2020-21 Wintertime Preview: Kickapoo Boys Basketball

By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)

There could not be a software in Missouri with much more strain than Kickapoo. And, there could not be a roster and coaching workers a lot more geared up to tackle that force than Kickapoo.

Getting into Mitch McHenry’s fourth season primary the Chiefs, coming off of the program’s third Remaining Four appearance because 2016, Kickapoo is hungry to end what was taken from them very last spring.

The Chiefs sophisticated to the Course 5 Remaining Four just before the period was suspended owing to COVID-19. Kickapoo had just drilled 24-3 – and defending Class 5 point out winner Rock Bridge – as component of a stretch that noticed them earn 11 of their very last 12 online games getting into the semifinal matchup with CBC.

“We are hoping our group goes into the year hungry and decided after owning their period finished early very last yr,” reported McHenry. “Our team continue to has a lot to confirm and they want to complete, and I think that will be on exhibit this period. One of the most fulfilling aspects of coaching is when your team performs their greatest basketball at the finish of the time in the major games and that is what we ended up accomplishing.”

Kickapoo has not received a state championship because 2006, but a case can be produced that this is the program’s most proficient roster since that year.

It all starts with the state’s most effective returning backcourt in Mizzou dedicate and Mr. Demonstrate-Me Basketball candidate Anton Brookshire and fellow senior Cameron Liggins.

Brookshire is a four-year starter coming off a year that observed him common 20.4 details, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists. Liggins extra 14.3 points and 6.2 rebounds, but exploded for 57 factors in Kickapoo’s two condition playoff wins. Liggins, who programs to reclassify to be a part of the 2022 course, already retains an supply from Division A single plan Western Illinois.

“Anton possesses a excellent basketball IQ,” claimed McHenry. “He generally knows his job but also directs his teammates on the flooring and will get them exactly where they are intended to be also, which is essential as a point guard. He has been the heartbeat of our application the past three several years and that will carry on going into his senior year. He has improved his all-all-around game each year and I feel this year his general skill will be on exhibit once again with his potential to make his teammates much better.

“Cam will enjoy a major role for us this time. He was a big difference maker for our application through our postseason operate last year. He is a single of the best rebounding guards I have coached and has the means to get very hot and score factors in a small amount of money of time. He has the capability to impact the recreation on both sides of the floor with his athleticism.”

Brookshire and Liggins are the lone returning starters for Kickapoo, but they’ll be joined by a pair of fast impact skills in Mizzou dedicate Trevon Brazile and Missouri State commit Isaac Haney.

The two would’ve been Mr. Show-Me Basketball candidates on their past squads, but now sort one of the most highly-touted quartets SPS has ever witnessed. Haney was on rate to go down as one of the state’s most prolific scorers at any time. The 6-foot-2 combo guard averaged 31 factors and 4.4 rebounds, knocking down 114 3-stage FG as a junior. He has approximately 2,500 occupation points entering his senior calendar year. Brazile averaged 11.2 details, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. The 6-foot-8 combo ahead had a monster summer months, which aided raise his recruitment.

“Isaac is a fierce competitor and a winner,” said McHenry. “He is perfectly-acknowledged for his capacity to rating, but he is a total participant on each sides of the flooring. He performs with a significant basketball IQ that will be on screen his senior calendar year. Trevon is one of the top athletes in the condition. He plays over the rim and is continuing to make improvements to his scoring and engage in generating abilities. Has the opportunity to typical a double-double for the duration of this year year, and affect the activity on the two offense and defense.”

Seniors Mitchell Kellogg and Kooper Carlson, as effectively as Michael Lemetyuynen will also be rotational players. Kellogg is a glue participant with a superior motor, Carlson is a guard that is slick with the ball in his palms and Lemetyuynen is a knockdown shooter. Juniors Carson Noel and Andrew Robinson, as nicely as standout sophomores Harrison Doennig and Zaide Lowery, will also compete for rotational minutes. Doennig and Lowery have confirmed by themselves as two of the leading sophomores in Missouri.

Kickapoo is accustomed to taking part in with a bullseye on its back again calendar year in and year out that’s the selling price you pay when you have gained at minimum 20 game titles in nine of the final 10 seasons, with six district titles and 3 Ultimate Fours. But, the focus on they’ll have this period may well experience a minor unique since no nearby group has received a championship in the major course in far more than a 10 years.

The Chiefs will all over again be in the Bass Professional Tournament of Champions and the beloved to not only get Ozark Conference and district championships, but the expectation is they’ll be again in the Remaining 4. With so significantly expertise and only just one ball, the strategy is that Kickapoo may perhaps battle with chemistry concerns. But the reality is that they’ve presently been participating in together for many years.

There will be some hurdles to Kickapoo optimizing its potential, but chemistry is not probably to be one.

“We have a team that is competitive and desires to earn,” claimed McHenry. “Many individuals see them as really superior players and scorers and immediately believe they are egocentric or just cannot enjoy together due to the fact they are worried about their individual stats and that is the furthest matter from the reality. They have pleasurable all over every single other, push just about every other, and want to get. They will put an interesting brand name of basketball on the ground.

“I assume a essential this time for all teams will be managing adversity and alter. We will enter the wintertime with a large amount of unfamiliar and a large amount of aspects that could affect the time that we have no command more than. Our focus will be on our crew and obtaining greater just about every day. Each individual activity is a obstacle and any group can earn in our convention on a presented evening if you do not convey your activity. The starvation to get improved every single day and the require to dominate. It is practically impossible at our degree to win large game titles or make a run in the postseason if you just can’t deliver an intensity or focus to get much better each working day and just about every sport. If we are equipped to do these things, I imagine our team will have an chance to get some of these large video games.”

Kickapoo will open the 2020-21 year on Dec. 3 at the Willard Basketball Vintage.