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Scouting the 2019-2020 Porter County Conference boys basketball teams
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Boys basketball

Scouting the 2019-2020 Porter County Conference boys basketball teams

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Boone Grove Wolves

Coach: Matt McKay, 27th season at school

Last season: 3-19 (0-7 Porter County Conference)

2019 postseason: Lost 65-46 to North Judson in Class 2A Winamac Sectional quarterfinal.

Top returning players: Quinn Walker, Sr., F/C (8.6 ppg, 1.5 spg); Jake Mayersky, Sr., G (6.3 ppg, 4.3 apg); Kevin Josifoski, Sr., F (6.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg).

What you should know

The Wolves have taken their lumps recently, going 6-60 over the last three seasons.

Boone Grove went winless when the current seniors arrived on campus as freshmen in the fall of 2016. The Wolves then delivered consecutive 3-19 campaigns, although there was some improvement in keeping the scores closer last year, including a 56-54 loss to Kouts in last season's PCC tourney.

Longtime coach Matt McKay hopes that all those lumps will start to pay off this season.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that have gotten experience over the years,” McKay said. “It’s really been a three-year process of trying to get back on track.”

Hebron Hawks

Coach: Mike Grennes, third year at school

Last season: 9-13 (3-4 PCC)

2019 postseason: Lost 64-58 to North Judson in Class 2A Winamac Sectional semifinal.

Top returning players: Jake Friel, Sr., G (17.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 5.4 apg); Ethan Drook, Sr., G (11.1 ppg, 2.1 apg); Mike Briggs, Sr., G (3.5 ppg, 1.2 spg).

What you should know

It's never too early to start thinking about the league's player of the year race and Friel should have a lot to say about who wins the award this season. The senior is the top returning vote-getter from the PCC All-League team last season and Grennes is expecting bigger things from the guard.

"I don't believe we've ever had a kid at Hebron that has led us in all three categories (points, rebounds, assists) like that before," Grennes said. "He does a lot on the floor as it is, but he spent a lot of time this summer working on his defense. He's adding that part to his game now."

Friel is one of four returning starters for the Hawks this season and Hebron is expected to field one of the more experienced squads in the conference.

Kouts Mustangs

Coach: Kevin Duzan, fifth year at school

Last season: 22-4 (6-1 PCC)

2019 postseason: Lost 75-62 to 21st Century in a Class A Morgan Township Sectional championship.

Top returning players: Cole Wireman, Jr. G (17.1 ppg, 3.1 apg); Cale Wireman, Jr., G (14.7 ppg, 2.3 spg); Connor McCormick, Sr., C (3.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg).

What you should know

For the last four years when people looked up Kouts basketball in the dictionary, they'd see a picture of Brent Wireman. The graduated senior represented everything the Mustangs have been about on his way to averaging 6.5 assists and 4.0 steals per game.

Duzan has to figure out a way to replace that production and he's got two good options: Wireman's brothers, Cole and Cale. The two juniors led the Mustangs in scoring last season with a combined 31.8 points per game.

"We were fortunate enough to have Brent for four years and it was great to see that time overlap with Cole and Cale for two years," Duzan said. "Now they have become the leaders."

LaCrosse Tigers

Coach: Preston Frame, third year at school

Last season: 8-14 (3-4 PCC)

2019 postseason: Lost 58-50 to Kouts in a Class A Morgan Township Sectional quarterfinal.

Top returning players: Ben Garwood, So., F (4.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg); Zach Brust, Sr., G (4.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg).

What you should know

The Tigers were gutted by graduation after last season which leads to Garwood's 4.8 points per game as LaCrosse's top returning scoring average. Frame isn't worried as he believes the Tigers have a diamond in the rough heading into the season.

"I'm really excited for (sophomore point guard) Kyle Gorski," Frame said. "He's been really impressive all summer and he'll handle the ball the majority of the time. We're looking for him to do big things."

LaCrosse should also get a boost from the return of senior wing Zach Greiger. Greiger has missed much of the last two seasons with a variety of injuries, but is healthy to begin the year. Frame believes Greiger could be LaCrosse's best shooter.

Morgan Township Cherokees

Coach: Eric Braden, eighth year at school

Last season: 14-8 (4-3 PCC)

2019 postseason: Lost 45-39 to 21st Century in a Class A Morgan Township Sectional quarterfinal.

Top returning players: Tate Ivanyo, Jr., F (8.4 ppg, 1.7 apg); Ethan Lesko, Jr., G (4.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg); Bubba Anderson, Sr., G (3.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg).

What you should know

While graduation hits teams across the Region hard every year, there may be no team in the conference that was affected as much as Morgan Township.

The Cherokees said goodbye to PCC Player of the Year Trevor Braden as well as All-League player Cody Maxwell.

Ivanyo should see a bigger role this season, but the Cherokees have a lot of question marks that will be answered throughout the season. The goal will be for the youthful squad to gain experience by the time the postseason comes around.

South Central Satellites

Coach: Joe Wagner, third year at school

Last season: 4-19 (1-6 PCC)

2019 postseason: Lost 45-29 to Triton in a Class A Triton Sectional semifinal.

Top returning players: Zack Christy, Sr., G (12.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg); Brendan Carr, Jr., C (11.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg); Trent Hudspeth, Jr., G (4.8 ppg, 1.7 apg).

What you should know

Former NFL coach Bill Parcells is famous for saying, "You are what your record says you are," and Wagner is taking those words to heart this season, but that doesn't mean he has to like it.

Wagner is painfully aware that the Satellites only won four games last season and it's not something he's shying away from talking about with his players.

"We know that we're a darkhorse in the race for the PCC and no one is expecting anything from us," Wagner said. "We're going to feed off that."

Washington Township Senators

Coach: Scott Bowersock, 10th year at school

Last season: 17-7 (7-0 PCC)

2019 postseason: Lost 69-42 to 21st Century in Class A Morgan Township Sectional semifinal.

Top returning players: Austin Darnell, Sr., C (14.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg); Tyler Hachey, Sr., G (5.3 ppg, 1.9 apg); James Hernandez, Jr., G (5.7 ppg, 1.5 apg).

What you should know

The 6-foot-7 Darnell stands above the rest of the conference as the tallest player in the PCC. Darnell has grown into his body and the senior recently signed to play collegiate basketball at Trinity Christian.

Bowersock is eager to see Darnell continue to take a big leap forward this season, especially in regards to becoming more of a versatile threat on different areas of the floor.

"Austin is learning how to become a more all-around player," Bowersock said. "It's a huge load off his shoulders to have his college decision behind him. It's more on his end than ours, but it allows him to focus on the upcoming season."

Westville Blackhawks

Coach: Drew Eubank, second year at school

Last season: 10-13 (4-3 PCC)

2019 postseason: Lost 69-51 to Kouts in Class A Morgan Township Sectional semifinal.

Top returning players: Josh DeChantal, Sr. G (14.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, Jace Woods, Sr., G (12.6 ppg, 2.5 apg); Carlin Young, Jr., G (4.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg)

What you should know

Eubank fell in love with the PCC last season, particularly the annual conference tournament. Eubank is ready to attack his second season on the sidelines with a year of coaching in the conference under his belt.

"Last year was my first PCC tourney, and it's on a whole other level from anything I've played or coached in," Eubank said.

Westville will be able to move the ball quickly up and down the floor this season as seven of its eight varsity players are listed as guards. The Blackhawks will be boosted by the addition of Michigan City transfer Daijon Reddix.

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