THOMPSONVILLE
BY JACK BULLOCK
There is some serious optimism in Thompsonville about its boy's basketball team this season as the Tigers and head coach Pete Gordon are working themselves into a pretty good small school program.
Inheriting a program that hadn't won many games in recent seasons, Thompsonville made some headway last season, picking up a handful of victories (9-18 overall) and have some kids back who are excited about wearing the uniform.
But considering the season before didn't produce a varsity victory, nine wins seemed like 20.
Coach Gordon believes this is his best time he has had since he came here two seasons ago.
Thompsonville returns four starters and a bevy of new kids to chose from for a fifth spot and the reserve unit.
The four starters from last season are 6-foot-1 senior guard Jared Payne who is a veteran of varsity play.
The same can be said for 5-foot-1o senior guard Cory Wilce as both of these guards have been around the block with over 50 games started by both.
Tyson Kessler, a 5-foot-9 sophomore guard started last year as a freshman, as did 6-foot-6 sophomore Anthony Darge.
This is where the fun begins; preseason practice to find the fifth starters.
But in the case of most small schools that have good numbers out, it doesn't make as much difference about who starts as it does who finishes.
Two of the players in the running are 6-foot-4; junior forward Jake Dixon and sophomore forward Reed Raubach.
One senior guard, 6-foot Noah Summers, and 6-foot-1 freshman guard Corbin Fitch are listed along with 5-foot-9 sophomore guard Trey Bybee.
Zack Kirkman, a 5-foot-10 junior guard, 6-foot sophomore Tyler Jones and 6-foot junior Trenton Cardwell round out a pretty good group of kids looking for some improvement.
Thompsonville lost in the first round of the 1A Crab Orchard Regional last season but they had some highlights.
They went 2-2 at the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament, reaching the consolation title game in their first year in the event.
They will open their season at the Christopher Thanksgiving Tournament on Monday night against Webber Township.
“This team has the potential to flip their record and turn 9-18 into 18-9. We lost so many close games last year, I'm hoping our experience will show up in this years close games and we find ourselves on the winning end,” said Coach Gordon. “Defense will have to remain our focus, but we are going to hopefully lean on our experienced guard play and shoot more 3 pointers this year. I would like us to play more of an uptempo style but we will have to rebound the basketball to be able to play that way. I feel like I won't have to coach as much in terms of X and O's because we are returning some good experience. I want this years team to have the freedom to execute and score. Just play basketball.”
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