WINDSOR-STEW-STRAS
BY JACK BULLOCK
The era of the Hatchets began last season with a 13-13 record, which wasn't too bad for a group of rival kids getting used to playing with each other instead of against each other.
The cooperative chose its name from the rivalries reward for winning the annual boy's basketball game between the two schools who were rivals by proximity.
Windsor-Stewardson-Strasburg (or WSS) worked pretty well last season and this should be even better in 2016-17.
The Hatchets lost to South Central at the St. Elmo 1A Regional last season for head coach Cody McCollum.
Duty number one for this coach this season is to replace four starters from that team.
Tristan Warner was a four-year starter, three at Windsor and his senior season in the coop.
Mitch Haddock, Teddy Kessler and Chandler Ballinger were the other three starters that have graduated.
Josh Overbeck, a 6-foot senior forward, returns.
After Overbeck, it is anyone's guess who will be in the opening night lineup for the Hatchets as they will travel to the Cero Gordo Thanksgiving Tournament to begin the season.
Coach McCollum felt going in that the seniors would have to lead by example this season and he has three hold overs from last season's roster.
Besides Overbeck, WSS will look to 5-foot-11 senior Blake Nichols, 6-foot Nicholas Hutchinson and 6-foot-2 Luke Gilbert to step up to replace the ones who have left.
“Being the first year of the coop last year, it was very interesting watching two schools come together and compete on the same team. We were able to finish fourth in the Tri-County Holiday Tournament and continued to grow as a team throughout the year,” said Coach McCollum. “This year's team is only returning one starter due to losing the others to graduation. With that being say, I had many players that came off the bench last year who played very important minutes at the end of games that will greatly contribute this year. It is hard to say who is going to be the leader on the team. We have many guys that potentially could step up on any given night and provide the spark that is needed to be a good ball team. My hope is that I can rely on my few seniors to be leaders out on the floor and contribute to this year's success.”
2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE
N20-25 Cerro Gordo Thanksgiving Tournament J16 Louisville North Clay @ Stew-Stras

D1

Dieterich @ Stew-Stras J19 Effingham St. Anthony
D5 @ Arcola J22-27 NTC Tournament @ Altamont
D8 Shelbyville F2 @ Mulberry Grove
D19 Bethany Okaw Valley F6 @ Pana
D26-28 Kansas/Tri-County Holiday Tournament F9 Cowden-Herrick-Beecher City @ S-S
J2 @ Neoga F10 NTC/LOVC Shootout @ Cumberland
J5 @ St. Elmo-Brownstown F13 @ Sullivan
J9 Farina South Central F16 @ Altamont
J12 @ Ramsey F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD