Multiple Teams · Boys Basketball Preview

By Anthony Vence

The Clinton Prairie Gophers return most of their roster from last season after losing one player to graduation last year.

The Gophers went 7-13 (2-3 in conference) last season, losing to Carroll in the opening round of sectional play.

“We lost about five or six games within one point or in overtime or double overtime,” head coach Ryne Smith said of last season. “I think just having that experience is going to help us this year.”

This year’s team features several returning players, including center Doug Coapstick and guard Merrick McGraw.

“Those two guys are going to be our seniors and kind of the cornerstone of what we do and the vocal leaders of every day in practice and in games,” Smith said.

Junior forward Kale Morris is another returning player from last season.

“[Morris] averaged around 16 points as a sophomore last year, so he’s going to have to be a big part of our offense,” Smith said. “I think that opposing teams are going to know that, so he’s going to have to step it up a little bit this year.”

Smith said his team’s depth will push players to work hard in practice, which will translate to competitive play on game nights.

“Competitiveness in practice is going to be a huge thing,” he said. “Guys are going to be competing for minutes in the games, and I think that’s really going to help us.”

Clinton Prairie will host Benton Central for a scrimmage Nov. 20 before opening the regular season at home against Frankfort Nov. 26.