January 27, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Coach’s Corner with Kiel Duval

We caught up with St. Joseph-Ogden Boys Basketball Head Coach Kiel Duval to discuss what makes his team tick.

A season after SJO lost its postseason opener in 2019, the Spartans have already accumulated two playoff wins in 2020. They’ll try to make it three on Friday night, keeping intact the careers of seniors like Payton Cain, Payton Grimsley, Chance Izard, Jordan Kelly, Dade Allinger, Drew Coursey, Conner Hodge, Luke Renfrew, Braydon Rupert and Brayden Weaver.

“It always helps when you have seniors,” Duval said. “You win games with seniors. You get guys that care more as seniors. It matters to them. This is their last go at it. When you have that, young guys follow that lead and effort. It makes a big difference.”

Now, SJO will try to use the energy they’ve collected this week in trying to win its first regional title since 2018 and 18th in program history.

“They are a close group,” Duval said. “They enjoy each other. They love each other. When you have that, it is easier to hold each other accountable. When guys don’t like each other, and someone calls you out for not doing your job, you tend to take it personal. These guys can challenge each other in practice and games, and it is OK because they have the same goals. They love each other and this is about winning.” 

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