DONIPHAN— Jerry Caraway’s name might sound familiar to some in the Tribland. That’s because he grew up in Doniphan, and attended Doniphan High School prior to its consolidation with Trumbull.
According to the Doniphan-Trumbull website, Caraway’s 1983 class was the first to receive diplomas in the rebuilt school. Caraway was actually the first person in that class to receive his diploma as well.
Caraway spent the last 25 years in Osceola teaching science and coaching. Now, he’s returned to where it all began. He has spent a combined 20 years coaching girls basketball as well as football. His combined record is 218-142.
Caraway, a K-6 physical education teacher, takes over the D-T girls basketball program after the departure of Jeff Keasling.
The Cardinals finished the 2018-19 season with a 15-9 mark and graduated a hefty amount of their scoring and experience. Kalee Wiltfong averaged just more than nine points per game and led the team in rebounds (169). Maddie Fitch and Logan Poppe averaged around five points per game, and Bailey Williams chipped in just under four points per contest.
But luckily, Caraway and the Cardinals get one more year of Katie Roach, who has been a reliable and dangerous scorer in her time at D-T. Roach averaged 13.5 points per game in her junior campaign. She dished out a team-leading 93 assists and stole the ball 59 times.
“I hate to individualize our players, but Katie Roach deserves it,” Caraway said. “Katie is an excellent ball handler and has shown herself to be the respected leader of our program. “
Maddie Smith, also a senior, averaged 5.8 points per game last year along with a pair of rebounds.
Just as with the volleyball team this fall, the basketball team is younger and inexperienced overall. Caraway’s group includes three seniors and juniors, and four sophomores.
“(We) will see many new faces on the court this season. Though not many, the upper classmen will provide a solid core to a team that will compete every night,” Caraway said. “We will be short experience with only Katie Roach and Maddie Smith as returning letter-winners. Gaining valuable playing time in the first couple of games could be a key for a long and successful season. The juniors are athletic and ready to put their mark on the program. Joining them is a group of sophomores that look ready to contribute at the varsity level.”
Caraway expects to have 10 to 11 players in the varsity rotation, which he believes will lead to fresher legs late in the game. He also says the Cardinals’ defense should be reliable, but someone will need to step up in the scoring department.
The Cardinals open the year facing Blue Hill on the road Dec. 6.