Last season: 12-9, 5-2 PCC. Lost in Class 2A Wheeler Sectional semifinal to Bishop Noll.
Inside the Wildcats
Leading returning scorer: Max Johnson, 13.8 ppg
Leading returning rebounder: Johnson, 7.7 rpg
Star power: Max Johnson, Sr., G. A bull who is simply stronger than most of the guards he'll matchup with, he can get to the bucket and score and is an asset going after rebounds.
Newcomer to watch: Sean Kelly, Sr., C. The Crown Point transfer, at 6-foot-7, gives the Cats a post presence they haven't had in a few years.
In with the new Wildcats
There's a freshness to the Hanover Central program this season. The Bollenbachers — coach Rod and career school scoring and steals record holder son Nick — are out. New coach Bryon Clouse and 6-foot-7 Crown Point transfer Sean Kelly are in. The Wildcats also bump up to class 3A in their final season as a member of the PCC. The biggest returning piece is Max Johnson, who will be counted on to score and rebound. "Max is pretty hard to guard," Clouse said. "I was pleasantly surprised at how good he actually is." Johnson said he welcomed the changes in coaching philosophy, too. "We're actually playing defense now," Johnson said. "Before it was run and score 80 points, but let the other team score 85. Now, we like to slow it down and play defense." The biggest weakness may be in the post. Pickings will be slim after Kelly. "I wish we had a little more height," Clouse said. "We go from 6-7 to 6-2, so we're going to have to rely on those 6-2 guys." Jeremy Pedersoli and Dan Kubiak are both threats from beyond the arc, which will be important if Hanover Central wants to keep defenses from focusing too much attention on Kelly. Clouse relishes the chance to start new, even if there are hurdles. "It's interesting. It's stressful, exhausting to do it all over again," he said. "I'm glad I'm 36 and not 56." — David P. Funk