Fresh off a season in which they won a share of the Southern Illinois River To River Conference- Mississippi Division, and a Regional Championship, the Nashville Hornets are poised for another postseason run. The Hornets will be without three key contributors this season, as Royce Newman, Jaris Dalman, and Brady Bultman graduated. Still, the Hornets return key pieces from last season that look to continue the success the Hornets have had over the past five years.
It'll be tough to replace the pieces they lost last season, but the Hornets are up for the challenge. The Hornets go into the season, having to replace Newman, who was All-Conference and All-South for all four years of high school. Newman finished his career as the second all-time scorer at Nashville High School with 1,756 career points. Newman scored 17 points per game last season. Brady Bultman, who was named All-Conference, and All-South last season, scored 12 points per game for Nashville last season. Dalman, who was a defensive specialist for Nashville last season, usually drew the opposing team's best offensive player. Dalman scored 4.4 points per game last season.
As the Hornets look to move forward, they will turn to seniors Hayden Heggemeier, Ryan Brink and Brogan Kemp. All three seniors saw a lot of playing time as juniors. Heggemeier scored seven points per game last season, to go along with four rebounds per game, and 1.3 assists per game. Brink scored 8.6 points per game, and is a threat from behind the three-point line as he finished with 54 three pointers last season. Kemp, the tallest member of team this season, scored six points per game last year, to go along with four rebounds per game.
The Hornets will have a plethora of other players in the mix as they will look to Langdon Briles, Bryce Bultman, Brandon Schnitker, Cameron Parker, Trevor Meier, and Carson Parker to play key varsity minutes this season.
Coach Brad Weathers talked about the team going into the season. "We will certainly be a different look without Royce in the lineup for the first time in four years, and Brady Bultman the last two. However, the Hornets do return three players who started or saw extensive playing time last year in Heggemeier, Brink and Kemp. In addition, there
will be several players up from last year's underclass teams expected to contribute heavily. Although not nearly as big overall as in recent years, we do have size and strength in the 6-6 Kemp. We should have considerable depth and skill at the guard spots."
The Hornets will play a difficult schedule this season, which starts with the Lebanon/Wesclin Thanksgiving tournament. The Hornets will have their work cut out for them in the tournament as they face tough non-conference opponents in Columbia, Wesclin and Lebanon. The Hornets begin the conference schedule on December 9, when they travel to Anna-Jonesboro to face the Wildcats. The first home game of the season, comes against Waterloo Gibault on December 10. The Hornets play a tough conference schedule,to go along with the Mater Dei Holiday Tournament, which will be held December 27-30, and the Nashville Invitational Tournament, which will be held January 16-21. The Hornets final home game of the season is against Pinckneyville on February 11. Nashville ends the regular season against DuQuoin on February 17.