NEW ATHENS
BY JACK BULLOCK
Long time fans of the Yellow Jackets program will now have a new head coach on the sidelines as Marc Derwort stepped down after last season.
Coach Derwort had a pretty nice run at the school against a lot of odds with a school who has been enrollment challenged for a long time (128-113 in nine seasons).
Conrad Widdersheim takes over after working his way up the ladder in the school district.
After serving as junior high basketball coach for three seasons, Widdersheim served as the junior varsity boy's coach under Derwort and took over after his departure.
If the name Widdersheim sounds familiar to the northern ABV area fans, you might remember him as a play for Stewardson-Strasburg a few seasons ago as he played three seasons of varsity basketball for the Comets of the National Trail Conference (2007 grad).
He takes over a program that slumped last season to just 6-20, 3-7 in the Kaskaskia Division of the Cahokia Conference before losing to Lovejoy in the regional last February.
With just two seniors to replace, the majority of the kids that played last season return for 2016-17.
Jaxon Heintz, a 6-foot-6 junior, should provide some size once again.
He was a bright spot last season, averaging 11.1 points and 6.3 rebounds.
Coach Widdersheim mentioned five seniors returning, which is a good place to start the reconstructing project.
Six-foot senior Theo Dudeck (6.1 p.p.g.) returns as well as 6-foot-3 senior Justin Ruff (4.9 p.p.g.) for the Yellow Jackets.
Trent Marhanka, a 6-foot senior, averaged 2.5 points per game while 6-foot-3 senior Nate Curry added 3.3 p.p.g.
Add the name Noel Ivester, a 6-foot-2 senior (2.7 p.p.g.), to the list.
Coach W expects some addition players will play big roles this year.
Ian Matzenbacher, a 6-foot junior, 5-foot-8 junior Landon Deutschman, 5-foot-10 Joel Mattingly and 5-foot-7 sophomore George Schneider will all be under consideration.
“Our team has a lot of experience from last year. They took some bumps and bruises last year, but I think that will only make them tougher and stronger for this year. We have a big group of seniors that are excited and very eager to begin the season,” said Coach Widdersheim. “I think our combination of size and perimeter shooting is going to allow us to do a lot of things. I look forward to watching the continued improvement of our big man Jaxon Heintz. He was receiving a lot of attention from our opponents by the end of the season last year and he is continuing to make big strides on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.”
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