The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 21, 2012

Cougars have veterans, but little experience

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

— Six veterans return to lead the College Heights Christian School boys basketball team.

But the Cougars don’t return a single starter from a 7-19 edition that finished 1-8 in the Spring River Valley Conference.

“We have some young talent,” Cougar coach Eric Johnson said after Wednesday’s practice. “They don’t have game experience. Some of our lettermen saw limited varsity time last season.

“They’re learning. They’re learning to play together and they’re learning to play hard,” Johnson said. “Our young talent needs games.

“We have maybe eight or nine players who can help on the varsity level,” Johnson said. “We’re quicker than last season. But we don’t have an abundance of size.

“Defensive ability and rebounding could be weaknesses,” Johnson said.

The lettermen include three seniors in 5-foot-10 Joe Sherwood, 6-0 Caleb Stratton and 6-0 Dagen Worthington.

Completing the lettermen are 6-0 junior Ryan Beaver, 6-0 sophomore Jake Hamilton and 6-3 sophomore Josh Woodmansee.

“Woodmansee, Beaver and Worthington probably had the most varsity minutes last season (among the returnees),” Johnson said. “The three seniors need to provide leadership.”

The current roster is rounded out by 6-1 sophomore Ben Chaffee, 5-10 sophomores Tyler Melton and Hudson Sherwood (Joe’s brother) and 5-8 freshman Luke Cummins.

Johnson, a member of the Missouri Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame (primarily from his work at Webb City High School), is in his third season at CHC. He’s assisted by Colin New.

The Cougars open their season at 6 p.m. Monday against No. 1 seed Billings in the Lockwood Dennis Cornish Classic.