NEW ATHENS
BY JACK BULLOCK
New Athens and head coach Conrad Widdersheim got to know each other last season as this young coach took over for former head coach Marc Derwort and the Yellow Jackets struggled for most of the season, going just 7-19 overall.

This club had six seniors on the roster last year that are now gone, including five that played a lot of minutes.

Theo Dudeck, Noel Ivester, Trent Marhanka, Justin Ruff and Nate Curry were part of the club that lost the regional opener to Lebanon to close out the campaign.

The top returning player for Coach Widdersheim is 6-foot-6 senior forward Jaxon Heintz, who put up some good numbers (13 points, seven rebounds) for New Athens as a sophomore.

He is someone in the paint that can be disrupting to the teams that the Yellow Jackets will face this season.
Coach Widdersheim hopes to build the team around him and improve on the won-loss mark from last winter.

Landon Deutschman, a 5-foot-8 senior, 6-foot sophomore Joe Range, 5-foot-7 junior George Schneider and 5-foot-10 senior Joel Mattingly are back.

Mattingly only played three games before a broken leg ended his season.

He was sorely missed but he is back for his senior year.

Five other players are back who are ready to work for minutes.

Six-foot-one sophomore Noah Lintker, 5-foot-9 sophomore Owen Whitworth, 5-foot-10 sophomore Dylan Boone and 5-foot-10 sophomore Caleb Crider will all be heard from at some point in the season.

The Yellow Jackets are entered in the Christopher Thanksgiving Tournament in the first week of the season so this coach will get a first hand look of how far they have come since last February.

“There are a variety of other sophomores and possibly even freshmen that will have the opportunity to prove their worth in practice throughout the season. We will be a smaller team with the exception of Heintz. I do think we will have some athleticism on this team that should allow us to get after it on the defensive end,” said Coach Widdersheim. “I believe this team has a lot of potential in them and should be able to surprise some teams. However, the players will have to step up their defense, leadership and overall toughness in order to unlock that potential.”

OUTLOOK – The Yellow Jackets don't have much size besides Heintz but they should improve off of a second season with this coach. Their big junior center has a shot at being really good and it the others work to get better as well, this will be a much better season that last.

2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE
N20-25 Christopher Turkey Tournament J19 Dupo

N28

O'Fallon (IL.) First Baptist Academy J26 @ Steeleville
D8 Valmeyer J30 @ Valmeyer
D12 @ Campbell Hill Trico F2 Lebanon
D15 @ Lebanon F6 @ Okawville
D18 @ Dupo F9 @ Marissa-Coulterville
D26-29 Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament F13 Red Bud
J3 Glen Carbon Father McGivney F16 Steeleville
J5 Marissa-Coulterville F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD
J9-13 Chester Invitational Tournament F27-M2 IHSA Sectional TBD