PATOKA
BY JACK BULLOCK
The biggest surprise of the basketball season in 2015-16 was the post-season run of the Patoka Warriors.
Basically coming from out of no where, Coach Joe Eddy's club was lightly regarded heading into the St. Elmo 1A Regional, with top-seed and state-ranked Altamont the heavy favorite.
But Patoka played their best basketball of the season in a two and a half week span, which added a third-consecutive regional championship and the school's first ever sectional title after taking care of Altamont, Edwards County and Effingham St. Anthony to reach the Carbondale 1A Supersectional.
The bubble burst at the hands of Woodlawn at SIU Arena but the memories will live on.
Coach Eddy is the one who is still smiling, as his top two scorers return from that team that went 24-12 overall.
Pretty good for a school with just 67 kids.
Jered Cain, a 6-foot-1 senior guard/forward, has already topped 2,000-career points and will add to the legend this season for Patoka.
His 25.2 points a game average from last season will likely stay in that range for another year.
His running mate in this election year is 6-foot-5 senior forward Garrett Belcher, who nearly averaged a double-double last season in points and rebounds (15.2 points, 9.6 rebounds) a game. He is closing in on 1,000-career points.
Those two will not be able to sneak up on anyone this season.
Six-foot-four senior Jordan Cobb returns to provide size in the frontcourt for the Warriors while 6-foot-1 senior Bailey O'Brien came in and did a lot of good things last season as a reserve.
Those two will have expanded purpose in the Patoka plan this winter.
Skylar Webb is a transfer from Salem who could help out while 5-foot-11 senior Joey Spurgeon will be in the mix.
Mark Herrin is a senior who didn't play last year, is back for Patoka.
Five-foot-eleven junior Kolten Walker will add to the depth.
Coach Eddy mentioned three other players who could step in; Colton Hill, Hunter Jolliff and Ty Cain.
Cain is the brother of Shane Cain, a senior on last season's club.
“We return a lot of offense from the previous year, but what keyed our post season run was defense, rebounding, and getting timely shots from role players,” said Coach Eddy, who should reach 200-wins this season. “We are learning some new roles this year and I think we will have some early season jitters. This group comes to work everyday and has thrived off the competition we are getting in practice. If we can get our defense settled in I think we can make another run.”
2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE
N20-25 Mulberry Grove Turkey Tournament J12 St. Elmo-Brownstown

N28

@ Odin J19 Altamont
D1 @ Louisville North Clay J23 Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran
D2 Farina South Central F2 @ Sandoval
D5 Mulberry Grove F6 @ Cowden-Herrick-Beecher City
D9 OPEN DATE F9 Ramsey
D26-29 Vandalia Holiday Tournament F13 @ Webber Township
J2 @ Cisne F16 Dieterich
J5 Wayne City F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD