LIBERTY, Ill. (WGEM) -- It's hard enough to replace half your scoring output from the prior season. But in Liberty's case the Eagles graduation hit, and the loss of Jared Shover, Jordan Obert, and Dalton Crawford makes things even more difficult.
That trio made up more than 80% of the offense during Liberty's run to a regional championship and 20 win season.
Head coach Andy Douglas is likely facing his toughest task in this his third season on the bench and he's preaching fundamentals in the early going especially limiting turnovers and another crucial element to success.
"I think if you look at all of the good basketball teams out there whether it's high school, college, or NBA, the one thing that every one of them do and they're consistent with it, is their communication is great," Douglas explained.
"It doesn't matter if it's offense or defense it's got to be great. Our guys are kind of getting around to it, we're not there yet, and it's going thing it's early in the season. We're getting there and I think we've got some guys that are pushing a little stronger."
Douglas will lean heavily on two of his top returning players, senior forward Ike Murfin and junior guard Michael Blewett. Both saw considerable time last season and will be counted on from the get go.
Blewett credits Douglas for giving him the confidence he and his teammates need.
"It's really gratifying to have a coach who believes in you," Blewett indicated.
"This is my third year of playing varsity and I've really got to step up because I've had a lot of experience. It's a big role to step into but I think I'm ready."
Douglas says he has the utmost faith in Murfin and Blewett.
"They're guys that played a ton of minutes the last couple of years and they obviously know the system in and out. We're going to look to them for major leadership roles this year."
Liberty is preparing for a busy start to its season in next week's trip to Pittsfield for the annual Saukee Turkey Tournament. The Eagles and Saukees square off in Monday's opening night.
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