The 2021-22 season was up and down for the Jamestown Eagles basketball team largely due to injuries. The Eagles lost a starter to a torn ACL just after Christmas and another starter was lost to injury two weeks before the Class 1 District 10 playoffs. Head coach Caleb Thomas also suffered from a torn ACL in January but was still able to coach the Eagles. Jamestown ended last year with an 11-16 record.
Going into the 2022-23 campaign, Thomas and his coaching staff have decided to cut down on their three-point attempts. The Eagles averaged just under 11 three-point attempts per game last season, with seniors Bradley and Evan Schoenthal taking just under half of those attempts. With the graduation of the Schoenthal twins, Thomas wants his team to be more collective and get every one of his players involved in every stage of the game.
"This year's team is going to be different from last year's team in a lot of different ways. We aren't going to be as three-point heavy this season, while we won't turn down open looks, we aren't going to force the issue behind the arc. We are going to have a lot more depth this season, we lost six seniors, but we gained five freshmen, three seniors are coming back to the team, one is junior coming back, and we have a new student," Thomas said. " We have ten players this year and we can use them in different ways, to go along with some returners that played a lot last season. We are going to be much quicker than last year, youth movement and some returning to the program players with fresh legs."
Thomas says that he likes the look of his team going into the season and the contributions that his players can bring. Among those players are sophomore Tyler Wilson, who Thomas said will provide scoring and strong defense, and senior Skylar Duncan, who saw playing time as a part-time starter last year.
Thomas likes the progression that his team is making in practice during the pre-season and he said that the Eagles are a team that can make some noise in the district with their team defense and the depth of their lineup from top to bottom.
"Our strengths this season are going to be our speed, athleticism, defense and depth. All of our new bodies have provided us with an upgrade in overall athleticism, which will help shape our identity the way we want on the defensive side," Thomas said. "Our weaknesses will be size, outside shooting and experience. With all the new bodies for us this season, we are a little bit of a mystery right now."
Thomas expressed there are some questions for the team regarding experience for the upcoming season. Four players are returning to the program after not playing last season and a student new to the district that also did not play.
The only team with a winning record that Jamestown beat last season was South Callaway on Feb. 19. A big reason for this was the inconsistency that plagued the Eagles in the second and third quarters during some of their games.
Thomas hopes that those experiences will help his team deal with the pressure that comes with those situations.
"I have a couple of goals for our team this season. I want us to play all four quarters every game. We had a few instances last season where we played really well through two to three quarters, but couldn't start or finish the way we wanted. I also want us to play our defense the way we can. Our new speed and depth should make this an accomplishable goal. I'd also like us to have a clean conference record, be competitive in all of the tournaments we play in and display the sportsmanship that Jamestown prides itself in," Thomas said. "The Eagles are going to be a fun team to watch this year. We plan on playing a fast-paced and hard-nosed style of basketball. So come on out and support our guys. It means everything to us."
The Eagles tip-off their season on Nov. 22 at St. Elizabeth.