Smithville High School692012

The season is back and with it brought back our annual return to the Savannah Tournament. This is one of the longest running tournaments in the state of Missouri and it’s a fantastic way to begin the season. But this season is different. It was always going to be different. With the football team’s historic run, this left us practicing the first month of the season with just 9 players. Of those 9, only 4 had previously logged a Varsity minute; Ryker Edwards, Andrew Miller, Ryan Edwards and Spencer Engle, only Ryker in that group had logged more than 100 minutes of Varsity time in their career. The other 5? Ryan Dodson played on the JV squad for us last season but Jordan Davis, Austin Miller, Ryan Butler and Toby Ford? None of that group of 4 had even logged a JV minute, let alone a Varsity minute. So that was our challenge but what a wonderful opportunity for our guys to gain experience and learn how to swim by diving head first into the deep end of the pool.

The first half of the Maryville game, those growing pains became evident. Nervous. Timid. Unsure of ourselves. It was all expected. We only had 21 shots total for the first quarter. For context, we averaged almost 30 in the first half of games last season. We kept fighting in that first half though and I was very proud of them for winning the 2nd quarter and only being down 6 at half. We preached to them at halftime that the butterflies had their moment but it was time to move past them. When the third quarter came and Maryville–who is tough as nails–extended the lead to 11; we called timeout but the tone of that timeout was positive, not frustration. And then Smithville basketball returned. Bang, Andrew Miller hits a 3. Bang, Ryker gets an And-1. And we fought and fought until finally in the 4th quarter, we had come all the way back to take the lead.

Unfortunately though, exhaustion from climbing back up that mountain, some bad luck with an ankle sprain for Toby–who was playing well and had just hit a massive shot for us and our inexperience gave way to some mistakes in crucial moments. We had a key free throw box out that we missed with 3:50 to go in a tie game, we had a few possessions in a row offensively where we settled for average shots or bad shots altogether instead of executing the playcall, etc. We just didn’t do what we needed to do to finish the game.

We ended up losing 54-47 and while losing is never fun, it was a step in the right direction for us. To show that kind of fight and performance in Game 1 vs. a great program and take them to the brink, that was a positive sign for this group.

Ryker led us with 18 points, he also led us with 11 rebounds; his first double-double of the year. Andrew Miller had 12 points, knocking down his first 2 threes of the season; a solid start to his senior campaign. Ryan Edwards had 5, Spencer Engle had 4 and scoring the first Varsity points of their career, Austin Miller and Toby Ford had 3 and 5 respectively. Congrats to them! While it didn’t go in, Ryan Butler also came in and fired up his first three point open shot of the season and we love that about “Rhino” as we call him, a jitterbug out there, Ryan is always bring such positive energy to our group; he shows up an hour before practices, he never misses and off-season workout and so I loved it when he let it fly. Eventually, those will go in for him.

Our next opponent will be Chillicothe on Thursday.