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BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Moniteau’s Pry Healthy and Looking for Big Things This Season

WEST SUNBURY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — The 2020-21 season is one Kyle Pry would rather forget.

The Moniteau senior point guard spent most of last year’s campaign hobbled by an ankle injury. He missed two weeks, and when he came back, he wasn’t the same.

“I was driving, stepped on a foot and my ankle rolled,” Pry said. “I heard a pop.”

Pry feared the worst. He was elated that it wasn’t season-ending, but the balky ankle ended up severely hampering his season.

Still, Pry averaged 14 points per game. This year, he is hoping for bigger and better things, both for himself and the Warriors.

“I’m pushing this year the same as I was last year,” Pry said. “I’ve been working out more. I’m hoping not to get injured.

“When the ankle injury first happened, I didn’t know what was going on,” Pry added. “I knew something had happened and it wasn’t good. When I found out the news, I was kind of glad it wasn’t a break or anything like that, so I would be able to come back and play. But when I came back, I couldn’t get into a groove at all. I didn’t have one good game when I came back. It didn’t really turn out how I wanted it to.”

For Pry or the team.

Moniteau’s season as a whole was frustrating — glimpses of being a playoff team, but also stretches of head-scratching struggles.

With a healthy Pry leading the way and some height — for a change, as Warriors’ coach Mike Jewart jokes — the Warriors are looking for a bounce-back season.

“(Pry) looks really good to be honest with you,” Jewart said. “I think he’s gonna have a big year, a real big year.

“(The height) is something I’m not used to,” Jewart added, chuckling. “We can bang inside and we should be able to secure some rebounds. All of the bigs aren’t just plodding guys that can’t do anything. They are going to be some of the quickest guys up the floor, so that’s going to be cool to see.”

It’s also going to be fun for Pry.

“I think we have a ton of potential,” Pry said. “It’s going to make it a good bit easier for me because the more people the other team has to worry about the better. We can shoot. We’re athletic.”

So is Pry, who worked hard this offseason on his shot.

He said he took between 400 and 500 jumpers a day to get ready for the season.

He’s seen the difference already.

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “I want to be dangerous from all over. That’s the plan.”

Following is a quick look at Clarion County area boys basketball teams:

COACH: Scott Fox
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Cal German, Beau Verdill, Hunter Craddock, Ethan Burford
POTENTIAL STARTERS: Christian Simko, Dawson Smail, Devon Lauer, Gabe Simko, Ryan Alston, Aidan Quinn
ALSO IN THE MIX: Kameron Merrell, Derek Smail, Dauntae Girvan, Logan MacKinlay, Bryce Brinkley
OUTLOOK: German and Verdill are two huge losses from a team that won the D9 Class 2A title a season ago and leaves the Bobcats largely young and inexperienced. But Clarion also has some speed, some versatile players who can shoot and good depth. “(Our goal is to) continue to improve throughout the season as we did in the offseason. (We) hope to make the KSAC semifinals and be able to compete for a league championship. (We) hope to get the opportunity to defend the district championship as well.” — Fox.

COACH: Joe Ferguson
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Hayden Callen, Hayden Siegel, Braden Rankin
POTENTIAL STARTERS: Jordan Hesdon, Ryan Hummel
ALSO IN THE MIX: Bryson Huwar, Rylie Klingensmith, Tommy Smith, Nate Mengin, Alex Painter, John Burke, Jack Craig, Jack Callen, Ty Rankin, Jase Ferguson, Logan Lutz
OUTLOOK: Callen and his 1,600 points are gone. The Lions will look to their team speed and quickness to overcome a lack of height.

COACH: Ewing Moussa
POTENTIAL STARTING FIVE: Collin Schmader, Aiden Hartle, Josh Daum, Cole Byers, Zeelan Hargenrader
ALSO IN THE MIX: Tristian Sliker, Ethan Carll, Drake Irwin, Mason Shaftic
OUTLOOK: Schmader, Hartle and Daum combined for 31 points per game last season and Hartle nearly averaged a double-double. The Wolves are ready to take the next step and improve on their eight wins from a season ago.

COACH: Emmanuel Marshall
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Owen Magagnotti
POTENTIAL STARTING FIVE: Bryson Bain, Chris Marshall, Marquese Gardlock, Owen Clouse, Mason Clouse
ALSO IN THE MIX: Tyson Adams, Jack Shaffer, Cam Wagner, Nick Moore
OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs will have two players reach 1,000 career points early in the season. Marshall is sitting at 953 and Bain is at 945 heading into the campaign. Redbank Valley is talented, athletic and will push the ball frequently.

COACH: Greg Heath
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Colin Say, Brandon Pierce, Logan Sell, Gavin Hogue
POTENTIAL STARTERS: Bret Wingard, Zander McHenry, Cole Henry, Tyler Albright, Ian Keth, Brett English, Liam Say, Haden Foster
OUTLOOK: Heath will enter his 38th season as the Panthers coach and is approached 650 career wins. The early part of this campaign will be spent defining roles.

COACH: Mike Jewart
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Mason Mershimer, Tanner Williams, Brady Thompson, Quinton Scriven
POTENTIAL STARTING FIVE: Undecided. Eight or nine guys competing for five spots
ALSO IN THE MIX: Kyle Pry, Ryan Jewart, Nate Kelly, Hunter Magerko, Chason Delarosa-Rug, Colton Thomas, Dylan Bush, Aydan Jackson, David Martino, Landon Kelly, David Dessicino
OUTLOOK: The Warriors could be a team ready to surprise. “I really like this team, and with its senior leadership, we should get better every week. I’m really looking forward to the potential of this team and where we could be when the season ends.” — Jewart.

COACH: Zach Kepple
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Chase Beighley and Nathan Waltman
POTENTIAL STARTING FIVE: Taite Beighley, Cole Sherwin, Luke Cramer, Luke Garing, Micah Rupp
ALSO IN THE MIX: Braden Grossman, Jacob Callihan, Hobie Bartoe, Colson Ritzert
OUTLOOK: Chase Beighley and Waltman are huge losses, but the last two KSAC Rookies of the Year, Rupp and Cramer, are back. “Our goal, just like every year, is to play competitive basketball, win the KSAC title, and then the District 9 championship. This year we are going to need a more overall team approach with rebounding, points and assists coming from everyone who plays” — Kepple.

COACH: Tony McGarvey
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Levi Orton, Eli Penny, Tanner Merwin, Broc Weigle
POTENTIAL STARTING FIVE: Alex Preston, Ryan Cooper, Landon Chalmers, Jay Clover, Brody Dittman
ALSO IN THE MIX: Seth Best, Lane Bauer, Ian Runyan
OUTLOOK: Orton and his scoring prowess will be difficult to replace, as will his leadership (as well as the other players lost), but the Falcons have some height and figure to be strong on defense. “(We want to) take the success and experiences we learned the past two seasons — making the playoffs and playing in five playoff games) and keep it going.” — McGarvey.

Coach: Eric Mortimer
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Karter Vogel, Brock Jordan
POTENTIAL STARTING FIVE: Caden Rainey, Skyler Roxbury, Payton Johnston, Bailey Crissman, Dawson Camper
ALSO IN THE MIX: Hayden Smith, Zander Laughlin, Hayden Kizzia, Trey Fleming, Logan Terwint, Joey Morrison
OUTLOOK: Rainey, a senior, is entering his fourth year as the starting point guard and the Knights have some height this season and quickness. “There’s a lot of good teams in this league. I feel we can compete with most of them. Being a young team, we should be very competitive after the break.” — Mortimer

COACH: Patrick Irwin
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Cameron Russell, J.T. Stahlman
POTENTIAL STARTERS: Noel Nunyak, Preston Forrest, Colin Zerbe
ALSO IN THE MIX: Ashton Weaver, Dane Ley, Devin Zerbe, Ryan Hanna, DaShawn Mitchell, Ethan Merryman, Niko Blauser
OUTLOOK: Success will be measured in the little things as Cranberry tries to improve on its four wins last season.

COACH: Dalton Park
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Jace Miner, Robert Keth
POTENTIAL STARTERS: Danny Lauer, Griffin Ruhlman, Hunter Geer, Ian Peter
ALSO IN THE MIX: Noah Peterson, Clayton Cook
OUTLOOK: Losing Miner is a big blow, but the Raiders figure to be more balanced. Lauer, Ruhlman and Geer each averaged around nine points per game last season.