BY JACK BULLOCK
The South County Vipers is a cooperative set up between the schools Franklin and Waverly south of Springfield.

Head coach Bryon Graven is a native of Auburn where he played for his father and his senior year he helped lead his team to Peoria in 2003.

Graven also had coaching stints at Norris City-Omaha-Enfield and Mount Zion before moving closer to home to take over this program.

He acquires a team that went 14-16 overall and were eliminated in the regional last season at 1A New Berlin by the host Pretzels, 39-25.

Coach Graven has some experience heading into the campaign with four returning starters.

Two of them are seniors; 6-foot-2 Jackson Smith and 6-foot Brenton Duffie.

The other three returning starters are juniors.

Grant Marshall, a 5-foot-6 junior guard along with 5-foot-10 Luke Schumaker and 5-foot-10 Seger Brown round out an experienced group of returnees.

Six-foot-two sophomore Matthew Crow is one of the top reserves as well as 6-foot-4 junior Will Ross and 5-foot-8 Joey McAfee.

Another player for the Vipers, 6-foot-2 junior Bryce Rickert, is currently injured (shoulder) and unavailable.

“We believe we have depth we can utilize in order to play at our pace. We had a very good summer. All the kids have bought into playing defense, and the mentality of 'not guarding equals not playing.' I am excited to have the opportunity to be in communities that love the game of basketball as much as Waverly and Franklin do. Our team this season will focus on guarding and rebounding as hard as possible for 32 minutes. If we can do that, our offense will take care of itself,” said Coach Graven, who is approaching 200 career wins. “Personally, I am excited to be a part of the Waverly Holiday Tournament again. It is one of the most unique holiday tournaments in the state. The atmosphere, tradition, and the gym are a few things that make it so unique.”

OUTLOOK – This is the kind of team that once everyone gets to know what is expected of them could do some very special things at the end of the season. They are a member of a pretty good conference (MSM) and some tournaments that will feature some really good programs. The Vipers could be heard from in the postseason in the area of the Jacksonville Supersectional.

N25-30 New Berlin Turkey Tournament
Enrollment: 190 (1A)
D3 Pleasant Plans
Conference: MSM
D6 @ New Berlin
Colors: Orange/Black
D10 Edinburg/South Fork
Head Coach: Bryon Graven
D13 @ Jacksonville Routt
2018-19 Won/Loss Record: 14-16
D17 @ Greenfield
State Tournament Result:
D20 Morrisonville/Lincolnwood
Lost to New Berlin, 39-25
D21 Jacksonville Shootout
1A New Berlin Regional.
D26-30 Waverly Holiday Tournament
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J7 Carrollton
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J10 @ Sangamon Valley
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J14 Gillespie
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J17 Mount Olive @ Waverly
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J21 Pawnee
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J24 Springfield Calvary @ Waverly 1
J31 @ Auburn
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F4 North Mac @ Waverly
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F7 @ Buffalo Tri-City
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F12 Griggsville-Perry
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F15 Riverton Shootout
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F18 @ Springfield Lutheran
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F21 @ Concord Triopia
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F24-28 IHSA Regional TBD
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