PEKIN — The Rantoul Eagles boys basketball team had a rough start to the 2019-2020 season.
The Eagles fell to Morton, Pekin and Chicago Dyett in the Pekin roundball classic.
Rantoul took on Morton in the first game on Tuesday and fell 80-33. Bryant Shaw was the Eagles' leading scorer with 12 points. Eric Whisby chipped in nine points. Lorenz Lee had six rebounds.
The Eagles then took on Pekin on Friday, losing 57-24. Jaxson Freeman was the leading scorer with 13 points. Colin Wilkerson, Lee, Steve Anderson and Shaw all had four rebounds for the Eagles.
Chicago Dyett was Rantoul’s final oppenent. The Eagles lost 74-29. Shaw and Freeman had 11 each, and Shaw had seven rebounds.
Head coach Brett Frerichs said he knew the team was going to struggle early.
“Unfortunately we knew this was coming, because of the inexperience,” Frerichs said. “We tried to prepare the team, but without a varsity experienced point guard and very little big bodies we knew it would be a struggle.”
With the expected struggles Frerichs said his team has to stay positive.
“We have to be able to keep our heads up when things aren’t going our way,” Frerichs said.
The Eagles do have help on the way.
“We do have Kam Rome coming back from a football injury, and that will help a lot. He has experience and is our best shooter,” Frerichs said.
Rome will be available for the Eagles' next game.
The Eagles will get back to practice and work on something new.
“Getting back to practice, we need to work on everything, and we will have to work on zone defense,” Frerichs said. “Since I have been here we have played 95 percent man-to-man defense, and we won’t be able to do that this year.”
Despite the expected road blocks Frerichs wants to see more out of his team.
“We really need to more than anything to just compete and not take any plays off,” Frerichs said.
“It’s just an everyday focus; if you can compete for 32 minutes you should be proud of your effort. And I don’t think anyone was proud of their effort in the first three games.”
The Eagles' opponent on Saturday was supposed to be Chicago Longwood. That game has been canceled, but the Eagles do expect to find an opponent for a game at 7 p.m. Saturday at home.
You can contact Ryan Birch at Rbirch@RantoulPress.com or on twitter @RyanBirchRP.