Because Community R-6 Athletic Director/Boys Varsity Basketball Coach Matt Thomas spent some time in a similar capacity at North Callaway prior to taking over the Trojans, his familiarity with the Eastern Missouri Conference is certainly greater than it would have been otherwise.
Now that Thomas is about to begin his second season at CR-6, he knows that knowledge is only so valuable based on the fact the Trojans have agreed to join the Central Activities Conference beginning in 2018-19. That doesn't mean this information has no value, though. It just means what he knows about the EMO has more value now to his program than it ever will again.
"We're pretty excited for the season. We have some great games on our schedule," said Thomas. "We play Harrisburg in the Norm Stewart Classic at 8:00 a.m. and have Hallsville in the Gary Filbert Classic. Add that to our already tough conference schedule and we'll have to be ready each and every night."
One reason for Thomas' positive expectations are the starters coming back from a year ago. This includes Juniors Evan Hartsock and Eric Hombs, both of which stand in at 6-foot-0, Jaryn Kuda is 5-foot-9 and running the point at 5-foot-7 for CR-6 is Blaze Escamilla, who recently became the first student from his school ever to qualify for the state cross country meet.
Senior Cordell Hollensteiner will also being working his way towards the hoop once again for the Trojans at 5-foot-11 and Danny Kuda is a 5-foot-10 sophomore.
"I think we'll be ok offensively. We really need to tighten up our defense from last year. A lot of times our effort was poor," Thomas said. "One thing we've been working on is not allowing dribble penetration and not allowing the opponent to get to the lane."
Among the changes CR-6, which finished 2016-17 with a record of 7-18 overall, 1-9 EMO, has to endure this year is the loss of Adam Hombs to graduation. Fortunately for Thomas, taking his place on the roster will be 5-foot-10 Carrolton transfer Bobb Jett.