Senior staff writer
The 2017-18 boys basketball season brings with it a fresh look.
New coaches take over three teams: former Center Grove standout Jonny Marlin is at Greenwood Christian Academy; former Huntington North coach Joe Bradburn has moved south to Greenwood; and ex-Manual head coach Dick Alter, after 11 of the last 13 years as an assistant at Lutheran, now mentors the Saints. At Greenwood, this is the first time in 28 years that a coach other than Bruce Hensley is courtside.
Most teams must overcome graduation losses; however, Roncalli has eight seniors and Center Grove and Greenwood have six apiece, all of whom saw plenty of playing time last season.
Talentwise, the Southside has one of the state’s most exciting juniors in Center Grove’s 6-9 Trayce Jackson-Davis, who scored 33 points against Franklin and 25 against Franklin Central.
Look for breakout seasons from Beech Grove’s inside-outside punch of Jomar Seals and Kenny Washington, Center Grove’s 6-3 Nate McLain, Greenwood’s Eric Moenkhaus, Franklin Central’s Donta Harris, Greenwood Christian’s Payton Modlin, Lutheran’s Matthew Alter, Manual’s Jalen Johnson, Perry Meridian’s Gabe Patterson and Southport’s Chaz Hines.
In early season games last week, Center Grove opened with two strong wins against Southside foes.
Roncalli dominated host Perry Meridian 66-35 as 6-5 Kellen Schreiber slipped from the Falcons’ multiple defenses for 28 points. The Rebels hit 55 percent from the field (22-of-40), while Perry Meridian was a frigid 27.7 percent (10-of-36). Jack Hegwood added 12 points and six rebounds for the Rebels who won the battle of the boards 27-19.
Manual opened with two wins by holding 1A teams to only 53 and 30 points. Johnson’s 20 points led five more teammates in double figures in defeating Lighthouse East 107-30.
This season’s outlook with won-lost records and statistics from last year:
Hornets coming off impressive 18-win season
Trojans return from sectional title season
Franklin Central must replace seven seniors
Greenwood has a new coach for the first time in almost three decades
Greenwood Christian has new coach and new goals
Saints have work cut out for them to repeat as sectional champs
Manual coming off best season in decades
Falcon leaders ready to step up
Rebels are balanced and experienced
"No one takes Southport lightly"