The final boys basketball season as a one-school district could be rewarding for Liberty.

The final boys basketball season as a one-school district could be rewarding for Liberty.

The Examiner’s poll of the coaches has Liberty as the choice to claim a fourth consecutive championship. Lee’s Summit North placed second followed by Blue Springs South, Lee’s Summit, Raymore-Peculiar, Blue Springs and St. Joseph Central.

Seven lettermen return from a 22-7 Liberty team that advanced to the state Class 5 quarterfinals and went 12-0 in the conference.

“The success of our season will be determined how well we play defense and rebound” said coach Roger Stirtz.

Lettermen are Christian Brinser, J.T. Nixon, Luke Lee, Marcus Lucas, Denton Koon and Bryan Adams. Newcomer Marshon Norflett is expected to contribute.

LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH: The Broncos could rebound from a 10-15 season because of letter winners B.J. Dunbar, Chase Salazar, Kenny Berry and Deion Herron and newcomers David Knavish, P.J. Lewis and Will Harrington. Kravish, a 6-foot-9 junior, is expected to start.

“The youth movement that began a couple of years ago hopefully will begin to pay off this season,” Broncos coach Mike Hilbert said. “We plan on starting three guys who have played at the varsity level for most of the past two seasons and our top six players all have varsity experience.

“I feel good about where we are starting and I have high hopes for this team. I think the conference race is wide open and maybe from top to bottom about as evenly matched as any league in the city.”

BLUE SPRINGS SOUTH: South comes off a tough 8-18 season.

But lettermen Brandon Murillo, Darrion Geiger, Drake Patterson and Shawn Meyer and newcomers Riley King, Keenan Brown and Zach Wilbers give the Jaguars a solid nucleus.

“Strengths are shooting and experience but a weakness is a lack of size,” coach Jimmy Cain said. “Question marks are how well we defend, rebound and take care of the ball.”

LEE’S SUMMIT: Letter winners Sean Green, Ladarius Whitehead, Jared Sanders, Nathan Schumacher, Sam Sealer, Skyler Arbuckle and Corbin Berkstresser could enable the Tigers to atone for a 10-16 season.

“We have good perimeter shooting, smart players, who are willing to share the ball,” coach Keith Miller said. “But we lack a player who can get his own shot and a low post player both on offense and defense.”

RAYMORE-PECULIAR: The Panthers appear stronger because of lettermen Josh Stockman, Tony Jones, Deron Washington, Austin Hill and Jeron Hill return from a 9-17 team.

“We really like this year’s group,” Panthers coach Scott Jermain said. “They are a good group of kids that seem to have a passion for being good. Our strength is going to be in our ability to defend the basketball. We have also some size and mismatches we hope will give team fits.”

Jermain is also high on newcomer Cameron Coffman, a 6-foot, 3-inch junior.

“He is going to bring to bring a lot to our team.”

BLUE SPRINGS: Lettermen Drew Moore and Jordan Nubine are the only returnees from an 11-15 team.

“In what has been a continuing trend we will have a group of older players with little varsity experience,” coach Frank Wheeler said. “Our success will depend on how well these new players respond to the speed and physicality of the varsity game.

“We will be very dependent on our two returning starters.”

ST. JOSEPH CENTRAL: Central was the league’s biggest surprise last season, going 13-13 overall and tying for second place in the conference.

“We have two returning starters to provide much needed leadership to a young, inexperienced team,” coach Neal Hook said.

Lettermen are Jared Fox, Keaton Steele, Cooper Krauss, Evan Brown and Ross Thessen.


Suburban Big Seven Boys

Basketball Coaches Poll

School         1    2    3    4    5    6        TP

1. Liberty    4    1    1    0    0    0    —    9

2. Lee’s Summit North    2    3    0    1    0    0    —    12

3. Blue Springs South    0    2    3    0    0    1    —    19

4. Lee’s Summit    1    0    1    2    1    1    —    23

5. Raymore-Peculiar    0    1    2    0    1    2    —    25

6. Blue Springs    0    0    0    3    2    1    —    28

7. St. Joseph Central    0    0    0    1    3    2    —    31