VANDALIA
BY JACK BULLOCK
Avoiding the normal cliches, Vandalia didn't steal many victories last season.
The ones they got they earned.
Head coach Brian Buscher has done a pretty good job all things considered.
He took over a program a few years ago that couldn't 'buy or steal' a win and they have moved up some on the respect meter.
Like most teams, they want to be playing their best basketball in the final month and Vandalia did improve by the end, winning 7-of-10 down the stretch.
Shelbyville eliminated the Vandals at the Teutopolis 2A Regional Tournament to finish 10-19 overall.
With zero seniors on the roster last season, Coach Buscher has the same group back for 2016-17.
ABV 2A All-South Special Mention Richie Well is back for his senior season.
He is another of the players that is nearing the 1,000-point mark as this 6-foot-1 guard/forward has put together a pretty good career at VHS.
He will have help again this season as everyone is back except for one player out for the year.
James Taylor, a 5-foot-11 junior forward, got hurt in football and is done for the season.
Nathan Casey, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, will also return to the starting backcourt.
Coach Buscher added the names Kain DuFaux, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, 5-foot-10 junior guard Garett McNary and 6-foot senior Kelly Jones to the list of also eligible to start.
Marcus Zimmerman, a 5-foot-11 junior guard, 5-foot-10 senior Preston Ruckman and 6-foot-3 Dakota Graham are in the chase.
It is apparent that Vandalia is going to have some real depth as Coach Buscher mentioned six other kids who will be important.
Six-foot-four junior forward Ethan Bayles, 6-foot-1 Ethan Ferguson, 5-foot-10 junior Scott Shulman, 5-foot-9 sophomore gurad Blake Morrison, 5-foot-8 sophomore guard Trevor Smalls and 5-foot-10 sophomore guard Blake Barth will make up a huge rotation of players if Coach Buscher chooses to do so.
“I think we should be in the mix of teams that have a chance to win our conference, but that being said I think are conference will be pretty strong this year,” said Coach Buscher. “We have a good groups of seniors, juniors and sophomores and freshman. Even though we have everyone back from last year and a couple people coming back who didn't play last year, every team is different. Our kids are another year older, but we have find the chemistry that we had at the end of last year, and build on that for this year.”
2016-17 VARSITY SCHEDULE
D1 @ Altamont J6 @ Pinckneyville

D2

@ Litchfield J8-13 Morrisonville Mohawk Invitational
D5 Farina South Central J19 @ Marion Crab Orchard
D8 Gillespie J30 Pana
D9 Carlyle F2 @ Staunton
D12-16 St. Elmo Holiday Tournament F3 Trenton-Wesclin
D19 Hillsboro F9 Piasa Southwestern
D22 @ Greenville F13 @ Roxana
D26-29 Vandalia Holiday Tournament F16 Carlinville
J5 East Alton-Wood River F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD