Preseason rankings for Suburban Small Six boys basketball teams

A tight Suburban Small Six boys basketball race appears likely.
Grandview, in The Examiner’s poll of the coaches, drew the most first-place votes with four in gaining the early-season nod. But Kearney and Hickman Mills each attracted one first-place vote and three seconds in  tying for second.
Ruskin was fourth followed by newcomers Platte County and Staley.
A new champion is assured as Lee’s Summit West has moved up to the Suburban Middle Six.
“We were a disappointing 13-13 last year,” coach Randy Farris said. “We must win the close ones. We will be extremely deep. We will force up temp with our defense and bring in fresh people. When we get our game to the floor we can compete with anyone.”
The Bulldogs will be led by eight lettermen.
HICKMAN MILLS: Expectations are high the Cougars can improve upon a 14-11 record because of lettermen Tristian Logan, Brian Whitaker, Josh Jones and Stephon Sharp.
“We are quick, athletic and have a little more size than the last two years,” coach Chuck Pohlman said. “We should be competitive with any team we play. There will be a big time emphasis on defense. We have a long way to go but the goal is to be the team no one wants to play.”
KEARNEY: Tyler Funk, Dillon Starzl, Conrad Schottel, Josh Klenda, Drew Lentz and Damen Williams return from a 20-8 team.
“We will need to replace three graduated starters from last year’s district championship team,” coach Gary Belcher said. “We have good size and depth at all positions. We hope to improve as the year goes along and made a run at a third consecutive district title.”
RUSKIN: Coach Gerry Marlin rebuilds around junior lettermen Kenyan Borders and James Jarrett.
“We will probably be the youngest team in the conference,” Marlin said. “But will be exciting and constantly improving throughout the year.”
The Eagles were 19-10 last year and tied Kearney for second place in the conference.
PLATTE COUNTY: Platte County is counting upon lettermen Bryce Brownsberger, Jacob Hardie, Marty Beamer, Matt Howard-Darling, Jake Hawkins and Bobby Wilbur from a 13-12 team to make an impact in its first year in the conference.
“We eagerly anticipate the beginning of a new season,” coach Rick Hodge said.
STALEY: Because of no seniors and no letter winners it will be an interesting  season for Staley.
“We will have many challenges to overcome and have to get through some growing pains,” coach Pete Gaskill said. “But if they can learn from those mistakes, band together, continue to develop and improve, I think this team can begin to play some good basketball as the season progresses.”