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Warriors look to better last year’s mark

Staff writer

Entering his first season a year ago as Marion High School boys’ basketball coach, Randy Skiles inherited a team that’d gone 9-11 the year before under former coach Jeff McMillin.

Graduation of key players left Skiles with a greenhorn team learning a new system. That did the Warriors no favors, as they compiled a 5-16 record and 2-9 in a rugged Heart of America league.

“It was a tough year for us and me,” Skiles said. “Everything happened pretty fast and you’ve got some seniors up there so you don’t want to turn everything upside down your first year.”

Skiles is looking forward to a second round at the helm.

“I’m really excited about this year,” he said. “The junior guys have had a year with me, they know the expectations, and I think we’ll be pretty good and have more balanced scoring.”

Size, depth, and a balanced offensive attack should benefit the Warriors this year, with Marion returning two starters in senior Zach Stuchlik and junior Noah Dalrymple.

At 6-3 and 6-4, respectively, Stuchlik and Dalrymple bolster what figures to be a deep post.

Stuchlik averaged 11 points a game a year ago to go along with 6 rebounds and can play either inside or up top if need be.

Dalrymple assumed a role in Skiles’ starting rotation late in the season and should be a major contributor in both scoring and rebounding.

The frontcourt also will get help from juniors Blaine Mermis and Chase Stringer.

Mermis’ 6-5 frame gives him imposing size and he can drop out and shoot from behind the arc.

The 6-3 Stringer should contribute more this year after seeing valuable minutes as a sophomore.

Despite being better suited for the backcourt, 5-10 senior Colin Williams plays hard on rebounds and will provide depth on the wing.

Skiles will likely feature a junior-laden three-guard offense with two points on the floor.

Evann Heidebrecht, a good ball handler and outside scoring threat who has great quickness on defense, will run the offense,

Sam Zinn will be the other point, and he’s arguably Skiles’ best defender on the ball, disrupting opponents’ offensive rhythm.

The Warriors’ depth at guard a year ago meant limited action for Eli Hett. That won’t be the case this year, with Skiles expecting a big season from the sharpshooting Hett.

Marion will need to be more consistent to improve on last season’s record.

Scoring and consistency are my biggest concerns,” said Skiles. “We’ll be inexperienced in some spots, but I think after Christmas we’ll be growing together. Some of those guys will have some games under their belt. They’re competitors and they know how to win.”

Last modified Nov. 30, 2017

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