Hammond Baptist Swordsmen
Last season: 32-6.
Inside the Swordsmen
Leading returning scorer: John Woosley, 18 ppg.
Leading returning rebounder: Woosley, 7 rpg.
Newcomer to watch: Taylor Moncado, Sr., G. Moncado will run through the scorer's table, or a brick wall, to get the job done.
Swordsmen will push limits
In its first season without long-time coach Fred Mooney at the helm, Hammond Baptist hopes to bring an exciting brand of basketball to Schererville.
There's a clear lack of height, so coach James Woosley says his team is going to take easy points whenever it can get them.
"Sometimes, they look like they're on a six-second shot clock," Woosley said. "They want to get that ball up there."
The Swordsmen will run a full-court defense, including the old UCLA press, which won't do much to slow the pace. But with 12 seniors, Woosley should have the depth to rotate.
"Because we don't have a lot of size, you feel a little bit more free about rotating," he said. "It's not like you're losing six inches. You're losing two."
John Woosley, the coach's son, returns to lead the team. The elder Woosley calls John a strong, smart player who gets the job done.
"We teach the kids here that if you can do three things -- shoot, drive the lane and pull up and hit the mid-range jumper -- you're unguardable," coach Woosley said. "He can do all three."
Other returning contributors include Jimmy Hartman, who will have to play bigger than he is on defense, and Taylor Moncado, who will complete the backcourt tandem with Woosley.
This team knows it may not have the size or talent of some of its opponents, but it feels like it can make up for it.
"We take pride in our defense," Moncado said. "That's what H.B. has always been known for."
"We're all about defense and hustle," Hartman said. "That's all we do."
"We have a good basketball I.Q.," Woosley said. "The guys have bought into it and that could be our best asset." !~ David P. Funk