The 2012-13 boys basketball season begins today with high expectations at Columbus North and Columbus East, while Hauser will look to continue its recent success with a third consecutive sectional title.
That’s the outlook for Bartholomew County programs as practice kicks off around the state. Games begin in two weeks.
“I think we all have high expectations,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “We’re excited to get started and get things rolling.”
That’s also the case at North, where the Olympians are ranked No. 3 in the state in Hickory Husker’s preseason poll.
“You want to be real excited about a preseason ranking,” North coach Jason Speer said. “It’s packaged as such for the coaching staff and team that we need to have some postseason success. It’s really important for us to finish up high than it is to start that way.”
The Bull Dogs return their top three scorers from a team that went 19-6 and fell to Bloomington South in the sectional finals. Senior Sawyer Glick (15.1 ppg), junior Evan Henry (13.7) and sophomore Josh Speidel (12.8) were joined late in the season by 6-foot-7 senior move-in Tori Jackson, who averaged 7.7 points over the final 10 games.
Henry, who moved to point guard over the summer, had major wrist surgery. Among other varsity returners, Paul Salee had surgery on both knees, Chase Francoeur played through a thumb injury while helping North to the state soccer title and Gabe Hilt is out for four weeks with a broken foot.
“We’re on the mend,” Speer said.
The Olympians bring back all five starters from a team that went 14-9 and lost to Bloomington South on a last-second shot in the sectional semifinals. Seniors Zach Martindale (15.7), Nate Rich (11.0), Ridge Harris (9.6) and Kyle Taylor (5.6) and sophomore Bryce Leinhoop (10.7) all return.
“We have some experience coming back,” Chitty said. “Our guys worked hard this summer. It will be interesting to get to work a little bit with them.”
Hauser went 17-7 and won a Class A sectional title last year before falling to Edinburgh in the regional finals.
“We’re certainly excited about the season coming up,” Hauser coach Bob Nobbe said. “We’re looking forward to starting regular practice and getting beyond physical conditioning and being able to pick up a basketball.”
The Jets return only two players with significant varsity experience in senior Nick Johnson (10.7) and junior Trey Shipley (8.4). Nobbe said last year’s sixth man, Dai’von Corum, is no longer enrolled at Hauser.
“We’re going to have a lot of new faces on our team,” Nobbe said. “We’re looking for some of these young guys that played JV ball to step in and fill some big roles this year.”