By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
The Joplin High School boys basketball team will face a familiar opponent tonight in opening its campaign in the 66th annual Carthage Tournament.
Joplin, seeded second, and Springfield Central are scheduled to tangle at 6.
Game 2 to wind up the first round is third-seeded Rogers Heritage vs. Nevada at 7:30.
“We’ve had 20 practices. It’s time to go play a bit,” Eagle coach Jeff Williams said on Monday night.
“Scoring, at this point, could be an issue,” Williams said. “But hopefully we’ll see about all those things in the three games at Carthage.”
Williams said the Eagles will be led by 6-foot junior Charlie Brown. He was an all-Ozark Conference selection as a sophomore and, in Monday’s Springfield News-Leader, was a member of its five-player American Family Insurance Preseason All-Ozarks Team. He averaged nearly 20 points last season.
Williams also plans to start 6-0 junior Keondre Adams, 6-1 junior Malachai Poling, 6-4 senior Abe Hueller and 6-4 senior Adam St. Peter against Central.
St. Peter averaged nearly 10 points and was the Eagles’ top rebounder with an average of five in 2011-12, Williams said.
The health of two seniors has Williams concerned. Daniel Stokes, 6-3 senior coming off an ACL tear, apparently has suffered a partial tear. Classmate Gabe Sachetta (6-2) has been sidelined with mono.
“I believe Daniel (Stokes) played just eight games last season,” Williams said. “He really wants to play. We’ll check today, of course, with the trainer before giving him the green light. We’re unsure when Gabe (Sachetta) will return.”
Williams, who’s assisted by Jeff Hafer, Matt Crane, Arnaldo Febres and Jim Graffam, said seven more Eagles could receive playing time.
They are 6-1 senior Connor McCord, 6-3 senior Andrew Swadley, 5-9 senior Axel Vene, 6-3 senior Tucker Wallace, 5-11 junior Chase Hall. 6-5 junior Dillon McVay and 6-5 junior Spencer Layne.
Williams said that McCord and Vene might serve as the current top substitutes at guard. Wallace will rotate with Hueller and St. Peter.
“Wallace easily could start,” Williams said. “He brings a lot of energy. It wouldn’t surprise me if he led us in rebounding and grabbing loose balls. Also, he’s a strong defensive player.
“We’ve been emphasizing securing good shots (in practices),” Williams said. “We’ll probably see full-court pressure during the tournament (Carthage). We can extend some pressure ourselves with the right combination.
“These kids make our job easy,” Williams said. “They will play hard and give us their all.”