Prairie Home boys like their chances of three-peating in the CCAA conference in 2020-21
The Prairie Home Panthers basketball team did something that many teams can only dream about last year.
Although the loss to Jamestown in the district championship game was disappointing to say the least, the Panthers still walked away with their second straight conference title.
Of course Prairie Home wasn’t half bad in the win column last year, either. At 18-9 overall and 3-1 in the Cooper County Activities Conference, the Panthers look for a three-peat in 2020-21 with two returning starters and seven returning letterwinners under head coach Trever Huth.
“I’m really excited about coaching these boys again this year,” Huth said. “I’ve had them for four years through baseball season and now two seasons of basketball and I think everyone is excited for the upcoming year. After winning the conference the last two years, we look forward to trying to repeat that long with another good season. I thought we played a tough schedule last year and really performed well throughout the season. This year we have a lot of seniors and juniors, that look to lead the team throughout the year.”
Huth added that the Panthers will have over 10 guys that can go out there and give quality minutes every game. He said all 10 can shoot the ball and get to the basket when they want. With that, he said, the Panthers also have several kids that play defense really well and can shut down opponents on nights.
“I’m very excited to start this season with another competitive schedule that will prepare us for districts,” stated Huth.
As for the CCAA conference, Huth said the favorite will be either Prairie Home or Jamestown. He said Jamestown will be a tough and long team to guard this season. They always play great basketball with very athletic kids and shooters around the floor, he said.
“Other than Jamestown, Calvary Lutheran will be another tough team to go along with Higbee, who is always very well coached and doesn’t make very many mistakes,” Huth said. “Our team will look to be at the top of the stack along with Jamestown, followed by Calvary Lutheran and Higbee.”
If the Panthers are going to have success this season, Huth will have to have great seasons from his two returning starters in seniors Blane Petsel and Jason Burnett.
While earning all-conference first team last season for Prairie Home, Huth said Petsel is a very active player that will need to take a big step this year and be a leader for the Panthers. “He likes to play high tempo with a lot of energy,” Huth said. “We look for him to play great defensive and hit his open shots. With Blane on the floor, we have a lot of options that will make us very versatile.”
As for Burnett, he also played a significant amount of minutes last season for Prairie Home while averaging 13.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg and 1.7 spg. Burnett also finished the season shooting 51 percent from the field, 43 percent from the three-point arc and 65 percent from the foul line.
Huth said Burnett is a very good shooter that he will look to for leadership. “We need Jason to score at a high level this year,” Burnett said. “He is a good defender that plays hard every minute he is on the floor.”
Other players that will have to help out offensively and defensively this season for Prairie Home are seniors Ty Walker, Hunter Shuffield, Dillon Alpers and Ryan Small, junior Oliver Lock and sophomore Tripp Kendrick.
Huth said Walker is a player that will be very versatile this season for the Panthers. “He’s big enough to and skilled enough to play in the post,” Huth said. “He also can stretch the floor to the three-point line with a great jump shot to match his post game. Ty has a lot of basketball smarts and uses it to his advantage really well.”
As for Shuffield, Huth said Hunter is a player that comes to practice and works hard every day. He said Shuffield has a great mid-range jump shot to go along with a great drive game. “He plays good defense, very quick on the floor and will look to him for some fast break points,” Huth said.
As for Alpers, Huth said Dillon is a player that plays the game hard. He said Alpers plays a lot bigger than 6-0 on the floor. “He rebounds the ball well to go along with great defense,” Huth said. “He will be another kid that we will look to run the floor to get some quick and easy layups.”
As for Lock, Huth said Oliver will look to get a lot more varsity time this year. He said Lock shoots the ball very well and just plays the game the right way. “Oliver runs the offense really well and plays good defense to back it up,” Huth said.
As for Small, Huth said Ryan will be player to look at varsity time this year. He said Small gets the ball to the hole well. “He is a long armed kid that blocks shots well on defense,” Huth said. “If he plays the way we think he can play, he will help us out a lot this year.”
As for Kendrick, Huth said Tripp still has some learning to do but has come a long way from last year. “We will need him to play well on the defensive side of the ball and make open shots on the offensive side,” Huth said. “Tripp is a big kid that we look to get a lot of rebounds and be a force in the paint.”
Other key additions this season for Prairie Home are Payton Pitts, Layne Brandes, Landon Case, Grant Milne.
The Prairie Home Panthers basketball team will play three games in three days to start the season. After the December 2 game at Pilot Grove, the Panthers will play Green Ridge at Bunceton on December 3 and then closeout the week on December 4 on the road against Norborne.