The Eagles have a strong base for this winter.
Joseph High School's boys basketball team again features a young roster, but this time it also has plenty of experience. Most of last year's Eagles are back. The small squad of 2009-10 included no seniors. However, the varsity will compete with a lot more support: eight freshmen in reserve.
"We're a little more athletic, more mature," coach Ron Lathrop said. "Last year, we tried to play a junior varsity but couldn't put much pressure on them. And we couldn't score many points in transition. Now, we've got some new faces. We won't know how we'll do until we play some games. It depends on how we take care of the ball and play defense."
The Eagles have size. Senior Ian Baynes stands 6-foot-5. Last year, he developed into a devastating defender who blocked countless shots by the opposition. Also an accurate shooter, he will be important to the offense. The frontcourt includes more boys over six feet tall: junior Anthony Smallen and junior Dakoda Shadle. They recently welcomed another sizeable option, junior B.J. Warnock.
At the same time, opponents must deal with Joseph's quick guards. Senior Forrest Watson has a lethal shot from the perimeter. Junior Trevor Lewis, a starter on varsity the past three years, opens up his teammates by driving to the hoop. The backcourt also includes senior Matt Doud and junior Lucas Staigle.
Meanwhile, Lathrop and assistant coach Larry Wells will train several younger players. Austin Wells was the only rookie last year. Now, he will play on a much bigger JV that is loaded with talent. It includes eight freshmen: David Lewis, Blair Beaudoin, Christopher Warnock, Ben Smallen, Gage Jarman, Daniel Parker, Will Story and Eric Hogg.
The Eagles will begin this season Dec. 3 at a tournament in Prairie City.