PIASA SOUTHWESTERN

BY JACK BULLOCK
Coach Jason Darr is forever an optimist and he is once again ready for a season full of wars with a very good schedule and a quality slate of SCC games.

The Birds always seem to have a good scorer and this year Justin Bailey, a 5-foot-10 senior guard, is nearing 1,000-career points after averaging 12 points a night as a junior.

He helped lead Piasa Southwestern to the South Central Conference championship as they went 8-1 in the league and 19-10 overall.

Nashville eliminated them in the regional finale at Carlinville.

Bailey is a playmaker that has played a lot of games in those Green and Gold uniforms and another stellar season will help these Birds be in the hunt for a conference crown.

Coach Darr mentioned 6-foot-3 senior guard Caden Heyen was the top assist man for the his club in 2016-17.

He is also the top defender who usually gets assigned the other team's top guard.

Five-foot-ten senior guard Caleb Robinson was a 40 percent 3-point bomber last winter while also helping out on the defensive end of the floor.

It never hurts to have a kid that can play bigger than his height and that is the case with 6-foot-1 senior Ben Lowis.

He plays in the post area and holds his own, according to Coach Darr.

The junior class has EJ Kahl, a junior guard, along with forwards Carter Moore and Ryne Hanslow.

Coach Darr mentioned one sophomore, guard Kyler Seyfried, who could find a lot of varsity minutes in his future.

This mentor has strengthened the varsity schedule over the past few seasons and this year is no exception with 3A teams Breese Mater Dei and Jerseyville along with a trip to the State Farm Classic in Bloomington during Christmas break.

“I think we will be able to look at two stats at the end of every game and know if we were successful or not. Did we take good quality shots, and did we out rebound our opponent. We can score and defend, but if we get beat on the boards it could be a long year for the Birds,” said Coach Darr, who will pass 100-wins this season. “These kids work as hard as any that I have had. They play hard and execute at a high level. This team is a very efficient group of players and they have an opportunity to defend a conference championship, county title, and have success in the postseason.”

OUTLOOK – They look like the slight favorite over Greenville in what should be an interesting race for the league championship. Coach Darr should get the most out of this group and Bailey could have a monster season. The coach is right, rebounding with not a lot of size up front could be a problem. But fundamentals and hard work can overcome much of those issues. ABV likes their chances to win the SCC title.

2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE
N20-25 Metro-East Lutheran Turkey Tournament J12 Greenville

N28

Carrollton J15-20 Macoupin County Tournament
D5 @ Litchfield J23 @ Gillespie
D8 Carlinville J30 East Alton-Wood River
D12 Staunton F2 @ White Hall-North Greene
D15 Breese Mater Dei F6 @ Roxana
D19 Brussels F9 @ Vandalia
D26-29 State Farm Classic - Bloomington F13 Hillsboro
J5 @ Bunker Hill F16 @ Pana
J9 Jerseyville F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD