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Albrecht Pieces Together Roster, Returns to Postseason

March 09, 2012

Toraino Hellems  
Sophomore guard Toraino Hellems and the Archers open
Region XVI Tournament play tonight as the top seed.

Randy Albrecht remembers his first open gym as the coach of the new districtwide STLCC basketball program well. All of his players were in attendance – all three of them. 

Due to the timing of the switch to districtwide athletics, Albrecht was left to piece together a roster, with only a minimal portion of last year’s 29-7 team remaining.

Sophomores Toraino Hellems (Oakville) and Ryun Davis (McCluer North) were going to be a key part of anything the Archers would accomplish this year, as they were the most productive of Albrecht’s returning players.

Aside from Hellems and Davis, Albrecht had to get creative when filling out this year’s roster. Three of his players – Kyle Rice (Kirkwood), Jamese Taylor (Fort Zumwalt North) and Harvey Mills (Henrico, Va.) – didn’t play competitively anywhere last year. Taylor left the team at midseason, and was replaced by sophomore Clyde Jeffers (Ladue), who was ineligible until January. That hodgepodge of newcomers, in addition to sophomores Jordan Jones (Marquette) and Darryn Anderson (Hazelwood Central), and freshmen Enis Mehmedovic (Bayless), Charley Mueller (Lindbergh) and Lance Seiler (Leopold, Mo.), has turned out to be more than serviceable for Albrecht and the Archers.

“It’s really gratifying from the coaching standpoint,” Albrecht said after his team secured the Region XVI top seed by virtue of a 6-0 regular season record against region opponents. “We’re really happy with a lot of the stuff we see going on.”

How could he not be?

After STLCC fell to 6-5 following a loss to Mineral Area College on Dec. 7, the team would never even approach the .500 record again. The Archers went on to win 16 of their next 18 games to complete the regular season, including a 14-game winning streak.

That positions the Archers for a first-round matchup with Wentworth Military Academy tonight at 5 p.m. at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley. The Archers thumped 87-50 March 3 in the regular-season finale.

This, despite a roster comprised of players who hadn’t played together, and for some, hadn’t played anywhere recently.

Davis, who leads the Archers in scoring with 16.9 points per game, credits the play of his teammates to his coaching staff.

“They’re just taking in the offense, listening to the coach, playing team ball,” Davis said. “We’re just having fun.”