Mehlville High boys’ basketball coach hoping hard work will pay off for team

Mehlville boys will play host to Oakville this Friday night

By STEPHEN GLOVER

Every season starts with a clean slate.

The Mehlville Senior High School boys’ basketball team hopes that a “clean slate” will help erase the frustrations of the 2005-2006 season when the Panthers went 4-22 overall with a record of 0-8 in Suburban West Conference play.

“We should be off to a better start than what we did last year,” Mehlville head coach Andy Guethle told the Call. “The kids have been working pretty hard in practice, and our defense has improved. We also returned a lot of guys this year.”

Returning to the Panthers this season will be senior forward David Williams, who led Mehlville in scoring (12.7 points per game), rebounds (6.4 rebounds per game) and blocked shots (5) last season. Williams was also a Second-Team All-Conference selection last season.

“David’s struggled early on this season, but he’ll come around,” Guethle said. “He’s a good strong player, and we’re going to need him to play well in order for us to win.”

Sophomore forward Aaron Alexander also returns to the starting lineup after averaging 10.1 points and 4.6 rebounds a game last season. Alexander also recorded six assists and seven steals last year.

“Aaron’s a wide body inside that’s a good rebounder,” Guethle said. “He’s a nice player that we’ll need to defend and re-bound well for us this season.”

The backcourt trio of junior Kyle Horvat and seniors Malcolm Crawford and Adam DuBuque also should be solid for the Panthers this season. Horvat averaged eight points and 1.9 rebounds a game last season while leading the team in assists (68). The junior point guard also racked up 16 steals last season for the Panthers.

“Kyle can really shoot the ball and is a hard-nosed player,” Guethle said. “He does a really nice job keeping us organized on the court.”

Crawford averaged 8.7 points a game and 1.9 rebounds a game last season while also recording 32 assists and 14 steals.

“Malcolm’s a solid defender that can shoot the ball really well,” Guethle said. “He’s a good, smart player that leads by example on the court. He’s the kind of guy you want on your team.”

DuBuque is another solid player in the backcourt. The senior guard averaged seven points and 2.2 rebounds a game along with 48 assists and a team-leading 30 steals.

“Adam’s a good defender,” Guethle said. “He started quite a few games last year and has really developed into more of a slasher than a defender.”

Seniors Tyler Schrader, Mike Headrick and Brett Cook also will figure into Mehlville’s success this season.

The Panthers will play host to rival Oakville at 7 p.m. Friday in a key Suburban West Conference game for both schools.