Scott City hoops in familiar spot for Christmas Tournament
Tyler Graef ~ Southeast Missourian
It’s been four years since Scott City and Kelly matched up in their opening boy’s basketball games of the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament.
Coincidentally, it has also been four years since the Rams won their initial game in the event, which was a 73-45 win over the Hawks.
“It seems like we have been in the 8-9 game forever,” Rams coach Mark Dannenmueller said. “It seems like every year.”
Scott City (2-1) drew the No. 8 seed in the event, which will be played from Dec. 26 through Dec. 30 (no games on Dec. 29) at the Show Me Center. The Rams will face No. 9 seed Kelly (3-1) on Dec. 26 at 9 p.m.
The two teams will also meet at Kelly on Dec. 17, but that doesn’t concern Dannenmueller, who follows a focus on the next game approach.
“I really don’t look into that stuff very much,” Dannenmueller said. “They’re on your schedule and you just play them.”
The 2019-20 season has been a trying task for Dannenmueller so far, but for a positive reason.
The success of the Scott City football program delayed the ability of Dannenmueller to have any semblance of a full group to work with until last week.
“We went a lot of 5 on 0,” Dannenmueller explained of his early practices. “And some 2 on 2. It’s been a little tough, but we try not to make excuses.”
The Rams had just six players available until the football athletes joined in.
“It was quite a few of our guys,” Dannenmueller said of those athletes. “And it was guys that play.”
“Guys” such as starters Joe Panagos (a 6-foot, senior, forward) and 5-foot-9 senior guard Spencer Stratman.
Those two will join 6-foot-3 junior forward Camden Conner, who led the Rams in scoring a year ago, as well as 6-foot-1 senior center Ethan Pennington, who also started as a junior.
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The Rams had barely installed their zone offense last week, according to Dannenmueller, when they had to face St. Vincent, who zoned his team in a 69-50 Indian win.
We couldn’t throw it in the ocean that game,” Dannenmueller said.
Given the circumstances, Dannenmueller isn’t focused on the annual tournament just yet. He simply wants to have more time with his team in its entirety.
“We’re just trying to get into the gym and practice,” Dannenmueller said, “and try to get better with our full team.”
Dannenmueller has built a program at his alma mater (he graduated from Scott City in 2005) that is pretty consistent in its success.
The Rams have had six winning seasons in his nine years, including last year’s 17-9 squad.
“We’ve got good kids who work hard,” Dannenmueller said. “We have some of the same families that come through there.”
Bluejays are soaring
Charleston earned the top seed in the event after winning its first three games this season.
“I have my three leading scorers coming back,” Bluejay coach Danny Farmer said. “I have five of my top six players from last year and we have about seven seniors.
“We’ve been playing pretty well.”
1. Charleston (3-0)
2. Cape Central (3-0)
3. Notre Dame (2-0)
4. Jackson (1-0)
5. Oran (3-0)
6. Delta (4-1)
7. Oak Ridge (2-1)
8. Scott City (2-1)
9. Kelly (3-1)
10. Advance (2-1
11. Leopold (2-1)
12. Meadow Heights (1-2)
13. Bell City (2-1)
14. Chaffee (2-2)
15. Woodland (1-3)
16. Scott Central (0-2)