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Villa Grove Heritage Hawks look to reload in competitive new conference

By Tony Hooker
Head Coach Corey White is in his fourth year at the helm of the Villa Grove Heritage Hawks Boys’ Basketball program.  He recently took time to answer a few questions about his team. 

What was your record in 2018-19?  What are your thoughts about last season?

We were 23-8 last year.  We were able to accomplish some achievements that we hoped that we could.  We won the BSN Classic at Christmas and the LOVC SE Division Championship.  We had hoped to win a regional as well but fell short in the semifinal against Unity.  Overall, the season was very successful and the type of season that we have building towards over the last few seasons.

Who are some key losses from last year’s team?

We lost a couple three-year starters in Jared Stevens and Evan Wilson.  Jared and Will Wilson were our leading scorers last year, so we must replace that scoring void.  Evan and Will also were a big part of our rebounding.  Bryce Dalle, Kane Davison and Cole Thomas were great role players that knew what we needed out of them on a nightly basis.

Who are key returnees this season?

Ierik Sorenson, Blake Smith, Jake Eversole and Logan Nohren are all guys that started at least one game last season.  Ierik has had a role for us since his sophomore year.  His season was cut short last year due to injury.  He is back this year healthy and his speed and athleticism will give other teams issues.  Blake will take on the role of point guard that Jared graduating has left.  His speed and vision of the floor are hard to contain.  He always looks to pass first but can score as well.  Jake started most of the season for us last year and was our third leading scorer.  He will have to adjust to teams focusing on stopping him.  His height and length with the ability to attack the basket and shoot will allow him to be able to continue to be one of our top scorers.  He also set a school record for steals last year and will look to break it again this season.  Logan will take on most of our rebounding responsibilities.  He will also be looked at to be our low post scoring threat, but he can also step outside and hit shots as well.  His ability to defend without fouling will be a huge factor during this season.

Any newcomers who are finding roles?

Anthony Arbuckle, Sam Reno, Matt Gulick, Nick Coffin, Issac Mahoe and Carson Howard are going to be newcomers that we must count on during the season.  Anthony will be asked to play in the post and his ability to defend and rebound will be crucial.  Sam brings energy and leadership to the floor with the ability to knock down an occasional shot.  Matt will be our backup point guard and will need to take care of the basketball.  Nick can shoot from anywhere in the gym and will look to gain confidence as the season goes along.  Issac can be a difference maker for this team as he will be counted on to bring energy off the bench with his ability to play defense and knock down shots.  Carson comes back to basketball after a couple years off but has knocked off a little more rust every time he steps on the floor.

What are your expectations for this years’ team?

Our expectations do not change from year to year, it is just our players that do.  We want to compete to win every tournament that we enter.  We are playing in a new conference this year that should be very competitive.  Having said that, we still expect to compete for and win a conference championship.  I have never been a coach that likes to put a win total on a season.  As we go through the season, we focus on the next game and winning it.  At the end of the year, hopefully we have won more than we lost and have accomplished some of our goals.

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