Now that former Montgomery County varsity boys basketball coach Ron Lebel holds that same title at California High School, Scott Kroeger hopes to use everything he learned playing college football and basketball to keep that programs winning tradition right where it is.
"Obviously Montgomery County has skill. My biggest challenge, and we've talked about this every day I've seen them so far, is how efficient and how difficult we can be to score on," said Kroeger. "We are going to try and establish a mean, unrelenting, hard-nosed defense. That's going to be the ticket to getting past the quarterfinals in the playoffs and getting to Mizzou Arena. How hard will it be to score on us. We have the athleticism, the quickness and the brains to be an extremely good defense."
After graduating from Elsberry High School in 2011-12, Kroeger joined the football team at Lindenwood University. Even though he was redshirted that first year, he did earn all Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association academic honors. The quarterback then made it on the field for one game in 2012-13 with the Lions and completed 3-of-3 passes for 19 yards before once again earning All-MIAA academic accolades.
"We're going to push the ball and run. We have a lot of skill. Now we have to get the defense moving when we have the ball so we can create some drive-lanes," Kroeger said. "My next challenge is to create good shots for each other. We need to try not to play too much one-on-one basketball because at all times we'll have four or five shooters on the court. As long as we can create help scenarios, we'll get the defense to over-commit. After a solid pass hopefully we can get our feet set and take good shots."
The 2014-15 season was a whole other story for Kroeger because instead of returning to the gridiron he instead chose to become part of the Lindenwood men's basketball program and scored 23 points in 10 games played. The current Montgomery County varsity boys basketball coach also grabbed seven rebounds, to steals and nine assists that year and hit 61.5 percent from the field with an assist to turnover ratio of 2.3:1.
"We're going to be a difficult team to beat," said Kroeger. "Next week we have a dual practice at Christian High School. Their head coach Terry Hollander, was an assistant coach at Lindenwood when I played there. I was able to hook up with him. We're going to go over some game situations and things like that. We may also have another open gym coming up, but I'm not sure because we have four or five kids going on vacation, so it might get difficult."
The season when Kroeger performed his best was probably 2015-16. That year he was on the court for 19 games and scored 22 points with 13 rebounds, six assists, three steals and no blocks in 148 minutes played. He was also 5-for-16 from the field, including 2-of-7 from three-point territory, and 10-for-17 from the free throw line.