Charleston coach A.J. Alexander has only been able to see his team play once this season, despite jumping right into the Apollo Conference schedule this week. Blame a canceled holiday tournament last week. So expect adjustments both on and off the floor. If the team plays as it did in the second half against Mt. Zion, the Trojans ought to do well this afternoon. Several underclassmen already look promising.

Here is the preview of today’s game. 

Team Records: Charleston (0-1, 0-1) vs. Taylorville (0-5, 0-1)

Where: Baker Gym

Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at Baker Gym. 

School Size: Charleston (796), Taylorville (756)

JV Tip-Off: 1 p.m.

Varsity Tip-Off: 2:30 p.m.

Taylorville’s Past Results: Taylorville lost all four games at a Thanksgiving tournament – 67-35 to Springfield, 46-43 to Granite City, 69-27 to Troy Triad, and 63-40 to Mt. Vernon. The Tornadoes nearly upended Effingham this week, losing 60-57 in the Apollo Conference game. Said Taylorville coach Ryan Brown: “Our opening tournament was loaded. Our four losses were to teams that will all be very good this season, all could be 20-game winners by the end of the season in (class) 3A and 4A.”

Taylorville’s Top Players: First-Team All-Apollo selection Bryce Friedrich graduated. Senior Will Bitschenauer and sophomore Drake Howard are the only two players who saw minutes at the varsity level last season.

Taylorville’s Team Stats: Howard scored 14 and Bitschenauer added 11 in the loss to Effingham while junior guard Jake McConnell had 13. The Tornadoes are averaging 40.4 points a game and allowing 61.

Charleston’s Past Results: Charleston struggled in the first half during a 62-37 loss to Mt. Zion on Thursday night in the team’s season opener. But the team started to play better in the second half. Several underclassmen gained valuable experience in the game. Tyler Oakley, a freshman, scored five points and sophomore Luke Bonnstetter had four.

Charleston’s Team Stats: All-Apollo forward William Applegate, who averaged 12.2 points last season, scored 20 against Mt. Zion in Thursday’s season opener. The team is still trying to settle into a rotation, which is strengthened by returning point guard Caleb Oakley, who scored five vs. Mt. Zion. 

What Taylorville Said: “Obviously, William Applegate should be one of the top guards in the Apollo this season and Oakley is certainly capable of being all-conference as well,” said Brown. “Coach Alexander impressed me as their JV coach and when he filled in for Coach (Cody) Drone last season.”

What Charleston Said: “Taylorville played some solid competition in their recent Thanksgiving tourney and they are very well-coached,” said Alexander. “Have a ton of respect for their head coach. They will be ready to play hard, yet smart, and compete every second that clock is ticking Saturday.”