The Suburban Middle Six boys basketball race has a familiar favorite.

The Suburban Middle Six boys basketball race has a familiar favorite.

Perennial power Raytown South is a solid choice of the coaches for a repeat title. Park Hill South finished second in the voting followed by Raytown, Winnetonka, William Chrisman, Fort Osage and Belton. A coach couldn’t rank his own team.

Nebraska University signee Corey Hilliard heads a list of four letter winners returning from a 21-7 Raytown South team. Others are Earl Peterson. Ismail Wainright and Nodie Newton.

“I think that Hilliard, Peterson and Wainright give us a very solid nucleus,” coach Brad Oestrleich said. ‘However, the players around them could be the deciding factor on the team’s success.”

PARK HILL SOUTH

The Trojans return a solid nucleus in three senior lettermen and starters Christian Hildebrandt, Adam Schemenauer and Rocky Benson from a 21-11 team.

“This year’s team is very motivated and excited about the opportunity to build onto the success we’ve had in previous seasons,” coach Anthony Perry said. “Our expectations are high with three starters returning from a team that went far into the playoffs last season.

“We have a really good group of seniors. We are counting on the experience of these guys to guide us to another competitive season.”

The 6-foot, 9-inch Schemenauer led the Panthers in scoring and rebounding last season.

RAYTOWN

Second-year coach Brandon Weis is counting upon lettermen A.J. Burton, Garron Dumas and Xavier Rider  to lead the Blue Jays to a winning season. Raytown was 13-13 last season.

WINNETONKA

The Griffins like their chances of another good season because of the return of lettermen D.A. Thomas, Skyler Harris, Bennie Curtis, Sean Morris and Dakes Press.

“We have an experienced team that should play solid basketball,” coach Derek Howard said. “Expectations for us are pretty high.”

WILLIAM CHRISMAN

Letter winners Carter Martin, Adam Woods, Nick Richardson, Devin Spencer, Mike Hobbs and Jordan Warner boost the Bears hopes of rebounding from a tough 0-24 season.

“We have nowhere to go but up after the experience of last year that requires changing minds, hearts, attitudes and bodies,” Chrisman coach John Vickers said.

“We also really need good leadership but to have good leadership you have to also want to follow. We are seeking both right now. We hope we can have our questions answered very soon in the affirmative.”

FORT OSAGE

Nine letter winners from a 5-19 team give the Indians an experienced look. They are Alex Greer, Shawyne Parsons, Jeremy Crane, Lazerius Wooten, D’Vante Mosby, Cody Crabb, Austin Retier, Zach Adams and Drew Standifer.

“We have a good nucleus of players coming back,” coach Josh Wilson said. “We have lots of speed and size. The key will be how well we play together. We need our role players to step up more this year.”

BELTON

The Pirates also return nine lettemen in Zac Sweets, Philip Begaye, Blain Bollinger, Matt Sherer, Deion Lewis, Joston Branch, Avan Ward, Kyle Simmons and P.T. Mahoney.

“We have been playing young for the last two years,” coach Greg Martin said. “That experience should pay off in our competitiveness.

“Wee have a solid core of players who have been playing together for a number of years. They have taken their lumps. They are hungry. Their biggest obstacle is learning how to win.

“We are  team with a lot of pieces. If we can learn how to play as a team and put those pieces together we should see success this season. Rebounding will be the key to our season’s success.”

Belton was 1-24 last season.