SESSER-VALIER
BY JACK BULLOCK
If you are looking for a blue print on how to get a program geared up for the postseason in boy's basketball, take a page from the Sesser-Valier game plan.

Head coach Shane Garner, a graduate of this fine program in 2002, and his assistants have the right formula for a 1A setup.

When available, strengthen the schedule.

When openings became available to enter into the Benton Invitational Tournament a few seasons back, the Red Devils jumped at the chance.

That week of five games against quality opposition has helped spring this basketball team to an excellent recent postseason mark.

Sesser-Valier finished their season winning 10-of-12 games.

Coach Garner got his team to Peoria in 2014 and they were on a verge of another regional title last season before falling to Black Diamond Conference foe Christopher in the finale at Crab Orchard.

This mentor will have several key components returning for 2017-18 that have a lot of varsity experience.

Lukas Gunter, a 5-foot-11 senior, is a returning starter for the Devils after making several all-tournament and state lists last year.

Six-foot-three junior Tyler Winchester, also raked in accolades last season as he returns as a key starter for S-V.

Coach Garner will also rely on some other players with experience.

Six-foot-two senior captain 6-foot-2 senior Preston Launius is back, after starting the previous three seasons in Maroon and White.

Joshua Gunter, a 6-foot-1 senior, came off the pine last season for Coach Garner. He is a versatile sort who can, like the rest of his teammates, fill different positions on the court.

Addison Page, a 6-foot-3 senior, got extended minutes off the shelf last year and his contributions along with his minutes should increase this year.

After a one-year hiatus, 5-foot-11 senior Peyton Rock, is back for his senior go-around.

Look for junior Seth Boles, a 6-foot-3 forward, to add some size and depth to this talented squad.

“We return a lot of depth from last year's team. We will be around 10 guys deep again this year. We have an extremely hard working group. They have been committed this off season to getting better each and every day. A great group of young men to coach and be around every day,” said Coach Garner.

OUTLOOK – The groundwork is in place for another big season. Having experience and talent, this group should aim high. It should be of no ones surprise if these Red Devils are still suiting up in March.

2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE
N27-D2 Du Quoin "Tip-Off Classic" J15-20 Benton Invitational Tournament

D5

Okawville J26 @ Campbell Hill Trico
D8 @ Chester J27 Vienna
D12 Johnston City J30 Woodlawn
D15 @ Christopher F2 Zeigler-Royalton
D19 @ Vienna F6 @ Waltonville
D26-29 Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament F9 @ Goreville
J6 Campbell Hill Trico F13 Christopher
J9 Goreville F16 Chester
J12 @ Zeigler-Royalton F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD