By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
The Northview Knights are looking to bounce back from a 2009-10 boys' basketball season that ended in a 7-15 mark, the program's fewest wins since the 1993-94 season. Ill timed injuries and a lack of experienced depth were a big reason for the below .500 mark, but this year's edition has a foundation in place for a winning mark.
Coming back this year are four starters from last year's sectional loss to Terre Haute South and 10 of the 12 players that appeared in the game. While some nagging injuries are slowing the Knights currently, coach Ernie Maesch is optimistic.
"We return several guys, who have a lot of experience. We're getting the injury bug a little right now, we've got a couple players that are banged up. They'll be able to play, but they aren't a 100-percent," Maesch said. "We're taking it a day at a time, but we're looking for a lot better season if we can keep everyone healthy and in uniform."
Leading scorer Trent Lancaster returns after averaging 15.6 ppg. despite missing five games due to illness. Lancaster also averaged nearly six rebounds per game and 2.2 assists. He is joined by fellow 6'1 guard, Caleb Mershon, who led the team with 52 3-pointers and scored 8.5 ppg. and hit nearly 40 percent (52-of-132) 3-pointers.
"Caleb (Mershon) is one of the better shooters in the area, we'd like to see him continue to get better at that and take what the defense gives him. He also has to be a better defender and rebounder and when you see those things happen you'll see our team get better," Maesch said.
Maesch is counting on the pair to lead the team as one of six seniors on the varsity roster.
"We have five or six seniors out here with experience and they all need to lead. Trent (Lancaster) has the most experience with Caleb (Mershon)," Maesch said. "They need to show leadership on both ends of the floor. I'm really stressing defending and rebounding and they need to buy into that first."
"Unfortunately our best offensive players haven't been our best defensive players. We've got to make a more conscious effort because I'm going with defense and rebounding," Maesch said. "If we're not getting it going then we're going to play some ugly games and beat on some teams defensively. I'm sold on the fact that we're going to rebound and defend this year no matter what."
Two players that missed significant time due to injury should help the Knights in both categories as Jacob Musgrave (6'5, 240 lb.) missed all but five games due to a knee injury, but averaged 10 ppg. and 6.8 rpg. in that short time.
"(Jacob Musgrave) is still battling his leg injury right now, he's not 100-percent, but if we can get him to where he was before his knee injury last year I'd be pretty pleased," Maesch said of the senior. "He was coming on pretty strong. Right now he has to concentrate on doing the things he's capable of."
Hunter Robertson missed the entire season due to his own knee injury suffered in football, but returns and should provide a significant spark.
"Hunter (Robertson) provides us with another great athlete and another great defender," Maesch said. "He's someone that can be our defensive leader, he and Damon (Hyatt). On the other end of the floor they need to play within themselves and help build great chemistry amongst the team."
Hyatt (5'10, 165 lb.) averaged three points and two rebounds per game last season. He and Dalton Rohr (5'9, 175 lb.) will be looked to for some minutes as well. Hyatt was a starter late in the year for the Knights last season.
"Dalton Rohr is injured with an ankle injury right now. He really provides us with a lot of tenacity in practice and intensity and we've really been missing that since he's been injured," Maesch said. "He didn't play much last year, but he will defend and if I'm priding myself in that, then I'm going to give him some time."
At point guard, Dillon Reynolds (5'10, 150 lb.) had a bit of a trial by fire as a sophomore and averaged 6.3 ppg. and 2.6 assists per game. Maesch is looking for Reynolds to step up into a leadership role this season.
"He's probably played more basketball than anyone on our team," Maesch said of Reynolds. "We really need him to step up, talk and be a leader. Your point guard has got to lead. Last year our leader was our center and that can't be the case. It has to come from your point guard, someone who has the ball in his hands all the time. (Reynolds) needs to be that guy, someone who can set up the other guys."
Chance Talbot (6'1, 220 lb.) averaged 4.4 ppg. and 2.4 rpg. in limited minutes and he'll be looked to along with Zach Hull (6'4, 165 lb.), Bryant Pestoff (6'4, 250 lb.) and Jacob Ninesling (6'4, 200 lb.) in the front court.
"Chance (Talbot) provided us some valuable minutes last year, he's been battling an injury. (Zach) Hull and Jacob (Ninesling) are kids we need to provide us with something inside to give us that 6'4 presence at the "4" man," Maesch said. "Instead of going with four or five guards like last year, we need some guys that can rebound and defend."
The Knights open the season this evening with a road trip to Vincennes Lincoln with the junior varsity tip-off slated for 6 p.m.
2010-11 Northview boys varsity basketball schedule
|Wed. Nov. 24||At Vincennes Lincoln||6 p.m.|
|Fri. Dec. 3||vs. T.H. North||6:30 p.m.|
|Sat. Dec. 4||at Brown County||6 p.m.|
|Fri. Dec. 10||at West Vigo||6 p.m.|
|Sat. Dec. 11||at Evansville Central||6:30 p.m.|
|Fri. Dec. 17||vs. Edgewood||6 p.m.|
|Mon. Dec. 27||at Pizza Hut Classic||10 a.m.|
|Tue. Dec. 28||at Pizza Hut Classic||10 a.m.|
|Wed. Dec. 29||at Pizza Hut Classic||10 a.m.|
|Thu. Dec. 30||at Pizza Hut Classic||10 a.m.|
|Fri. Jan. 7||at Owen Valley||6:30 p.m.|
|Fri. Jan. 14||vs. T.H. South||6:30 p.m.|
|Sat. Jan. 15||vs. Mooresville||6 p.m.|
|Tue. Jan. 18||vs. Bloom. North||6 p.m.|
|Fri. Jan. 21||at S. Vermillion||6 p.m.|
|Fri. Jan. 28||vs. Sullivan||6 p.m.|
|Sat. Feb. 5||at Plainfield||6 p.m.|
|Thu. Feb. 10||vs. S. Putnam||6 p.m.|
|Sat. Feb. 12||at Monrovia||1 p.m.|
|Tue. Feb. 15||at Greencastle||6 p.m.|
|Fri. Feb. 18||vs. Clay City||6 p.m.|
|Wed. Feb. 23||at Danville||6 p.m.|
|Tue. March 1||(Northview Sectional)||6 p.m.|
|Fri. March 4||(Northview Sectional)||6 p.m.|
|Sat. March 5||(Northview Sectional)||6 p.m.|