PREVIEW Boys’ varsity basketball takes on Jennings Friday night

Mikayla Bridges, Sports Reporter

Head coach Kelly Thames is familiar with the Jennings basketball program. He graduated from the school and was selected Mr. Show-Me Basketball in 1993 as the best high school basketball player in Missouri.

Now Thames teaches and coaches at Pattonville High school and welcomes his alma mater to the gym for a tough match-up on Friday night.

The Warriors (3-1) are coming in off a win over Blue Springs South, while the Pirates (1-6) got their first win of the season over Warrenton on Wednesday.

There are some big differences between the two teams, some of which can be easily seen on the court. To start, half of the Warriors are over 6-feet-4-inches tall. On the other hand, the tallest Pirate is 6-foot-4-inch Julius Erby. Another difference is the experience of the two teams. The Warriors have no freshmen on the roster, whereas Pattonville has a freshman starter in Kellen Thames. However, both teams are nearly even in the number of 2018 seniors they lost. The warriors had 8 graduates, while Pattonville had 7.

The two Pirates to watch in this game are senior Andre Webb and freshman Kellen Thames.

Webb leads the team in rebounds with 35, and most of his rebounds come from the defensive end. On the offensive side, Webb has made over 50 percent of his field goal shots and is 70 percent from the free throw line.

Thames currently leads the team in points (85), assists (37), and steals (14).

Jennings has more balanced talent on their team with their top scorer, assister, and stealer being three different people. Their two players to watch are seniors Donzell Carter and Elijah Hicks. Carter has been a force off the glass with 41 rebounds. His effort is almost even on both ends of the court resulting in a nearly even number of offensive and defensive rebounds. Hicks has been the team’s leading scorer averaging 14.3 points per game. Being a top scorer isn’t new for Hicks. Last year, he was the team’s 2nd leading scorer with 356 points in 30 games.

If Pattonville is going to beat the team that finished third in last year’s Missouri Class 4 tournament, they are going to have to hone in on defense and not let Jennings build up a lead. Once the game is close, the Pirates will need to generate lots of ball movement so they can get open shots.

The game will be live streamed on Facebook and The contest tips off at 7 p.m.