BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Gideon looks to make noise in Tri-County Conference

Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Pictured is the Gideon varsity basketball team. Pictured front row left to right are: Gage Stover, Dawson Huckabee, Brendan Buchanan, James Cossey, Grant Breece, and Sam Williams; pictured back row left to right are: Jarret Smith, Jordan Davis, Zach Swift, Dalton Manning, Logan Woodard, Brevin Vires, and Logan Hufford.

The Gideon Bulldogs boys basketball program is blessed with depth and experience entering the 2019-20 season.

The Gideon varsity roster is composed of three seniors, nine juniors, and two sophomores.

All three seniors and one junior started on last season’s varsity squad that finished 11-13.

“We’ve got a big varsity group with a lot of upperclassmen,” Gideon coach Jordan McGowan said.

Returning starters on the squad are senior guard Sam Williams, senior guard Gage Stover, senior small forward Logan Woodard, and junior guard Brevin Vires.

“We have a lot of guards so we are going to shoot it a lot and play fast,” McGowan said. “We are in a guard-heavy conference without a lot of bigs.”

Williams has started the last three seasons on varsity. He averaged 15.5 points and eight rebounds per game last season.

“He’s been selected all-district the last two years and all-conference the last three years,” McGowan said. “We expect great numbers out of him as a fourth-year starter this season.”

Stover averaged 11 points, four rebounds, and three assists last season.

“He handled the ball mostly for us at the point last year and he’ll help with that some again,” McGowan said. “But he’s developed the ability to drive to the basket and score over the summer. He also shoots it well so we are going to rely on him to contribute some points.”

Vires, who averaged seven points, five rebounds, and four assists last season, is expected to run the offense as the point guard this season

“He’ll handle the ball for us the majority of the time,” McGowan said.

Woodard, who averaged nine points, four rebounds, and two assists last season, is expected to change positions this season.

“He had a really good year as a sophomore,” McGowan said. “We had to put him at a post position his junior season and that’s really not his natural spot. We should be able to get him spread out as a guard again this season. That should allow him to have a really good senior season.”

Rounding out the varsity roster are juniors Dalton Manning, Zach Swift, Brendan Buchanan, Dawson Huckabee, Jarrett Smith, Jordan Davis, Logan Hufford; and sophomores James Cossey and Grant Breece.

McGowan said Manning and Swift are candidates to contribute in the paint.

“Manning is a big kid that will help us out in the post,” he said. “Swift is also a kid that can play some inside-out.

Gideon, which won the Tri-County Conference Tournament at the junior varsity level last season, is expected to be in the mix to challenge three-time defending conference tournament champion Risco at the varsity level this season.

“The conference is any team’s game,” McGowan said. “I’m really excited about how much we are bringing back. Risco will still be competitive. Holcomb, Clarkton, and Cooter should also be in the mix.”

Gideon opens its season Nov. 30 when it takes on Ellington at the Van Buren Shootout.

“We played them twice this summer and split with them,” McGowan said. “They’ve got two kids that are really good. It should be a fun opener.”

Gideon hosts its own eight-team tournament the following week. The tournament field includes Kennett, Caruthersville, Hayti, Clarkton, Delta C-7, Doniphan, and Senath-Hornersville along with Gideon.

“The top four teams in that tournament are really good,” McGowan said. “Championship night should be packed on Friday because every team is guaranteed three games. It should be a good tournament.”

Gideon is relocating from Class 1, District 1 to Class 1, District 2 this season. The full slate of teams in Class 1, District 2 are Bell City, Delta, Gideon, Leopold, Oak Ridge, Richland, defending District 1 champion Risco, and Scott County Central.

“There are some good teams in Class 1,” McGowan said. “Delta brings back everyone and they will be good. You can also never count out Scott Central when they are in Class 1.”

Gideon Bulldogs Boys Basketball Schedule

11/30EllingtonVan Buren
12/2-12/5Bulldog ClassicGideon
12/13Bell CityAway
12/26-12/30Bloomfield Tourn.Bloomfield
1/24Delta C-7Home
1/30Scott CentralAway
2/6North PemiscotHome
2/10-2/14Tri-County Tourn.Clarkton
2/22-2/27District Tourn.TBA
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