Mehlville High boys’ basketball team dedicates season to former teammate

By STEPHEN GLOVER

When the Mehlville Senior High School boys’ basketball team takes the court Tuesday for the home opener against Vianney, it will be an emotional night for the Panthers.

The night will be a celebration of the life of former teammate Kyle Horvat, who died in an automobile accident Aug. 4 in Franklin County. Horvat was a key contributor to the team’s turnaround last season when Mehlville posted a 14-12 record after going 4-22 during 2005-2006.

Horvat averaged 6.9 points and 0.7 re-bounds per game last season while nailing down 38 shots from three-point range. He also recorded 45 assists and 21 steals.

“We’re really going to miss him on the floor,” Mehlville head coach Andy Guethle said. “The guys really took it hard and I believe that Tuesday’s going to be real emotional. We’ll obviously never forget him, but we’re going to have to realize that we’ve got to move on.”

Mehlville’s top returning offensive threat from last season is junior forward Aaron Alexander, who averaged 8.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. He also generated 23 assists, 14 steals and five blocked shots.

“Aaron’s got a big frame, great hands and has a good basketball sense,” Guethle said. “He got a lot of experience last year and we’re looking for him to be a big contributor this year. “

Senior forward Carlton Washington also will make a significant impact after averaging 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds last season. He also had 26 assists, 28 steals and four blocked shots.

“Carlton’s another guy that’s very athletic,” Guethle said. “He’s pretty much a perimeter player that plays the guard/forward position for us.”

Senior guard Alexis Reedus joined the team last weekend after helping the Mehlville football team to a second-place finish in the Missouri Class 6 state finals. Reedus averaged 2.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game last year while racking up 14 assists, 11 steals and three blocked shots.

“Alexis is probably one of our better athletes,” Guethle said. “He’s a good slasher and defender. He’s a very physical player and had a good summer.”

The Panthers also will depend on senior forward Kyle Crawford, who averaged 1.7 points and 1.5 rebounds last season.

“We’ll essentially need him to do a good job rebounding and guarding the post,” Guethle said. “I think that his hard work in the off season will pay off as well.”

Admir Alic saw limited action last season as he averaged just 1.5 points and 1.1 re-bounds per game. But Guethle believes that the senior guard’s hard work in the offseason will produce big dividends.

“Admir played limited minutes last year, but he’s worked hard in the weight room,” Guethle said. “He’s probably our most improved player this season.”

Senior guard T.J. Young may have played in only eight games last season, but his hard work during practice could make him a significant contributor this year.

“T.J.’s a good defender that saw limited action last year,” Guethle said. “He’s been working real hard in practice the past couple of weeks.”

The Panthers will play host to Vianney at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“We’ll be dedicating our season to Kyle that night and we’re planning on hanging his jersey in the gym for all of our home games,” Guethle said. “I don’t really know how the guys will react that night, but they have to realize that we’ve got to keep moving on.”