PATOKA – The Warriors were already going to be a competitive team with all of last season’s players returning.
But add in a very talented freshman and a well-rounded transfer, and it makes Patoka arguably the best team among the seven in the area.
Jered Cain, who scored more than 1,000 points in the past three seasons with the junior high team, will fall into a starting role with the Warriors, and proved during the summer that he can make a difference.
“They had a hard time guarding him in during the summer,” said coach Joey Eddy. “It will be a different adjustment during the season, but his game translates if he doesn’t press and lets the game come to him.”
Eddy said Cain’s ability to anticipate plays is already at a level that a coach would want from a varsity player, and that he rebounds well for his size.
Also joining the team is junior Tyler Back, a transfer student from Effingham, who Eddy expects to contribute right away.
“You don’t have to worry about him. He will work hard no matter what,” Eddy said. “He’ll do the little things, and not care if he scores.”
Eddy has especially been pleased with Back’s defense in early practices, as well as how fluidly he moves with and without the ball.
Returning starters for the Warriors are seniors Johnnie Clift, Sheldan Felchlia and Seth Allen.
With two underclassmen expected in the starting lineup, that will cause some playing time issues in Patoka.
Eight seniors are on the varsity roster, and there are at least 12 players who Eddy feels would be able to contribute at the varsity.
“We’re going to have some frustrated people,” Eddy said. “We will have people not playing the amount of minutes they deserve, because we go 11 or 12 deep.”
The Warriors open the season on Monday, Nov. 25, with a 6:45 p.m. game against Odin at the Mulberry Grove Turkey Tournament.