Under new coach, Mehlville boys eye basketball success


For the Call

Last season was a rough one for the Mehl-ville Senior High boys’ basketball team.

The Panthers managed just a 4-22 mark with a 0-7 record in Suburban West Con-ference play, but new head coach Andy Guethle does not believe their record is a good indicator as to how the team played last year.

“I thought that our 4-22 record wasn’t indicative of how we played and how hard we practiced,” Guethle said. “I feel as if we have something to prove this season.”

Guethle joined the Panthers after spending the previous year as the team’s assistant coach. He also spent one season as the La-fayette freshman coach and two years as the Truman State University graduate assis-tant/junior varsity coach.

Mehlville returns two of its top offensive threats from last season in seniors Nick Dubuque and Rodney Heard.

Heard averaged 10.8 points and 5.6 rebounds a game last season, while racking up a team-leading 115 assists. The Panth-ers’ starting point guard also had 41 steals and 11 blocked shots.

“Rodney is the guy that makes this team go,” Guethle said. “He’s super strong and a hard-nosed player. There’s just no quitting in that guy.”

Complementing Heard in the backcourt is Dubuque, who’s proved to be a strong outside scoring threat. The shooting guard racked up 10.1 points per game last year and nailed a team-leading 56 three-pointers.

“Nick’s a good shooter and a good lead-er,” Guethle said. “I think that he’s going to reap the benefit of kicking out the ball when teams go after Rodney.”

Filling the Panther’s backcourt is senior Ryan Carter, who posted 3.5 points and 2.1 rebounds a game last season. He also had 37 assists, 35 steals and four blocked shots during the 2003-’04 campaign.

“Ryan’s a kid that’s as sharp as a tack and picks things up quickly,” Guethle said. “We’re hoping for big things from him this year.”

Guethle also is excited about the play of senior Jeff Shipp. The forward has set the example in practice this season while playing with a lot of pain.

“I joked with coach Smith last year that he’s a warrior just because of his long hair,” Guethle said. “The long hair’s gone, but I think he’s been playing with a lot of pain, which sets an example for the younger guys. He’s a player that’s going to get some points and a lot of rebounds this season.”

The Panthers also expect big things from seniors Scott John, Ronald Roberts, Dan Treadway, James Lee and Demeko Johnson.

“With the kind of kids we’ve got, I’m pretty excited,” Guethle said. “I think that we can be a lot better than people think we are.”

The Panthers open the season at the Southside Classic, playing Hancock at 8 p.m. Monday at Affton High School.