The Cuba High School boys basketball teams officially tip off their season Tuesday when they traveled to Houston to take on the Tigers. The Wildcats will play their first home games on Tuesday, December 3, when they host the Owensville Dutchmen.
Head Coach Brett Joseph is now in his fourth year coaching the Wildcats and he said fans can expect a bit of a different looks from his team for the 2019-20 season.
“I am going to incorporate a little different system of play this year on both offense and defense,” said Joseph, who now in his ninth year of coaching. “I am going to expect a lot of hard work and determination from this group. I am also going to expect our returning starters to be leaders on this team on and off the court. This will be my most athletic team I have had since I’ve been at Cuba.”
The Wildcats were 5-20 overall last season and 2-2 in Gasconade Valley Conference play. Cuba’s varsity returns two starters from the 2018-19 team that lost five seniors, including three starters, Jonathan Bayless, Austin Shockley, and Alex Noltkamper.
The biggest loss for the Wildcats was Bayless, who averaged 13.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game a year ago and shot 62 percent from the free-throw line and 30 percent from behind the three-point are. He was selected to both the all-conference and all-district team as well as the all-tournament team at the Owensville and Belle tournaments.
Last season was Joseph’s third year as the head coach of the Wildcats.
“We implemented a new style of offense and defense. It was our first year playing man-to-man so we took some bumps. But we got better as the year went on. On offense, we struggled to score last season, so I am changing it up for this year.”
The Wildcats were fourth in conference play. They also won their first district game in seven years, a 61-53 victory over Bourbon, which was one of the year’s top accomplishments for the team.
Returning starters and lettermen for this season include: three seniors, 6-0 Simon Siebert, 6-0 Logan Ray and 6-3 Al Palmer. Siebert averaged 10.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last season, while Ray had four points and three. Palmer averaged seven points and four rebonds.
“(Simon) will do whatever we ask him to do to make the team better,” said Joseph. “He will be asked to score and run our offense this year. He is a very athletic kid so he will really help in our press and on the boards. He was an all-conference player last year and I expect big things from him this year too.”
Joseph said Ray got “a lot of varsity time last year” and “is a high-energy player and will be asked to do a lot this year. He had a really good off-season. He is one of our better shooters so we will need him to hit shots to take the pressure off some of our other players.”
Palmer, who had a breakout season last year, “played mostly JV as a sophomore so he had to grow up fast as a basketball player,” Joseph said. “He will play a big role on both ends of the floor this year. He was also an all-conference player a year ago.”
Others that will be playing varsity for the Wildcats this season include seniors Logan Chilton and Jayden Burke, juniors Jarrett Shelton, Garrett Sellers, and Tucker Brown, sophomore Dylan Keogh, and freshman Dylan Beal.
Joseph thinks the GVC will be wide open this season and hopes his squad can compete for the championship. “I believe that any team can come out on top this year in conference play,” he said. “There are multiple teams that are very close to each other. And I am very excited to coach this group of young men. I can’t wait for our first game to get here.”
Joseph will be assisted again this year by Roger Siwak.