Going into this bewildering 2021 season, there were some questions about this year’s version of Patriot basketball.

Six games in, most of those questions have been answered.

With basically half of the starters being underclassmen and only two of the team’s three seniors having much varsity experience, the doubts were understandable.

Six-foot-three-inch senior wingman JJ Sweatt figured prominently in the plan, 6-5 senior Kyler McIntosh also figured to play a big part in the overall scheme and senior Dathan English looked to be a key part off the Massac bench.

The questions were a bunch of freshmen and sophomores.

Sophomores Brody Smallman and Brady Cissell were going to have to step up and produce.

And then the biggest question: How would freshmen Isaac Hosman and Will Harmon handle the heat?

I don’t know exactly what an “emoji” is, but I would give them all a big thumbs up so far.

McIntosh has been at times a dominant force in the middle with a boatload of athleticism.

Sweatt was down for a while with a foot injury, but lately he’s been good for double figure scoring, a handful of rebounds and a few key steals in almost every game.

Cissell has been very solid at a forward slot, and Smallman, while starting slowly, has gotten untracked the last couple of games.

Hosman and Harmon have been an exciting duo to watch so far.

Hosman attacks everything and every aspect of the game, and Harmon seems to be hitting about 70% of his 3-point shots.

The depth isn’t great, but the six that run out there on a nightly basis are gettin’ it done.

Massac will travel to Murphysboro Friday night to take on the Red Devils for the second time this year.

The Pats stand 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the SIRR Ohio.

Massac County 60, West Frankfort 39West Frankfort felt the sting last with a 60-39 beatdown at the hands of the Pats.

In the middle two quarters, Massac’s defense held the Redbirds to just 12 points, good for a 37-12 run and essentially the win.

The Tuesday night thumpin’ was another good showing by the starters. Four Patriots reached double figures in scoring, and Hosman added nine to go with a school record-tying 14 assists.

With a running clock in the final quarter, coach Joe Hosman emptied the bench.

Massac County 47, Benton 40Saturday afternoon’s game with Benton was a much closer affair, but the Pats found a way to pull away to a 47-40 win.

Early on it looked like Massac wasn’t going to be able to stop Benton’s Reece Johnson, but a couple of defensive switches made Johnson much more manageable.

A couple of big buckets by Smallman, including a big triple and some clutch free throwing by Hosman, Harmon and McIntosh in the final minutes ensured the win.

Cissell led the Pats in scoring with 11 points.

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