spring and took a lot of stats on the way out the door.

Most notably senior Blake Wittman, who topped the Panthers in almost every statistical category for the 17-13 club.

The 6-foot-2 senior notched 14 points a game while getting 4.9 rebounds a night for head coach Stote Reeder.

AJ Shaw, Lucas Ross, Brett Tuttle and Coby Gibson are also missing from the group that took a very tough postseason.

They beat the host Rockets in the first round of the regional before losing to Springfield Lanphier, 61-34, at the Rochester 3A Regional semifinals.

Playing a brutal non-conference schedule, Jerseyville will need to be ready every night according to Coach Reeder.

The Panthers this season will have to lean on his most experienced returning players as they begin the season at the Centralia Thanksgiving Tournament.

Six-foot-one senior guard Kurt Hall has started games for Jerseyville since his sophomore season.

Hall was second on the team a year ago in scoring with 13.4 points and 2.8 rebounds.

He is the all-time record holder for 3-pointers made in a season as he nailed 82 last winter.

Tucker Shalley, a 6-foot-5 junior, came off of the bench last winter for the Panthers as did 6-foot-5 classmate Matthew Jackson.

Another player Coach Reeder mentioned also comes off of the injured list.

Alex Strebel, a 6-foot-6 junior, missed 2017-18 due to a knee injury but he is back healthy now.

Matthew Jackson 6'5" JR. PF also played big minutes off the bench last year.

Five-foot-nine senior point guard Will Medford and 5-foot-11 senior guard David Rogers are also part of the Panthers' club.

“Kurt and Tucker will carry the weight of the offense, but if our role players can't score some points this year we won't be very good. Our season will hinge on defense, rebounding, and toughness and after nine days of practice our guys have answered the bell most times,” said Coach Reeder, who enters his 17th season as a head coach. “Kurt Hall will pass the 1,000-point mark and break our all time record for 3's in a career as long as he stays healthy.”

OUTLOOK – Coach Reeder was spot on about the schedule as the Panthers don't have any cupcakes on the plate. The tournaments at home, Centralia and Pinckneyville will be challenging and the conference won't be a picnic, either. Their junior varsity went 17-2 a year ago, which bodes well for a winning attitude moving forward for the kids who move up.

N25 @ Centralia
Enrollment: 908 (3A)
N28-30 Centralia Thanksgiving Tournament
Conference: Mississippi Valley
D3 @ Jerseyville
Colors: Red/Black
D6 Alton
Head Coach: Deryl Cunningham
D13 @ Civic Memorial
2018-19 Won/Loss Record: 28-6
D14 @ Pittsfield
State Tournament Result:
D17 @ Highland
Lost to Mascoutah, 77-60
D20 Waterloo
3A Mascoutah Sectional.
D26-28 Pinckneyville "Duster Thomas Classic"
a
J7 Metro-East Lutheran
a
J10 @ Triad
a
J14 @ Piasa Southwestern
a
J17 Mascoutah
a
J18-25 Jerseyville "Mid-Winter Classic"
a
J31 Alton Marquette 1
F4 Mt. Vernon
a
F7 Civic Memorial
a
F11 @ Carrollton
a
F14 Triad
`
F15 Teutopolis Shootout
a
F18 @ Granite City
a
F21 Highland a
F25 @ Waterloo a
F28 @ Mascoutah 1
M2-6 IHSA Regional 1