Meade Johnson, now a junior guard, is among the Green Wave players who could make a difference this season. (photo/Ron Ghere)

Ryan Ghere enters his third season as coach of the boys basketball. Mattoon posted a 19-10, 8-4 in the Apollo Conference last season, reaching the regional semifinals. The Green Wave graduated four seniors from that team, but Ghere remains optimistic that the team can compete in a tournament championship and play well in the conference. Ghere, who also coaches both the boys and girls soccer teams, responded to some questions from Coles County Sports.

Coles County Sports: With a week’s worth of practice and off-season work, how would rate the team right now?

Ghere: We are getting better each day. It is hard to tell how good we are going to be.  We have a lot of new faces on the varsity after losing six seniors, four of whom started for us last year.

CCS:  Do you set season goals?

Ghere: Our main goal is to continue to improve. We want to have a record that is above .500. We want to get at least one postseason win.

CCS: Individually, who has stood out so far?

Ghere: Our big guys have shown real growth from last year.  Alex Yardley and Sam Bradbury have looked good in practice.

CCS: What style of tempo do you want to use this year?

Ghere: We want to pound the ball inside in the half-court, but would like to get defensive rebounds and get out and run with our guards as well.

CCS: Not having your son on the team makes it easier or tougher to coach?

Ghere: Not having a son on the team doesn’t seem any different.  I treated him just like all of the other players so I haven’t really noticed it.

CCS: What do you expect at the St. Anthony tourney to start the season?

Ghere:  Our goal is always to play for a tournament championship. We fell just short in the finals last year. Our pool is tougher this year with Teutopolis in it, but our goal is still the same.

CCS: Thoughts on this year’s Apollo Conference teams?

Ghere: I think the Apollo Conference will be tough again. Lincoln has all of their guards back from last year. Mahomet still has the (Grant) Coleman kid who is maybe the best player in the conference. Effingham is going to be tough when they get their football kids in basketball shape. 

CCS: Coaching three sports at the high school. How do you keep up the energy?

Ghere: I just love to coach.  I had two weeks off after soccer season and started to get bored.  I am ready to go again for the winter.

CCS: When will you settle on a starting five?

Ghere: We may not settle on any starting five this year.  We have 10 or 11 guys who could all start at different times. Right now, the starting lineup changes each day.

CCS: Who are your team leaders?

Ghere: We’re waiting for leaders to emerge still.  We lost a lot of leadership last year. We are waiting for someone to really step up.  It hasn’t happened yet, though.

Mattoon 2019-20 roster

2Cam’Ron ThomasG6-0Jr
3Josiah MortonG6-1Sr
4Meade JohnsonG6-2Jr
5Malik Carter SmithG6-1Jr
10Jaylen MiddletonG6-3So
11Dalton ComptonG6-2Sr
12Mason WrightF6-2Sr
13Pierce FarmerF6-0Jr
14Korleone Faulkner ElliottG5-11Sr
15Kobe CardwellG5-6So
20Cooper BergstromG5-11So
21Kegan KirtsF6-2Jr
22Alex YardleyC6-6Sr
23Samuel BradburyC6-5So
24Hayden WilliamsF6-2Jr