ST. JOSEPH, Mo.
Gone are the likes of Tre Flowers and Saxton Thuston from the Benton Cardinals' basketball team, but they were not alone. A total of seven seniors are gone to graduation off of last season's squad and fresh, new faces take their place.
"We have a whole new team pretty much," senior Mason Byrd said. "I was limited on varsity time last year, other than that, no one really had court time. It's going to be a new experience for all of us. We're going to do the best we can and work together."
"Some people look at that and say, 'Boy that's a rebuild', or whatever you want to use, but I look at it as exciting. These kids have an opportunity to show what they're capable of doing," head coach Gary Belcher said.
So far in 2017, things have been far from smooth for Belcher's bunch. They're just two weeks into practice, and the injury bug has hit them hard.
"Mannee McMiller tore his ACL two weeks ago," Belcher said. "He's going to have surgery over Christmas. Braydon Dilley tore his ACL in June. Hopefully, if things go right, he'll be able to finish the season with us."
The season isn't yet underway and the Cardinals already face adversity. But the loss off all that firepower doesn't scare Belcher or the team.
"I think we'll do good throughout the year as long as we play together, work together," senior Simuel "Simi" Bingham said. "Keep our heads up, don't worry about the score."
"There's no one certain person we're going to lean to, it's going to be a collective effort every night," Belcher added.
The city Jamboree will get underway on Friday night. The girls will tip-off at 3:30 p.m. and the boys will get underway at 6:30 p.m. from the Civic Center.
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