Brookfield Central will have a young team this season, having lost nine seniors from last year. So opening the season against the state's No. 1 team, Germantown, on the road isn't exactly the best way to start the year.
Veteran coach Mark Adams feels his team has had a taste of good competition because of their work in the off-season.
"We play in the toughest summer league in the whole state down at MSOE," Adams said. "Vincent, King, East Troy, Germantown, everyone is in there. I think the awakening came there. Which is why I love playing in that league.
"Guys don't have to wait until November to find out what's it all about. Once the season starts it goes up another notch, too. We've started that in practice, talking about the speed of the game, and whether or not that carries over. Playing the No. 1 team in state; it will be a work in progress. We'll keep getting better when they start realizing things."
Junior to lead team
Adams will look to talented point guard Riley LaChance to lead his team this year, having named him captain, the first time the veteran coach has ever given that tag to a junior.
"Not only is Riley an outstanding player, but he will make other people around him better," Adams said. "He's had seniors above him so from a leadership he's held back and didn't say too much. But now, I've made him captain - but he has warranted it by his actions on and off the court by the time he puts in."
Two other players who saw action last year were two junior big men - Elijah Goodman (6-foot 4-inches, 245 pounds), who played 14 games, and Luke Rasmussen (6-8, 250), who played in 11.
"Elijah gets up and down the court better this year," Adams said. "He can help create some space for us and he's tough to stop in the lane."
Peter Mattiacci and Nate Hugo, both 6-2 guards, are the only seniors on this year's team.
Juniors dominate roster
Besides LaChance, Goodman and Rasmussen, the eight other juniors on the roster are starting point guard Brad Newman, Terry Wallen (5-11, guard), Zach Tichelaar (6-5, forward), Caleb Mortag (6-6, guard), Gunnar Malensek (5-10, point guard), AJ Taylor (6-7, forward), Drew Peterson (6-1, guard) and Jack Knetter (6-0, guard).
Emil Radisevic, a 6-5 forward, is the only sophomore on the varsity.
"Caleb Mortag showed us some things this summer that excited us," Adams said when asked about his depth. "If he carries that over, I think he can help us too. He has great athletic ability, great length and jumps extremely well."
Newman and Mattiacci should round out the starting five, with Wallen, Tichelaar and Malensek showing early signs of helping out.
"One thing we haven't had for a while is three point guards (LaChance, Newman, Malensek)," Adams said. "So if we want to swing Riley down to a two we can have one of those guys run the point. That is something we are going to be really comfortable with because all three of them handle the ball pretty well."
Searching for success
So what will the Lancers have to do to be successful?
"We have to value the defensive end of the floor," Adams said. "We have to understand how hard it is to get stops and how important it is to get stops, especially at key points of the game. You have to stay in the stance all the time. If four guys are and one doesn't, that could be enough to make the difference between a basket or a stop.
"Trying to get that ingrained into them. And if we do that, our work ethic should carry over into our offense and we can follow through and score.
"So far we have a very good work ethic which I am pleased with. They seemed to be very self-motivated, which is nice too."
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