NORRIS CITY-OMAHA-ENFIELD
BY JACK BULLOCK
The Fighting Cardinals had a lot of fight in them last season but they struggled against a lot of the opposition and were vanquished quickly in the post-season by Woodlawn at the 1A Crab Orchard Regional.

Head coach Evan Wyllie took over the NCOE program after coach Bryan Graven left to go to Mount Zion and in his first season, Norris City-Omaha-Enfield was a respectable 16-13 (5-2 in the Greater Egyptian Conference).

The main issue facing this coaching staff is replacing three starters and a lot of production from a club that won the Grayville Thanksgiving Tournament last November and were co-conference champs.

Chase Sutton had been around the program for four seasons and he racked up 1,000-career points while leading the team with 15 points a night last season.

Second leading scorer Dakoka Bond (13 p.p.g.) and Jacob Delap (nine p.p.g.) are also missing.
However Coach Wyllie has a starter back who he can rebuild around.

Six-foot-one senior Matt Long average 11.1 point a night for the Fighting Cardinals in 2015-16 which was third on a pretty good offensive club.

Coach Wyllie mentioned Cooper Wellls, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, who played enough minutes to earn a letter last season while helping out some on both ends of the floor (4.0 p.p.g., 3.0 r.p.g.).

After those two, NCOE starts over with unproven talent.

Six-foot-one Trenton Verble and 5-foot-10 Ben Taylor are seniors who have a shot at getting in the lineup on a regular basis.

Two juniors, 6-foot forward Jeb Baumgart and 5-foot-10 guard Evan Healy, along with sophomores 5-foot-10 guard Brandon Skaggs and 6-foot forward Colton O'Neal.

“We lost about 60 percent of our scoring and only return two players who played significant minutes on varsity last season. We have nine newcomers who will vie for playing time,” said Coach Wyllie.

“Matt Long will be looked upon to lead the team in his senior season. He is a very good shooter (33 percent from the arc last season) but was plagued with ankle problems the majority of last season. As long as he is healthy we will be a solid team. Cooper Wells got plenty of playing time and started a few games last year. He is a very good athlete and he improved over the course of last season and this summer. This year we will look to push the tempo even more to create quick opportunities for ourselves. My 3rd-11th player is about the same caliber so we will use quick rotations to stay fresh over the course of a game. We don't have much size but a lot of good shooters (Long, Skaggs, Wells, Verble, Taylor).”
2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE
N20-25 Christopher Thanksgiving Tournament J9 Golconda Pope County

N28

@ Marion Crab Orchard J13 @ Grayville
D1 Thompsonville J16 @ Junction Gallatin County
D5 Carmi-White County J22-27 GEC Tournament @ SIC
D9 Carrier Mills-Stonefort J30 Galatia
D12 @ Galatia F6 @ Cisne
D15 @ Elizabethtown Hardin County F9 Marion Crab Orchard
D19 Wayne City F13 @ Carrier Mills-Stonefort
D26-28 Eldorado Holiday Tournament F16 @ Thompsonville
J6 McLeansboro Hamilton County F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD