Metro-East Lutheran has really made a recent name for itself on the boy's high school basketball scene in southern Illinois in the past few years.
Last season the Knights went an impressive 25-6 while winning a pair of tournaments.
The captured their own Thanksgiving event with an overtime win over Waterloo Gibault and then won the Litchfield Invitational Tournament.
Unfortunately after topping Gibault twice last season, the Hawks ended the Knights' run with a 42-38 victory at the 1A Bunker Hill Regional.
Gibault went on to the supersectional while the Knights went home early.
Coach Anthony Smith does have some talent returning this season but he lost to graduation some good ones.
ABV 1A All-South First Team pick Teddy Fiffer is gone from the program and is playing at Southwestern Illinois College this season.
Also missing is the school's all-time leading rebounder and last season's second leading scorer 6-foot-6 senior Jason Johnson is attending Missouri S&T.
Fiffer led the Knights with 19.5 points a game last season.
Johnson posted 10.4 points and 5.9 rebounds a game.
Those numbers will be tough to duplicate this season.
But the best news is that nearly everyone else returns for Metro-East.
And the Knights are going to bring to the table a lot of size for a 1A club.
Six-foot-five senior Braden Woolsey returns as does 6-foot-7 senior Noah Coddington.
Both of those kids tossed in some important points last season, with each averaging around five points a contest.
If Coach Smith wants to keep it big up front, he can also use 6-foot-8 senior A.J. Risavy in the lineup.
Those are junior college type size numbers for a front-line.
Other seniors in the mix include Garrett Niemeier and Thomas Schroader, both who are 6-foot-1.
Six-foot-four Larry Harris and 5-foot-10 Darion Brooks are from the junior class.
As if that wasn't enough size, the newcomers to the varsity also bring some additional height.
Three seniors were mentioned; 6-foot-4 Zach Crank and 6-foot-4 J.J. Schwartz along with 6-foot-3 Kyle Johnson should have have a shot.
“We have a very talented senior lead groups of players returning for this season. Noah Coddington and Braden Woolsey will be the driving force behind any success we have. We have a great senior and junior lead nucleus of players that had a great summer. Larry Harris and J.J Schwarz will provide a major problem for opponents for them getting to the basket. Being able to contain opponents with our length, size and athleticism will be key for this team to be solid. By the time March/postseason rolls around we should be contender in the 1A Class,” said Coach Smith.
N20-25 Metro-East Lutheran Turkey Tip-Off J13-20 Litchfield Invitational Tournament


St. Louis (MO.) Lutheran North J23 @ Roxana
D5 @ Alton Marquette Catholic J27 @ Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran
D8 @ Waterloo Gibault Catholic J31 @ St. Louis (MO.) Westminister
D9 @ Nokomis F6 Madison
D15 Bunker Hill F9 @ Woodlawn
D16 Greenville F10 Riverton Shootout
D26-29 Breese Mater Dei Holiday Tournament F13 East Alton-Wood River
J5 Glen Carbon (IL.) Father McGivney F16 Mount Olive
J6 Effingham St. Anthony Shootout F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD