LOUISVILLE NORTH CLAY
BY JACK BULLOCK
The Cardinals had a lot of fight in them last season but they didn't have a lot of wins to show for it by the end.
Coach Ben Farleigh saw his club limp home 4-23 overall, 2-7 in the Midland Trail Conference before dropping a game in the regional to eventual North Clay 1A Regional champs Edwards County.
North Clay returns three starters and some newcomers as they try to turn things around.
Brandon Repking, a 6-foot senior, netted 8.0 p.p.g. Last season as a junior while 5-foot-8 senior guard Bryce Walker added nine a contest.
Coach Farleigh's third returning starter is Quincy Aldrich, a 5-foot-9 junior guard who tossed in six points a night.
From the reserves last season, Coach Farleigh has six letter winners back.
Six-foot junior Reese Blank got into some important minutes last season while 6-foot junior Kyle McKnelly did the same.
Ditto for 5-foot-7 junior Aleon Rinehart, 5-foot-6 senior Cody Smith and 5-foot-9 senior Chris Linder.
Coach Farleigh (22-55 overall) liked what he saw at the end of the season as the Cardinals were much more competitive.
“While we only won four games last season, we were a completely different team at the end of the year as the beginning. We had two promising wins over Waltonville and Red Hill,” said Coach Farleigh, a Cisne grad from 2007.
North Clay will have some new faces with young kids looking for spots available.
Five-foot-nine sophomore Trey Smith and 5-foot-10 freshman Tyson Jones are on the list along with 5-foot-7 freshman Luke Fleener and 5-foot-8 freshman Ian Bailey.
Despite three graduated seniors to replace, things are looking up at North Clay.
The Cardinals have left the Midland Trail Conference to join the National Trail Conference this season, a big shift in what has become a musical chairs set up among the two conferences since 2007-08.
"We are excited about the challenge of joining the NTC. We want to make a statement right away," added Coach Farleigh. “Bryce Walker, Brandon, and Quincy all have started at least two years for us. We will be relying on them to lead us every night. This group has a different feel to it than any of our other 3 teams. I believe they will surprise some people. These kids are tired of losing. They want to win and want to win now. I believe we have the talent to do that. I'm as excited for the season as I've ever been!"
2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE

D1

Sandoval J9 Martinsville
D5 St. Elmo-Brownstown J16 @ Windsor-Stewardson-Strasburg
D8 @ Newton J19 Oblong
D9-16 Wayne City Holiday Tournament J22-27 NTC Tournament @ Altamont
D15 Altamont J30 Neoga
D19 @ Cisne F2 Dieterich
D26-28 Dieterich Holiday Tournament F10 LOVC/NTC Shootout @ Cumberland
J2 @ Effingham St. Anthony F13 Wayne City
J5 Cowden-Herrick-Beecher City F16 @ Farina South Central
J6 Effingham St. Anthony Shootout F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD