New Franklin boys basketball coach Ross Dobson said before the season even started last year, the team made three goals: compete and work hard every day in practice, win conference and districts, and have fun.
Reflecting back on the season, Dobson said he was proud that the players worked hard and pushed each other every day.
As for the conference, the Bulldogs wound up winning the Central Activities Conference and finished as runner up in the district tournament while losing to top-seeded Sedalia Sacred Heart.
As for the 2018-19 season with three starters back, Dobson said he is overly excited to begin his second season as head coach.
“We have six returners that have experience and have been through some big games and have 12 underclassmen that are ready to compete in the big games,” Dobson said. “The conference race is once again wide open and will have multiple teams capable of winning conference. Every conference game will be a key matchup, due to our conference having two divisions and we will only face the northern schools once this year. We will need to be ready every night and won’t be able to take nights off.”
The Bulldogs took few nights off last year on their way to a 20-8 season and 11-1 mark in the CAC.
Of course to get back to where they were last year, Dobson must replace two all-conference players in Mason Bailey and Bailey Lyons, who averaged 12 ppg and 6-8 rpg in 2017-18.
One such player that Dobson will be counting on this season is senior Kolby Anson. Anson, who came off the bench last year for the Bulldogs, said he feels this season the team can do great things. “We have a lot of talent across the board,” Anson said. “I think we can play with any team in our conference. I’m really looking forward to this season.”
While averaging 48 ppg last year along with 30.6 rpg, New Franklin also finished the season shooting 37.7 percent from the field and 60 percent from the foul line. The Bulldogs also converted on 94 three-point attempts in 2017-18 for 31 percentage and finished the season averaging 12 apg and 7.6 spg.
Dobson said a deep bench and a number of boys able to play the game at a high level will be a strength of the team this season. “We also have a large amount of players that have played in big games last year,” Dobson said. “As far as weaknesses, with losing to big rebounding threats last year, rebounding might be our biggest downfall this year. Our team goals for the season are to compete in every game, win a trophy in every tournament and compete in conference and districts.”
As for the conferance race this season, Dobson said he feels it’s going to be wide open. He said there are multiple teams capable of winning conference.
“Every conference game will be a key matchup, due to our conference having two divisions and we will only face the northern schools once this year,” Dobson said. “I like to think our team will be towards the top of the conference.”
If the Bulldogs are going to get back to the top in the CAC, Dobson will have to count on his three returning starters from last year in juniors Tyler Perkins, Gavin Bishop and Carter Bailey.
While all three will play the guard position this season for New Franklin, Perkins returns averaging 8.0 ppg along with 5.0 rpg and 2.0 apg. Dobson said Perkins will be handling the ball and running the offense this season.
Bishop also put up some pretty good numbers in his first season as a starter while averaging 7.0 ppg along with 4.0 rpg and 4.apg. Dobson said he will look for Bishop to do everything on offense and defense.
As for Carter Bailey, he returns  after averaging 5.0 ppg along with 2.0 rpg and 1.0 apg. Dobson said Bailey will stretch the floor from three.
Perkins also earned all-conference and all-district last year for the Bulldogs while Bishop was selected to the CAC team.
Other returning players this season for New Franklin are Kolby Anson (1.0 ppg and 1.0 rpg), Jackson Dorson (1.0 ppg and 2.0 rpg), Crayton Gallaton (1.0 ppg and 1.0 rpg), Tysen Dowell, David Brucks and Alex Grover.
Dobson said Anson will give the Bulldogs a post presence while Dorson is a versatile player and defensive specialist. “Crayton is another player that will give us post presence,” Dobson said. “As for Tysen, we look for him to do everything for us on offense and defense. David will be a defensive specialist and effort guy while Alex will stretch the floor for us from the three.”
Other key additions for the Bulldogs are freshmen Tre Cowans, Tyler Jennings, Caleb Hull, Brett Boggs, Blake Evans, Zac Roth, Sammy Marshall and Tiernan Hoover.
Dobson said Jennings, Hull, Roth and Hoover will all play the guard position while Cowans, Boggs and Evans will see playing time at the forward position. As for Marshall, he will play the post position.