Pacific Returns Four Starters, Focuses on Improving Offense - The Missourian: Sports

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Pacific Returns Four Starters, Focuses on Improving Offense

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Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013 9:00 am

Hopes and expectations are high this season for the boys basketball squad at Pacific High School.

The Indians return four starters from last season’s team that went 16-10 overall, 5-2 in the Four Rivers Conference and won both the Owensville and Union Tournaments.

Pacific was picked to win the Four Rivers Conference by the league’s head coaches.

“We’re excited about the season. We had a great defensive team last season, probably the best I’ve ever had here. There’s no reason to believe we won’t be even better defensively this season,” said Pacific Head Coach John VanLeer. “We’ve really focused on shooting the basketball during the offseason. So far in practice, you can see the difference in the way we’re shooting. Hopefully that shows when we start playing games.”

Pacific’s top returner is 6-4 junior guard Cullen VanLeer, an all-state player who averaged 18 points per game last season.

VanLeer missed last season’s district tournament with a knee injury, but is back at full strength and ready to go.

“Cullen is 100 percent and looks good. Watching him play now, he’s much stronger and much more explosive than he was last year. He’s worked hard in the weight room,” VanLeer said. “We’ll look for him to be more of a leader. Not only do we need him to score, but we need him to distribute the ball and to rebound.”

Pacific’s other returning starters are 6-2 senior forward Jeff Hinkle, 5-10 senior guard Tanner Brown and 6-0 junior guard Noah Boyer.

“Jeff is an important post player for us. He’s a great athlete and a good defender. He’s worked on his shot and now can knock down a 15-footer. We really need him on the boards and to keep balls alive,” VanLeer said. “Tanner also is a good athlete who has been shooting the ball well in practice. He’s also a great defender. Noah has grown about three inches and is over six feet now. He shot the ball well for us last year and has gotten a lot stronger, which has allowed him to be able to take the ball to the basket. He’s a much more versatile player.”

VanLeer said he’s undecided on who his fifth starter will be.

The leading candidates are senior guards Zach Kraus, 5-9, and Chris Klenke, 5-10, and senior forward Logan Armstrong, 6-4.

“Zach has gotten quicker and is a great on-the-ball defender. When he’s in the game, he’ll play point guard and Cullen will play somewhere else,” VanLeer said. “Chris played almost every day during the summer and has really improved his game. He’s a good athlete and a good defender. Logan has worked hard in the weight room. He looks like a different kid. He’s 6-4 and 215 pounds. He has a nice touch on his shot and we’ll need him to rebound.”

Other players on the varsity roster are 6-2 senior forward Stephen Johnson, 5-10 junior guards Tristan Moore, Bailey Watson and Alex Rice and 5-11 freshman guard Jacob Klenke.

“Stephen will be Jeff’s backup in the post. He can rebound and score around the basket,” VanLeer said. “Tristan is a great athlete who can shoot the ball. Bailey and Alex give us depth at the guard position. Jacob will split time between the varsity and junior varsity teams. He can shoot the ball.”

The Indians host a jamboree against Washington and Kirkwood Friday starting at 5 p.m.

Pacific is in the Blue Division of the Borgia Thanksgiving Tournament. The Indians have pool games Wednesday, Nov. 27, against Herculaneum at 7 p.m. and Friday, Nov. 29, against Cardinal Ritter at 7:30 p.m.

The tournament concludes Saturday, Nov. 30. The schedule for the Blue Division is the consolation game at noon followed by the third-place contest at 4:30 p.m. and the championship game at 6 p.m.

Also in the Blue Division are McCluer North, Carnahan and Rockwood Summit.

“We’re in a tough bracket. There are a lot of athletic teams who can get up and down the floor. It will be a different style than the other bracket,” VanLeer said. “Our non-conference schedule is tough. We play Troy at the Norm Stewart Classic at Columbia College. We play a very good Jackson team at the Sullivan Shootout. We also have games against Washington, Borgia, De Soto, Salem and Farmington.”

VanLeer is being assisted by Scott Brown and Hart Hillhouse.

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Area Scoreboard

Football

Friday, Oct. 3

*Ft. Zumwalt E at Washington    7 p.m.

*St. Mary’s at Borgia    7 p.m.

*Union at Owensville    7 p.m.

*Hermann at St. Clair    7 p.m.

Festus at Pacific    7 p.m.

*Sullivan at St. James    7 p.m.

Cuba at Lincoln    7 p.m.

*Warrenton at Winfield    7 p.m.

*Wright City at Van-Far    7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 26

Union 54, Washington 14

*Borgia 45, Duchesne 7

*St. Clair 57, St. James 55 (2 OT)

*Pacific 40, Owensville 34

*Hermann 24, Sullivan 12

Cuba 74, Liberty Wentzville 7

Parkway West 20, Warrenton 7

Mark Twain 32, Wright City 18

Friday, Sept. 19

*Ft. Zumwalt S 56, Washington 7

Borgia 42, Cardinal Ritter 6

*Union 55, St. Clair 35

*Sullivan 27, Pacific 10

Owensville 19, Hermann 16

St. James 28, Ash Grove 7

Brentwood 41, Cuba 24

*St. Charles West 49, Warrenton 7

South Callaway 55, Wright City 6

Softball

Wednesday, Oct. 1

*Washington at Holt    4:30 p.m.

De Soto at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

Sullivan at Affton    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Steelville    4:30 p.m.

St. Clair at Montgomery Co    5 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 2

Owensville at Borgia    3:45 p.m.

Union at Salem    4:30 p.m.

Cuba at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Rockwood Summit at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

Sullivan at Rolla    4:30 p.m.

Father Tolton at Hermann    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Crocker    4:30 p.m.

New Haven at Montgomery Co    5 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 3

Belle at New Haven    5 p.m.

Pacific, Sullivan at Rolla Tny    TBA

Saturday, Oct. 4

Pacific, Sullivan at Rolla Tny    TBA

Monday, Oct. 6

Hermann at Borgia    3:45 p.m.

Union at Washington    4:30 p.m.

St. Clair at Festus    4:30 p.m.

Linn at New Haven    5 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 7

*Borgia at St. Dominic    4:30 p.m.

District Tournaments

Class 4 District 4

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(5) Rolla at (4) Northwest, 4:15 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 9

Rolla-Northwest winner at (1) Lafayette, 4:15 p.m.

(3) Washington at (2) Eureka, 4:15 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 10

Championship, Eureka, 4:15 p.m.

Class 3 District 7

At St. Dominic

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) Borgia vs. (5) Wentzville Liberty, 2:30 p.m.

(3) Winfield vs. (6) O’Fallon Christian, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 9

(1) St. Dominic vs. Borgia-Liberty winner, 2:30 p.m.

(2) Warrenton vs. Winfield-O’Fallon Christian winner, 4:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 10

Championship, 4 p.m.

Volleyball

Wednesday, Oct. 1

Hillsboro at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 2

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt N    5 p.m.

*St. Clair at Union    5 p.m.

*Pacific at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

*Hermann at Owensville    5:30 p.m.

*St. James at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

*St. Dominic at Borgia    6:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 3

Missouri Baptist JV at ECC    3 p.m.

Lewis & Clark at ECC    7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 4

Indian Hills at ECC    9 a.m.

^Southwestern Illinois at ECC    1 p.m.

St. Clair Tny    TBA

Hermann at Lebanon Tny    TBA

Crosspoint at MAC Tournament    TBA

Monday, Oct. 6

New Haven at Linn    5 p.m.

Borgia at Trinity    5:30 p.m.

Hazelwood West at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

Helias at Hermann    5:30 p.m.

Owensville at Blair Oaks    5:30 p.m.

Belle at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 7

*Washington at Holt    5 p.m.

*St.Clair at St. James    5 p.m.

*Owensville at Union    5:30 p.m.

*New Haven at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Sullivan at Hermann    5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 8

*Mineral Area at ECC    6:30 p.m.

Boys Soccer

Wednesday, Oct. 1

Warrenton at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Columbia Independent at Fulton SA    4:30 p.m.

Washington at Union    5 p.m.

Sullivan at North County    5 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 2

*Pacific at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Union at Sullivan    5 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 3

Lincoln at ECC    4 p.m.

Calvary Lutheran at Fulton SA    4:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at Heritage    5 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 5

Lincolnland at ECC    1 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 6

FRC Classic, St. Clair    TBA

Tuesday, Oct. 7

#St. Louis United B at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

*Thomas Jefferson at Fulton SA    4:30 p.m.

*Holt at Washington    5 p.m.

*St. Dominic at Borgia    6:15 p.m.

FRC Classic, St. Clair    TBA

Wednesday, Oct. 8

FRC Classic, St. Clair    TBA

Cross Country

Wednesday, Oct. 1

St. James Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 4

Washington at Parkway West Inv    9 a.m.

Pacific at Potosi Inv    11 a.m.

Borgia, Union Capital City Challenge    TBA

Tuesday, Oct. 7

Hermann Inv    4 p.m.

St. Clair, St. James at Cuba Inv    4 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 8

Borgia at AAA Meet, Lutheran SC    TBA

Boys Swimming

Monday, Sept. 29

Wednesday, Oct. 1

*Borgia at Lutheran SC/Christian    TBA

Saturday, Oct. 4

Borgia, Washington at Ft. Zumwalt N Inv    9 a.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 7

Washington at CBC    4 p.m.

*Conference Games

Racing News