By Kyle Daubs

The old saying “get back to the drawing board” came in handy this week. 

After opening the season with a 65-48 win over Mount Zion on Friday, the Charleston boys basketball team looked like a different team in their loss to Mahomet-Seymour on Saturday. Coach Brad Oakley’s synopsis chalked it up to ball movement. 

“We need to focus on what helped us be successful vs Mt. Zion,” said Oakley. “We need to move the ball. Friday we had 22 assists on 23 field goals. (On) Saturday, eight assists on 14 field goals. We took some tough shots Saturday. Need to do a better job working for good shots on each possession.”

A lot of that ball movement comes from senior guard Cory Spour, who leads the team with 9.5 assists per game. Jaksen Braun leads the Trojans with 17.5 points per game and 10.5 rebounds while Sam Bickford adds 12.0 points and 5.5 rebounds. 

We’ll need to focus on Bickford and Spour,” said Taylorville coach Ryan Brown. “Charleston loves to run so getting back on defense and forcing them to run half court offense will be a challenge for us.”

Taylorville is 1-2 to start the season. The Tornadoes dropped back-to-back games against Lincoln and Effingham before beating Porta on Saturday. 

“Lincoln is Lincoln,” said Brown. “They are extremely good on defense and make few mistakes on offense. And after beating Lanphier on Saturday night, Lincoln could win every game the rest of the season. Effingham is a great offensive team.  They could put 80 points on the board without much effort.”

Taylorville lost its all-time leading scorer in Jase Bergschneider from last season, who broke a 68-year-old record by scoring more than 1,700 career points. The team now features Wyatt Shirley, Mason Clayton, Dylan Brown, Sean Czajowksi, and Bryce Friedrich in the starting lineup. 

“Taylorville has some really good players and some size,” said Oakley. “They mix up defenses a little so we will have to recognize what defense they are in and move the ball to get a good look at each possession.”

Brown said that Taylorville had to adjust to being a more defensive unit this year.

“I feel our defense has vastly improved from seasons past,” said Brown.  “We used to be able to just outscore teams but this team has a different level of toughness about them.  They enjoy stopping teams from scoring and we have the physicality to do it.”

Oakley wants his team to limit mistakes tonight. 

“We need to take care of the ball and limit our turnovers,” said Oakley. “We had 16 and 17 turnovers in our two games last weekend.”