OLNEY RICHLAND
BY JACK BULLOCK
The Olney Richland Tigers are now just that, Richland.
Formerly known as East Richland for years because of the school district that was in the same county in Noble, which was West of Olney in the western side of the county, was known as Noble West Richland.
Nevertheless, the Tigers are still the Tigers.
Coach Rob Flanagan has coached a lot of games at this program and he has won 437-games in his tenure at the school and 558-games total in 27-years coaching.
A Mt. Vernon graduate and native of southern Illinois, he has had a lot of Orange and Black in his lifetime.
His Tigers face a tough road every year since an enrollment spike a few years ago sent Olney up to 3A boy's basketball status.
The mission is to always win ball games but it makes it very difficult to do so when the opposition has more enrollment to chose from.
However as things would have it, that spike in enrollment will eventually help as the schools in the area are not so big to them after all.
The school sits at 729-students, which is sort of an anomaly in this state of shrinking population.
As for the program and team, there are some kids back from a battle-tested 15-14 club in 2015-16.
The Tigers fell to Effingham, 73-55 in the 3A Regional at Mattoon.
With just one starter back and only two players returning over 6-foot tall, the Tigers are going to need a supreme effort to hang with this tough schedule.
The lone returning starter is 5-foot-8 senior guard Gage Miller.
In fact the top six are all senior classmates.
Five-foot-nine guard Trey Puckett will likely get a crack at the starting lineup the first weekend of the season at the Lawrence County Capital Classic.
Luke Lambird is also a 5-foot-9 senior guard as well as 5-foot-9 guard Dalton Mitchell.
Six-foot senior Trevor Dobbs and 6-foot-1 senior Dylan Klingler round out the top six slots on the Olney roster.
“We will play as hard as anyone. Very guard oriented with not much post presence. We have some experience back but not a lot of scoring,” said Coach Flanagan. “We will be better as the year goes along. Our schedule will be a mix of 3A-2A-1A teams and will be a good challenge for us.”
2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE
N24-25 Lawrence Co. "Capital Classic" J12 @ Flora

D1

Robinson J16 Casey-Westfield
D8 @ Bridgeport Red Hill J19-26 LIC Tournament @ Bridgeport
D9 Fairfield J30 Grayville
D15 Paris F2 Lawrenceville
D16 @ Mt. Carmel F6 @ Effingham
D22 Breese Mater Dei F9 @ Newton
D29-30 Pinckneyville "Duster Thomas Classic" F13 @ Salem
J5 @ Marshall F20 Mattoon
J6 Effingham St. Anthony Shootout F26-M2 IHSA Regional TBD