Leading up to the high school basketball season, the Branson Tri-Lakes News will preview the upcoming basketball seasons.
The seniors on the Forsyth boys basketball team have tasted success in the past, and they want to do it again.
Last year, the Panthers were two points away from a district championship after losing to Strafford 66-64.
“We’re for sure trying to have a winning season this year — and be upwards of 20 wins,” senior Gavin Lux said. “We want to carry our success from last year. In districts, it was a close game.”
The Panthers have ended the season with a record of .500 or better since 2015. Only one of those years did they meet 20 wins, and it was this senior class’ freshman year.
Head coach Eric Rogers allows his teams to set their own goals each year.
While 20 wins is a lofty one with the schedule the Panthers have, it’s one Rogers thinks they can attain if they do everything right.
“I told them, ‘Well, you’re gonna have to play every day. I’m talking night-in night-out, you can’t take a possession off,’” Rogers said. “I think they’ll step up to the commitment and give it a try.”
Forsyth will focus its efforts in continuing a style of play that fits their athletes. It’ll be quick, and it’ll be intense. Rogers said his team has the depth and speed necessary to play a full game at a high level rather than pinpointing moments to pressure hard.
“We’ve got a lot of players that can play,” Lux said. “Most of our players are pretty similar.”
“They’re a team that has good chemistry,” Rogers said. “They work hard. A lot of times, I really don’t have to ask, they just do it. That makes my job a lot easier.”
Senior Buck Sanders is a big factor in that style of play.
His speed and agility benefits the team when they are in transition. Sanders said a lot of points will come from a high pressure on defense and scoring in transition.
Sanders is one of the many players that makes Rogers’ job easy.
Every player comes to practice with a high level of intensity and seems to enjoy their time with their teammates and coaches.
“It’s almost like a dream come true, really,” Rogers said smiling. “Whenever they have the same passion you do, and it’s just one of those that they want to do it — some of the extra drills — and they worked their tail off in the offseason.”
Rogers mentioned the team chemistry, and he believes that’s what will lead the Panthers to success this year.
“I can sometimes sit back and just kind of enjoy the show,” Rogers said. “We have several kids that just feed off each other, and they’re just so fun to watch.”
The Forsyth boys will face Mansfield for the first game of the season at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at home.
“We’re just pumped to be here and through a full season one game at a time,” Rogers said.
Forsyth Boys Basketball Schedule
Nov. 24 vs. Mansfield
Nov. 30-Dec. 5 at Forsyth Tournament
Dec. 8 at Reeds Spring
Dec. 11 at Pleasant Hope
Dec. 15 at Springfield Catholic
Dec. 18 vs. Ava
Dec. 19-30 at Walnut Grove Classic
Jan. 5 vs. Crane
Jan. 8 at Buffalo
Jan. 15 vs. Stockton
Jan. 19 at Hollister
Jan. 22 at Neosho
Jan. 25-30 at Sparta Invitational
Feb. 2 at Clever
Feb. 5 at Conway
Feb. 9 at Skyline
Feb. 12 vs. Fair Grove
Feb. 16 vs. Strafford
Feb. 18 at Blue Eye