Bobcats retool after loss of all-time leading scorer

Losing the school’s all-time leading scorer in Armonniey Thomas is not an easy task for Marshalltown boys’ basketball to adjust to.

Head coach Michael Appel and a solid returning cast for the Bobcats are doing their best to put themselves in position for a positive season, including changes to the offensive game plan to counter the loss of Thomas.

Appel said the team is working on a quick-read approach to the game in tune with the addition of the 35-second shot clock, and with the experience in the backcourt of Drake Kapayou there is reason to be optimistic.

“We’re trying to keep it simple and focused on those key concepts,” Appel said. “All guys are ready and on board and giving it their all right now. That’s what we have to be consistent with, is doing it all the time and good things will happen for us.”

Kapayou is one of four returners who could find a role in the starting five — including 2021-22 starters Dalen Huston and Jaxson Eisenbarth. Their roles will be larger on offense in 2022-23, as the Bobcats will try to take advantage of Huston’s high-level athleticism and the outside shooting ability of Eisenbarth (48 percent from 3-point range last season on 75 attempts).

Kapayou played point guard last year and averaged 11 points per game. Alongside him in the backcourt there will be multiple options for starting minutes and playing time, including Treshaun Brooks and Carter Giannetto. Brooks broke out in the second half of his sophomore season last year and played a key role off the bench for the Bobcats in CIML play and the postseason.

Giannetto has outside shooting and Appel said there’s high hopes for his impact on the roster. Also in the mix on the wing is junior Corey Smith, another player who made waves on junior varsity last season and is expected to make the step up to provide minutes.

Brayden Weatherly had a substitute role last season, and will be one of the first players off the bench in 2022-23. Prince Jallah, who afteraged 12.4 points per game last season and spent time starting in each of the past two years, will also factor into Appel’s thinking — as will junior Rogelio Ceren. No health issues were brought up other than the loss of Jackson Bowie to an ankle injury during football season.

Along with new faces in the lineup there will be some differences in the schedule, as the first season of full play in the Iowa Alliance Conference begins. Waterloo East, Ottumwa and the public Des Moines schools take a bigger section of the schedule while there are only two scheduled games against CIML opponents — a home game with Urbandale Dec. 2 and a visit to Southeast Polk Feb. 17.

Their season opens up, though, with a Tuesday night trip to Des Moines Roosevelt. Marshalltown will tip off at 7:45 p.m.

“It’s a better fit for not only us but for everyone in our conference,” Appel said. “All of us in this conference are excited for it, and we’re all kind of feeling the same way. We want to jump at the opportunity to try and be successful.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.38/week.

Subscribe Today