THOMPSONVILLE
BY JACK BULLOCK
If you are looking for the happiest head coach in the Greater Egyptian Conference, you should head over to Thompsonville sometime and meet Coach Pete Gordon.

After taking over a program that went 0-25 in his first season, the Tigers have improved each year and have a lot of talented kids ready to perhaps take another step forward.

It is nice to see hard work paying off and the Tigers fortunes could take another big step forward this season in the conference and in the tournaments that they play in.

Thompsonville finished 7-18 last season, 1-6 in the conference and lasted just one game in the postseason, losing to eventual sectional winner Woodlawn at the 1A Wayne City Regional.

Coach Gordon will have what looks like a deep team with talent up and down the roster as they head into the Christopher Thanksgiving Tournament the first week of the campaign.

Beginning with the returning players from last season, sophomore guard Corbin Fitch, a 6-foot-1 junior.

Fitch was a starter on the club last season as a freshman and he will be in place on the floor in the backcourt for the Tigers. According to his coach, Fitch is a pure shooter with defensive skills that have improved in all facets of his game.

Six-foot-seven junior Anthony Darge is probably the tallest player in the Greater Egyptian Conference and he could be a huge factor for Thompsonville against non-conference opposition. He looks like he is ready for a breakout season.

Tyson Kessler, a 5-foot-10 guard, is also experienced and he has the makings of a top notch floor general, making sure the get the ball to the right people.

Six-foot-five junior Reed Raubach is another of the juniors that have improved since last season for Coach Gordon. He will add to the height advantage the Tigers will have over a lot of their opponents this year.

According to Coach Gordon, he and his staff have many options for a fifth starter with several candidates for the spot and also as top reserves.

He mentioned seniors Jacob Dixon and Zack Kirkman as probables.

Dixon is a 6-foot-4 forward that could help form a very large front court for Thompsonville.

On the other hand, the 5-foot-9 guard Kirkman could make the Tigers tough to cover around the arc.

Either way, Thompsonville will be a bothersome foe for anyone in the league.

The Tigers also have a 5-foot-8 senior Peyton Roberts, a transfer from Benton, who could see playing time in the backcourt for Thompsonville.
Another transfer back to the program is 6-foot-5 sophomore Bryson Chullen, who left Thompsonville after his seventh grade year and moved to Texas. He is back and he has grown six inches in height.

Five-foot-eleven junior Trey Bybell is another guard that Coach Gordon can use in many different slots in the backcourt scheme.

Freshman Grady Furlow, a 6-foot guard, will add even more depth to a deep Tigers' backcourt.

Aidan Ramsey, Seth Clark, and Tristen Haskins will likely round out the Thompsonville roster.

“To think, we were 0-25 just three seasons ago and to think how far we have come, needless to say we are excited for the 2017-2018 season,” said Coach Gordon. “Talking about about 20-win seasons, competing for conference titles, and tournament titles all seemed very unrealistic three years ago. But times have changed and now those are words we are using when talking about goals for the upcoming season. We will be very balanced this year. I feel we can go 10 deep and not drop off skill wise. We have kids that could go for 20+ points on any given night and it be a totally different group the next night. We will play fast and push tempo. We will be at are best pressuring the ball and creating high possession games. We will look for our defense to jump start our offense. Kessler and Darge have 50-plus varsity games under their belts and it’s time for them to elevate their games. Fitch is one of the most talented scorers I have ever coached and may find himself being one of southern Illinois’ leading scorers. Raubach is poised to contribute with his 3-point shooting. Add in our transfers and the maturing of our other role players, the sky truly is the limit.”

OUTLOOK – Optimism is a good thing and the folks in Thompsonville should be pumped. They have the makings of a very good 1A team. They have size in the frontcourt and wealth of backcourt players that look very interchangeable. Coach Gordon has done a great job of putting this all together. They are one of the favorites to win this league title and they could be in the conversation for perhaps the school's first ever regional title in boy's basketball. ABV likes the Tigers chances of reaching that 20-win mark.

2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE
N20-25 Christopher Turkey Tournament J13 Meridian MLK Shootout

N28

@ Golconda Pope County J16 Marion Crab Orchard
D1 @ Norris City-Omaha-Enfield J22-27 GEC Tournament @ SIC
D5 Carrier Mills-Stonefort J30 @ Marion Crab Orchard
D8 Bluford Webber Township F3 Joppa-Maple Grove
D16 Elkville Elverado F6 @ Junction Gallatin County
D19 @ Ullin Century F13 @ Galatia
D26-29 Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament F16 Norris City-Omaha-Enfield
J2 Galatia F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD
J5 @ Elizabethtown Hardin County F27-M2 IHSA Sectional TBD