Rams basketball on a mission for success in 2019-2020 season


Brandyn Wilcoxen , Sports Editor

One year ago, the Mt. Vernon Rams basketball team had South Seven championship aspirations. On Friday, February 22nd, 2019, the mission was accomplished. In 2019-20, the mission remains: win.

The new season’s edition of Rams basketball sees much of the same team returning from the previous year. Leading the way are Jackson Creel, ‘20, Simon Wilson, ‘20, and Amir Spann, ‘20, all returning with starting roles from the 2018-19 campaign; the latter senior is returning from a season-ending knee injury suffered in a February 8th matchup against the Centralia Orphans.

Filling the void left by Spann’s untimely battlewound are Quani Rudd, ‘21, and Carson Prost, ‘21, joined by Dylan Harkins, ‘21 and Hunter Simmons, ‘21 in a talented junior class that led the 2018-19 junior varsity squad to an undefeated season. Although Spann is set to recover and reassert his role in the starting lineup, the aforementioned Rudd and Prost are positioned to take their own places in the starting lineup, replacing the recently-graduated Weston Brockhouse, ‘19, and Lukas Cooper, ‘19.

Since finishing 2017 with a 8-21 record, Coach Creel’s crew has accumulated 35 wins against 22 losses with two consecutive trips to the IHSA Regional semifinal round. After the team claimed their first South Seven conference championship in two decades, the new year brings new opportunities, including a potentially deeper run in the postseason to win their first Regional championship since 2016.

While no current MV students were on that postseason squad, one figure that has been a mainstay in the program is head coach Doug Creel, who is entering his nineteenth combined year at the helm of the Mt. Vernon Rams. By his side are assistant and jv coach Lance Boldt and Freshman basketball coach Zeke Light, both of whom are returning from last year.

The Rams will begin the 2019-2020 basketball season against the Herrin Tigers at the Pyramid Plus Tournament hosted by Carterville High School. The game is scheduled for 7:30 PM on Monday, November 25th, preceded by Collinsville vs. Carterville at 6:00.