The bad news for the Hauser boys basketball team is that seven seniors, including four starters, were lost to graduation.
The good news for the Jets is that a group of juniors that went 17-0 as freshmen and 20-2 at the junior varsity level last season are ready to step into varsity roles. The varsity went 15-9 last year.
“We’re young,” Hauser assistant coach Griff Roth said. “I believe we have a lot of kids that can play. The juniors are a pretty talented group.”
Roth, a longtime assistant under head coach Bob Nobbe, has been filling in while Nobbe recovers from eye surgery.
Connor Wilson, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, is the lone returning starter. He will be joined in the starting lineup by four juniors — 5-11 point guard Sherman, 6-1 forward Andrew Titus, 6-2 forward Justin Compton and 6-8 center Alex Gross — when the Jets open the season tonight at Switzerland County.
Three players who split time between varsity and JV last season — 6-0 senior Pete Trotter, 6-1 senior Clayton Wilson and 6-3 junior Brad Paetzel — figure to see action. Owen Green, a 6-0 senior, is back after not playing last year.
Sam Meek, a 6-4 junior, and 5-8 juniors Joe and Matt Sweet will split time between varsity and JV.
“We’re pretty positive,” Roth said. “They’re working extremely hard. We’ll have a good year. I wouldn’t put a number on victories or anything like that, but I feel confident that our kids will come out and play hard.”
The Crusaders are the only area team to have played so far this season, and they’re off to a 3-0 start with wins against Southside Christian, Crosspointe Christian and Heritage Hall.“This is one of the best defensive teams I’ve had in a long time because they can get out and defend on the perimeter,” Columbus Christian coach Kevin Roth said. “We don’t have a lot of size, but we’re fairly quick.”
Logan Roth, a 6-5 senior, is entering his third year as a starter, and 6-0 senior Lain Isley started last year, when Columbus Christian went 21-10. Evan Reed, a 5-11 senior started at point guard the second half of last season.
The Crusaders picked up a boost from 5-9 senior Kyle Marsh, who transferred from Columbus East. Connor Graham, a 6-1 senior, is the other starter.
Judah Haynes, a 6-2 senior, also is a returning varsity player. Another key newcomer is 6-0 eighth-grader Blake Barker, who played at Northside Middle School last year.
Six other players — 6-1 junior Kyle Foster, 5-8 junior Taylor Hilliard, 6-0 freshman Josh Jones and 5-6 freshman C.J. Reed, 5-8 junior Nash Jackson and 6-2 senior Jacob Broaddus — likely will split time between varsity and JV.
“This group enjoys playing with each other, and they’ve played with each other for a long time,” Kevin Roth said. “Plus, we have some nice new additions with Kyle Marsh and Blake Barker.”
The Panthers have a new coach in Josh Land. The Hauser graduate had been an assistant coach at Jennings for the past 10 years.Jennings has a big player to build around in 6-6 senior Tyler Vogel. Vogel averaged about 17 points and 9 rebounds last season.
“We have a team full of kids who can shoot the ball, and Tyler is one of the best players in southern Indiana,” Land said.
Nick AmRhein, a 5-11 senior, averaged about 9 points. Josh Pettit, a 6-4 sophomore, started as a freshman, and 5-11 senior Kenneth Jones played a lot last season.
Battling for the other starting spot are 6-4 senior Bret Sawyer. 5-9 senior Chase Ketcham and 6-4 junior Travis Wilson. Cody Wilson, a 5-11 sophomore, also could see action.
“We want to compete for a sectional and conference,” Land said. “New Albany is obviously the defending state champion, which makes it tough.”
The Eagles have gone 15-8 and 14-10 in Chuck Hutchins’ first two years at the helm, but they lost seven seniors to graduation.“We’re changing a lot,” Hutchins said. “A lot of points and a lot of wins left with those seven. We’re going to be a completely different team than we were a year ago.”
Jordan Samples, a 5-10 senior point guard, is the lone returning full-time starter. Samples averaged about 11 points a game last season.
Josh Cochran, a 6-10 senior, was a part-time starter at center. Also stepping into starting spots will be 5-10 junior Ezra Scully at shooting guard and 6-5 junior Isaiah Keefauver at forward.
Two seniors — 6-2 David Norman and 6-0 Hunter First — are battling for other forward spot. Two other seniors — 6-1 Eli Patterson and 6-2 Blake Hudson — likely will see action.
“Everything is going to be new and different now, but we’re optimistic because this group is going to have a new identity,” Hutchins said. “They seem to mesh together well. Team chemistry is good.”
The Lancers will almost be starting from scratch with basically zero points a game returning from last year’s 4-20 squad.“After Christmas, when we get some game minutes under these kids’ belts, I think we’ll be really competitive,” Edinburgh coach Drew Glentzer said. “I think this team will improve every game we play, and come March, we’ll be kind of that surprise team.”
Bryce Burton, a 5-10 sophomore point guard, was part-time starter last season, but was just recently cleared to play after tearing his meniscus in football. Addison Lollar, a 5-7 senior played a little.
Possibly filling the other starting spots are 6-0 junior Parker Bryant, 5-9 junior Justin Foskuhl and 5-10 sophomore Coltan Henderson. Hunter Dean, a 5-11 sophomore, also will see action, along with 6-0 senior Cameron Moore, 5-11 senior Cameron Cravens and 6-2 senior Austin Burton.
A pair of sophomores — 6-4 Jordan Myers and 5-9 point guard Grant Godsey — will split time between varsity and JV.
“We are pretty well balanced,” Glentzer said. “It’s going to be so competitive in practice for who gets that starting spot. When kids are competing for starting spots and minutes, it puts you in good position. We have no superstar power or anything, but we have good chemistry with this group. It makes your team kind of hard to guard at times when you’re not looking for shots in the exact same spot every time.”
The Cougars will look to make a big move this season after going 8-59 over the past three years. That includes a 3-21 mark in Bryan Dixon’s first season at the helm.“We’d definitely like to get a .500 season,” Dixon said. “I know last year wasn’t our greatest, but we were in a lot more games last year than we were in the past. We have a lot of experience coming back, which is great, so we’re looking to put ourselves in the mix of everything.”
Matt Cornett, a 6-6 junior, is back after averaging about 8 points and 6 rebounds. Nick Benge and Oakley Billingsley, a pair of 6-2 seniors, also started the entire season, while 6-3 senior Hunter Seegers and 6-4 senior Nathan Benge were part-time starters.
Jacob Watts, a 6-0 junior, played some varsity at the end of the season. Looking to step into bigger roles this year are 6-1 senior Will Smiley, 6-0 senior Kyle Johannigman and 5-10 senior Damon Allen.
Trinity went 20-5 in Brian Stuckwisch’s first year as head coach but lost seven seniors, including four starters, to graduation.“I think it will be a rebuilding year,” Stuckwisch said. “I think the potential is there. It just depends how hard they work at it.”
Chad Stuckwisch, a 5-10 senior point guard, is the lone returning starter. Trinity should get a boost from 6-6 senior Kendall White in the post after he recovers from a chipped bone in his foot.
Jacob Rowe, a 6-1 junior who played a little varsity last year, along with 6-1 senior Colton Wischmeier and 5-9 senior Sam Marksberry, will join them in the lineup.
Skylar Stahl, a 5-10 senior, and 6-0 senior Matthew McKay also will see action. Four others — 5-11 junior Victor Hackman, 6-0 sophomore AJ Goecker, 5-10 sophomore Trent Shoemaker and 6-1 freshman Josh Rowe will split time between varsity and JV.
The 2016-17 Hauser and Columbus Christian boys basketball schedules:
Today;at Switzerland County;7:30 p.m.
Saturday;Columbus North;7:30 p.m.
Nov. 29;at Trinity Lutheran;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 5;at Greensburg;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 10;at Franklin;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 16;Edinburgh;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 22;at South Ripley Invitational;TBA
Dec. 23;at South Ripley Invitational;TBA
Jan. 6;North Decatur;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 7;Columbus Christian;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 13;Lawrenceburg;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 14;at Milan;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 20;at Waldron;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 21;at Crothersville;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 27;at South Decatur;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 28;Batesville;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 2;Southwestern (Shelby);7:30 p.m.
Feb. 4;Morristown;2:30 p.m.
Feb. 7;at Madison Shawe;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 10;Jac-Cen-Del;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 18;at Indian Creek;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 21;Knightstown;7:30 p.m.
Friday;Traders Point Christian;7:30 p.m.
Saturday;Bloomington Lighthouse;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 2;Horizon Christian;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 3;at Madison Shawe;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 6;at Martinsville Christian;7 p.m.
Dec. 9;at Crosspointe Christian;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 10;at Christel House Academy;1:30 p.m.
Dec. 16;at Cannelton Invitational;TBA
Dec. 17;at Cannelton Invitational;TBA
Dec. 27;Columbus Christian Invitational;2 p.m.
Dec. 28;Columbus Christian Invitational;TBA
Dec. 30;Providence Cristo Rey;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 31;Medora;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 5;Indiana Deaf at Bankers Life Fieldhouse;3:30 p.m.
Jan. 7;at Hauser;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 12;at Cannelton;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 19;at Southside Christian;7;30 p.m.
Jan. 27;Bethesda Christian;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 28;South Central;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 31;at Colonial Christian;7;15 p.m.
Feb. 3;at Bloomington Lighthouse;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 10;at Horizon Christian;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 11;Washington Catholic;7;30 p.m.