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Perry Central boys team quick again

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By LARRY GOFFINET
Sports Editor

LEOPOLD—Though four starters graduated, Perry Central boys basketball coach Matt Carter expects his team to look a lot like last year’s.
“We’ve got some experience coming back even though we lost four starters,” he said.
That’s because he played eight or nine players extensively in every game, a practice he intends to continue this year.
He also said the team has good quickness again—“maybe not quite as quick as last year”—so he plans to take advantage of that depth and quickness by using full-court presses extensively again.
Senior guard Andrew Huber is the only full-time starter returning from last year’s regional runner-up team that set a school record with 22 victories. He averaged 6.9 points and 1.8 assists per game and hit 45.9 percent from the field and 73.5 percent at the free-throw line.
Austin LeClere started the last six games after an ankle injury slowed Abe Schwartz. LeClere, a 5-foot-11 forward, averaged 6.8 ppg and hit 51.4 percent from the field.
Dacota Schaad, a strong 6-1 forward, was usually the first or second player off the bench. He averaged 5.2 ppg and hit 37.7 percent from three-point range.
Dillon Hubert, a strong 6-foot-2 center who split time between JV and varsity last year, will also join the starting lineup.
A good shooter up to 18 feet, he hit 5 of 5 from the field in the regional championship game against Linton-Stockton and made the all-regional team.
Trent Schraner, a 5-10 guard who led last year’s 18-1 JV team in steals and assists, will likely complete an all-senior starting lineup.
“Nathan Schwartz, Alton Cummings, Michael Schwartz and Aaron Pierrard are pushing for spots,” said Carter.
Three sophomores—Trey Mullis, Lane Lynch and Nic Pierrard—will also dress for varsity, though all three will play four quarters of JV at least at the start of the season.
When the Commodores don’t get shots in transition off their press, they’ll again use a motion offense with three or four men playing outside.
“We’ll also run a little flex and a high-post offense too,” said Carter. “Dillon can play both the high and low post—he’s a really good passer.”
Carter said he thinks “overall we might be a little better from three-point range” than last year.
He said Michael Schwartz, Cummings, Schraner, Huber and Schaad are the top three-point shooters “and Austin’s also extended his range.”
In the low post, “Dillon’s our tallest and he has a strong body,” said Carter. “But I think Trent, Andrew and Austin are also good posting up inside.”
Carter said Huber and Michael Schwartz “are really good off the dribble,” with Huber more likely to go all the way to the basket and Schwartz more likely to pull up for a short jump shot.
Though not a tall team, Carter expects the Commodores to hold their own in rebounding again. “We’ve got some good jumpers in Austin, Andrew and Dacota. Dillon does a good job creating space and getting position. And we’ve got some quick guards who can run down long rebounds.”
Carter’s main concern is “we lost a lot of our ball-handling. Last year we averaged right at 10 turnovers a game. It’s going to be a goal of ours to do that again. We were a little careless in the (preseason) jamboree—we had nine turnovers in two quarters.”
He said Schraner, Huber and Michael Schwartz will do most of the ball-handling.
The Commodores will again play mostly man-to-man defense in the halfcourt.
Carter said the team’s defense “has come a long way,” though “our full-court pressure has got a long way to go.”
He said Schraner is “probably our best on-the-ball defender.”
The Commodores won their six PLAC games by an average of 23.5 points last year. But this year “there are going to be some really good teams in the conference,” Carter said, listing Crawford County, Paoli and Orleans.
However, he still thinks “we’ve got a great chance to compete for it again.”
Winning the sectional again “will be tough like it is every year,” said Carter. “I think Mater Dei will be just as  tough as last year. South Spencer will be talented. I think everybody will be improved.
“Any time you go into tournament play you’ve got to value the basketball. So if we can keep our turnovers down and go into it healthy, we’ve got a chance.”