Basketball

New Era

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Nate McLain focuses during the varsity match against Whiteland last year.

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Trayce Jackson-Davis plays in last year’s varsity game against Whiteland

Written by Parker Ferguson

Fall sports have ended their seasons, there is a chill in the air and it’s dark at 6 pm. Here in Indiana that means one thing: basketball season.

The Center Grove men’s basketball team is hopeful that this will be the year to set the tone for the program. Last season’s campaign ended with a 10-16 record and a loss in the sectional semi-finals. However, with a slew of returning talent and starters, the team is confident that in Coach Zach Hahn’s third year they will implement a different style of play, which they believe will lead to wins. “New Era” is the team’s motto.

“We have way more options now on offense,” returning starter Trayce Jackson-Davis said. “Our team can put up points in a hurry. Our defense has length and size that will get steals and help us run in transition.”

There are many returning difference-makers for the team, but this year provides a different senior class, which provides a new opportunity for team leadership.

“We have a lot of young guys who played varsity basketball last year, so it’s good to have that experience and chemistry carry over,” senior Travis Roehling said. “As a senior this year I have to be more of a leader on the court because communication is a huge thing for our team.”

With this new leadership, the feel and make up of the team has been totally changed.

“The mindset is different; we are more focused,” senior Kas Oganowski said. “I’m more of a leader as a senior, so I have to be even more vocal on the court and off.”

Senior leadership is crucial this season, as is the role of 6’9” power forward Jackson-Davis. Jackson-Davis averaged 9.5 ppg and 6.1 rpg in his freshman campaign, and he has been improving all off-season. Another returning starter, junior Nate McLain, averaged 8.2 points last year and will play as a solid shooting guard. Roehling, an occasional starter last year, exploded for 21 off the bench in the last game of the season last year. Now a senior starter, he will provide an excited mix of athleticism, scoring and rebounding.  

Excitement is surrounding the Center Grove basketball program, and Hahn is confident that in his third year, the team will really take off.

“The group has a great upside,” Hahn said. “Returning seven varsity players from last season and having six football players on our varsity and JV rosters should be beneficial for our program. We see our strengths as being longer, more athletic, highly skilled and versatile in many positions. We have a couple of strong low post presences and several shooters around the perimeter. Transition offense should be a great addition to this team.”

Tip off for the first game is tonight at 7 p.m. against Southport in the Vandy Gym.

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