With the Maryville boys basketball (4-1) roster at full strength, the Spoofhounds rolled through the Savannah tournament gaining ground on their team goal of 30 games played.
Maryville took advantage of its first chance at tournament play at Savannah High School Nov. 28-Dec.1. Success was found with ease as they dominated Chillicothe (62-39), Savannah (65-56) and Platte County (64-46) on their way to a first-place finish in the tournament for the first time since 2009.
The Spoofhounds played the part of victim in their first game of the season, but with a rejuvenated squad they are back on pace for their goals of 30 games. This newly energized team is brought to be successful through the three starters that weren’t with them in the first game.
“So far they have done that, despite not being in the greatest shape, they have played a tremendous amount of minutes,” coach Matt Stoecklein said. “They’ve been doing a great job of just stepping in and doing just that.”
With a fresh restart to the season, the first place finish shows what talent Maryville brings to the courts. The squad could not have been completed at a better time with conference play up next in the schedule.
The Midland Empire Conference holds its own as being a tough, competitive league, and with Maryville at full strength, it only grows that much stronger.
“We want to go far,” junior Tate Oglesby said. “The first step of that is winning conference and to be able to do that we got to come out and do what we can immediately.”
The Spoofhounds got there first taste of MEC action Dec. 4, when they faced off against St. Joseph Benton. Maryville faced off against this conference rival last year with split results in two matchups.
“They really apply a lot of pressure,” Stoecklein said. “We don’t want them to push us back to halfcourt, we want to make sure that we run the offense that we want to run, and they don’t dictate to us what we do.”
Maryville showed no sign of slowing down from the Savannah tournament as they handled Benton 57-42.
As the football transitioners continue to make an impact on the Spoofhounds, the effort put in the transition is easily underrated.
Going from one sport to another can be a difficult task, especially in a cardio-heavy basketball game. The three starters utilized their competitive edges to make the transition easier then it should have been.
“You got to get your mind different; it’s a whole different conditioning,” Oglesby said. “Being able to come in here with only a few practices and go out there and get it done, it feels good for us.”
Even with the first meeting not until Jan. 3, Stoecklein made it evident that the No. 1 obstacle of the season will come from rival St. Joseph-Lafayette. In recent years Lafayette has been a powerhouse, but this year the plan is to play them just like anyone else.
“We are a very capable team, but sometimes in the past when we have gone up against Lafayette, we have this mindset that it will be tougher than it really should be,” Stoecklein said. “So can we go in there knowing, we can win this ballgame, because we are that good.”