The ‘Cats enter the 2018-19 season riding the momentum of their first trip to regionals in 13 years. While there’s no shortage of talent from last year’s squad that graduated, we do know that coach Larry Moore Jr. will have his team playing hard and will be one of the more physical teams in the Region. Inexperienced or not, Hammond High will wear teams out over the course of four quarters.
The Panthers have some returning talent as well as some incoming talent in the person of Corey Landers that will help them dominate the conference portion of their schedule. The question is whether or not all of those games against smaller schools will prepare this team for the tournament. A better gauge of their abilities will be how the Panthers perform against the 3A and 4A schools they’ll go up against.
BISHOP NOLL WARRIORS
The Wariors have their top two leading scorers and rebounders from last season, Brandon Scott (16.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Morgan Grant (10.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg) back for their senior seasons, and they’ll be asked to do a lot of the heavy lifting this year. There’s more talent on the roster, but BNI will go as Scott and Grant go.
CROWN POINT BULLDOGS
The Bulldogs spent last year rebuilding and the fruits of that labor should pay off in 2018-19 with a roster that features seven seniors, including Elias Gerodemos and Sam Snodgrass (among others) who made big impacts last year. If those seniors take the next step, the ‘Dogs should be right up there with the tops of the DAC.
The Niners are a team with both youth and experience. Will they have the height to look Munster eye to eye in the conference? Maybe, maybe not. But that won’t be an issue come tournament time. Until then, the kids with the ketchup and mustard uniforms look to be in for a solid regular season.
BOWMAN ACADEMY EAGLES
If their opening night win is any indication, the Eagles are a team with a point to prove. After two years on the outside looking in, at least at tournament time – who can blame them?
While the Trojans have a few key pieces to replace from last year’s 21-4 squad, Marc Urban’s team is in good shape to make plenty of noise this season. One thing we know – Chesterton has January 5 circled on their calendar. That’s when they play Merrillville – the team that handed the Trojans two of their four losses last year.
The Pirates lost plenty to graduation, again, but when don’t they? What they didn’t lose was TJ Lux. The eighth year boss of Bucs basketball is what makes the Pirate program so consistent. Since he’s still there, this season should be a lot like the previous seven.
The good news for the Mustangs is they enter the season with several returning players. The even better news is they have players who aren’t returning, and we’re not talking about the last years seniors. The Stangs have added some height, as in 6-10 and 6-8 thanks to a pair off season transfers. It appears Christmas came early for head coach Mike Hackett.
Purdue-bound Brandon Newman will get most of the attention as he plays his final season for Gang Green, but there’s a ton of talent up and down the roster that will make the Vikings dangerous for the 2018-19 campaign. There’s also a lot of height as well. Eight of the 14 players listed on the roster are either 6’3 or taller.