Ethan Cole and his Collinsville teammates got a taste of the Class 5A state tournament last season.
Cole doesn’t want to wait another 43 years for a return trip.
“We know what it’s like now. We want to be back there,” said the 6-foot-2 senior combo guard, who last year helped the Cardinals to their first state berth since 1976. “It’s given us motivation to get back to the state tournament.”
Cole is one of four players with starting experience that will lead Collinsville into the 2019-20 basketball season, which begins Tuesday on the road against Glenpool. Fellow senior guards and returning starters Gaige Longshore and Nathan Serna figure to be key building blocks as well for Cardinals coach Todd Anderson.
Senior Gage Tacker, another with starting experience, returns around the basket.
Juniors Corey Dees and Caden Buoy are contenders for breakout seasons. Fellow juniors Nate Wilkins and Brandon Morgan will be counted on in the post, as will senior Cody Blair.
Collinsville will look to fill the void of Caden Fry down low. Fry moved to Owasso after starting as a freshman.
Anderson said last year’s regional championship and trip to state, just the third ever for the program, will serve as an important momentum builder going into this season.
“I think they play with a lot more confidence now,” Anderson said. “But they also see there’s more of a target on them. When we scrimmage teams, it means something for them to beat us in quarters…(Playing in the state tournament) was exciting. It was good for them to see what that’s like. That’s a big jump and I don’t think people realize until they’ve been there and done it. The atmosphere is just different.”