As the Maryville boys basketball team took to their home court Feb. 8 to battle against a strong opponent in St. Joseph-Benton, senior night brought increased intensity and adrenaline onto the court.
With the bleachers filled in preparation for the conference matchup, the Spoofhounds went into the game with a focused and set mindset that allowed them to come out with a final score of 71-46 against a stacked Benton team.
“It was senior night, so we had a big crowd, and the kids know it's one of their last times to play here on this court,” coach Matt Stoecklein said. “So they're going to bring their best effort and their best energy and play with such excitement and energy with the crowd that we had.”
With the support of the ‘Hound Pound, parents, friends and fellow players, the Spoofhounds never gave up their lead. This game was both statistically and physically one of the best games Maryville has played this season.
By scoring 71 points and only allowing 46, the Spoofhounds did better than their average of both points scored and allowed this season, according to MSHSAA.
“I know where my players are going to be and they know where I'm going to be at all times,” senior guard Creid Stoecklein said. “Our goal is to make it past that quarterfinal game where we made it and make it to state eventually.”
As the Spoofhounds send off important seniors such as Matthew Madden, Eli Dowis, Tyler Houchin and Creid Stoecklein, underclassmen like junior guards Tate Oglesby and Jaden Hayes have been preparing to take the reigns from such a successful group of seniors.
“It’s sad, but at the same time, it’s heartwarming to know that we’re passing on the program to a good group of juniors,” Dowis said. “It’s bittersweet.”
Although the team still has its district tournament left this season, Dowis and Houchin have left a mark on the program as they prepare to graduate and play football at Northwest.
With many players over the last few seasons signing to play their respective sports at the collegiate level, the program has seen an increase in interest from younger students.
“They’re learning to play with teammates and in different situations, so anytime that they can play multiple sports, I think college coaches like that,” Matt Stoecklein said.
With all of their starting seniors being involved in a variety of clubs and other sports, the Spoofhounds pride themselves on how balanced and prepared their seniors are.
“I think us showing people that you can play multiple sports and excel in multiple sports definitely helps with Maryville athletics,” Dowis said. “It just feels good to know that guys like me, Tyler, Matthew and Creid are leaving a mark on the Maryville athletics program.”