Vandals to battle Cougars in opener

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By Andrew Harner

A pair of rebuilding teams will meet at Vandalia High School next Tuesday in the boys basketball opener for two county teams.

South Central will travel north on Ill. Route 185 that night for a county clash against the Vandals.

Just two returning players will start for each team – senior Colton Woolsey and junior Collin Nestleroad for Vandalia and sophomores Brett Harmeier and Chase Riley for South Central.

“A down year for (Vandalia) is still a good year for most teams,” said Cougars coach Rick Simmons. “They look, from a talent standpoint, that it’s a down year, but we’re replacing everybody, so you could say there’s no way we’ll do anything.

“I think in both cases, you’ll be surprised at what we come up with,” he said. “South Central playing Vandalia is a rivalry, and everyone rises to the occasion.”

The teams will match up well on the court, with each having two post players and three threats on the outside.

South Central brings two players at 6-foot-5 in senior Tyler Ross and sophomore Jon Arnold. Vandalia has a 6-foot-5 senior in Colton Woolsey and a solid junior in Luke Hollinshead.

Starters and reservists at guard should all be fairly matched, so the game will likely come down to shooting percentage and turnovers.

“We need to take shots when our guys are open and on-balance,” said Vandalia coach Brian Buscher. “Our guys can score, but I’m not worried about who scores, as long as we are taking good shots on the floor.”

The JV game will begin at 6 p.m.

Vandalia won last year’s matchup, 46-26.