Photo by Bill Roseberry
Pictured are seniors from the 2015-16 Civic Memorial boys’ basketball: Brett Lane, Adam Hill and Justin Williams.
There’s a new game in Bethalto for the Civic Memorial Eagles. They will be running more and relying less on the post play.
It’s a natural transition since 6-foot-8, 265-pounder Jakob Lowrance, the centerpiece of their offense last season, has graduated. Lowrance, the AdVantage News’ Boys Player of the Year, has taken his talents to Central Missouri State in Warrensburg. He departed as the Eagles’ career leading rebounder and fourth-best scorer in school history. Lowrance averaged 19.5 points and 9.7 rebounds a game last season.
That’s quite a legacy.
“Jakob meant a lot of the program and he pretty much helped to turn it around for us,” fourth-year head coach Doug Carey said. “He really worked hard at it and improved each year.”
The same could be said of the Eagles. They vaulted to 19-12 last season and snared their first regional championship in 22 years. Those 19 victories were the most since CM won 22 games in 2007-08.
Yet time marches on and without Lowrance, the Eagles will feature more of a perimeter-shooting squad this season. They intend to run to their hearts’ delight.
“It’s going to be a completely different offense,” Carey said. “We don’t have much size, but we do have a good group of shooters. So will be looking to go with the ball early in the season.
“We have been getting up and down the floor more in practice and doing some pressing. We want to use our quickness more. I think this style should be fun for the kids. They will have to get out and go with the basketball.”
CM opens its season next week in the Stove Top Stuffing Thanksgiving Tournament, with the finals set for Nokomis. The Eagles debut in Bethalto on Tuesday against Triad and that game will also count as a Mississippi Valley Conference contest.
Carey noted, “Since it’s a different offense, it’s still a work in progress. It might not look the way it should until around Christmas.” CM is cast in the Columbia/Freeburg Holiday Tournament.
Brett Lane, a 6-foot-2 senior guard and Adam Hill, a 6-1 senior; could emerge as the point guys of CM’s new attack. Justin Williams, a 6-0 senior guard; also will provide leadership. Lane averaged 6.8 ppg. last season and Hill, the assist leader, averaged 4.4 points.
“Brett was our defensive stopper last season, but this year we will be looking for him to score a little more, too,” Carey said. “Adam will run the offense again.”
He added, “All of our guys can play on the perimeter, so that makes them interchangeable for our offense. It will be an interesting mix.”
JaQuan Adams, a 6-2 sophomore, emerged as the Eagles’ most pleasant surprise a year ago and Carey is expecting more good things from him.
“He won’t be a surprise to opponents this season like he was last year,” Carey said. Adams averaged 8.6 points as a freshman and was second in scoring to Lowrance.
David Lane, a 6-0 junior guard and Brett’s younger brother; Brandon Hampton, a 5-10 junior guard; Jaxsen Helmkamp, a 5-9 junior guard; Zach Williams, a 6-1 junior forward; Caden Clark, a 5-7 sophomore guard and Geoffrey Withers, a 6-4 sophomore center; also figure in the picture. Withers is the Eagles’ tallest player.
“Our starting lineup isn’t set in stone,” Carey said. “With the kind of style we’re planning to play, we intend to sub a lot and keep everybody fresh. We will shoot a lot of 3-pointers, maybe twice as many as anybody else.”
He pointed out, “Two things we will really need to do are rebound as well as we can and step up our defense.”
The Eagles intend to be a key player in the six-team Valley, which likely will be competitive from top to bottom.
“You have to say that Highland is the favorite because they have three or four players coming back this season,” Carey said. “Everybody else will be right there behind them. And I think that we will compete for the Valley championship.”
NAME HT POS
Adam Hill 6-1 G
Brett Lane 6-2 G-F
Justin Williams 6-0 G
Brandon Hampton 5-9 G
Jaxsen Helmkamp 5-9 G
David Lane 6-0 G
Zach Williams 6-1 F
JaQuan Adams 6-2 F
Caden Clark 5-7 G
Geoffrey Withers 6-4 C