By ERIC VICCARO
The Valle Catholic High School boys’ basketball team will be entering a new era this week.
It’s the post-Carter Hoog era.
Hoog has graduated, and is now enrolled as an engineering student at Missouri University of Science and Technology.
The Warriors (20-9) are coming off a dynamic season — reaching the Class 2 state quarterfinals before falling to eventual state champion Campbell 68-61.
Valle Catholic will play two of its closest rivals this week, opening up with Perryville at home on Tuesday night, after this press run of the Ste. Genevieve Herald.
Then the Warriors make the short trip to Peggy J. Johnson Gymnasium for a game against Ste. Genevieve on Friday evening.
“I am excited to get going this week, and I am looking forward to seeing who steps up for us,” Valle Catholic head coach Tyler Search said.
Search knows the Warriors are currently battling injuries, with Sam Drury not expected to play during the opening portion of Valle Catholic’s schedule, but they have players who will able to fill in some minutes.
Valle Catholic also will play home versus Fredericktown and Herculaneum and on the road at Central (Park Hills) and the Perryville Shootout before the Warriors’ Christmas tradition from Dec. 28-30.
The Winter Warrior Classic field is set with Kingston, Seckman (Imperial), Fox (Arnold), St. Vincent, Saxony and St. Paul Lutheran all in action.
“Our tournament will be pretty competitive,” Search said. “I think all of the teams are pretty talented, and they all can provide challenges for us. I am anxious to see how the seeding shakes out.”
One of the biggest highlights on the Warriors’ schedule runs from Jan. 11-15, 2022, with Valle Catholic playing in the Chester (Ill.) Invitational.
Chester is Search’s alma mater, and he’s eagerly awaiting the event — which was not conducted last year due to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
“I am partial to Colbert Memorial Gymnasium,” Search said of where the tournament will take place. “It’s a great place to play basketball, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. The tournament is cool because you get a mix of Missouri and Illinois schools.”
The field features Valle Catholic, Saxony Lutheran, Lovejoy, Valmeyer, New Athens and the host Yellowjackets.
Other highlights are home games versus St. Vincent (Jan. 3), Bismarck (Jan. 5), Arcadia Valley (Feb. 1) and North County (Feb. 3).
The Mineral Area Activities Association conference will be from Feb. 5-12, with a contest at Crystal City on Feb. 17 essentially a warm-up for the postseason in late February.
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