By Beau Wicker
Logansport’s boys basketball team was able to flip its record from 9-13 to 13-9 a year ago.
With a senior-led group back for this season, the Berries are looking to improve on their 13-win total.
“I like our maturity and our experience,” Logan coach Mark Victor said. “We’re top-heavy on the senior side. The last time we had six seniors we won 15 games [in 2010.] Hopefully we do something like that again.”
For the Berries, it all starts with Antonio Penny, who has led the North Central Conference in scoring in each of the last two seasons. The 6-foot-2 senior point guard averaged 22.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.1 steals per game last season. He’s scored 1,106 points for his career, which ranks sixth all time at Logansport, and he has a good chance at becoming Logan’s second all-time leading scorer if he can stay healthy this season.
“He’s really worked on his outside shot,” Victor said. “Teams last year scouted him and backed off and gave him some room. He’s really worked hard on that.
“His stroke is a lot better, and his decision making: this is a good shot, this is not a good shot.”
Victor said Penny is getting some Division-I looks.
“He’s getting a few looks from the Horizon League — UIC, Wright State, we sent them some stuff, Milwaukee-Wisconsin. If he has a good first half of the season, more people will start looking at him, too,” he said. “He’s got a lot of D-II looks, too. He’d like to go D-I if he could.”
The Berries are also looking to 6-2 senior shooting guard Jayson Higgins for scoring. Higgins missed the entire regular season last season with a shoulder injury. He returned in sectional play and promptly scored 16 points in a win over Lafayette Jeff. But his normally sharp shot was rusty, and he was held to five points in a lopsided loss to Kokomo in the sectional final.
“We’ve got two pretty potent scorers and need a third scorer to go with them,” Victor said. “We may have to go by committee. We had a good summer, played 30 to 35 games. I like the nucleus and like what we’ve done so far. I’m looking forward to it.”
Other seniors for the Berries include Bo Bullard (6-foot-1), Nate Bullard (6-3), Todd Yeoman (6-2) and Jacob Snow (6-2). Junior Andrew Wamsley (6-4) will also be in the main seven-player rotation.
Bo Bullard averaged 4.4 points and 4.6 rebounds. No other returnee other than Penny averaged at least 2 ppg that played a full season. Logan has to replace 24 ppg with the loss of Brock Armstrong, Jarod Schrock and Cameron Biggs to graduation.
“I’m really looking for a lot of leadership from Antonio. Bo is another leader that has intangibles that other guys draw to,” Victor said. “Nate worked hard this summer and we saw some good things. Todd is a solid defensive stopper. Snow is a role player and does what we need him to do.
“Wamsley has a nice shot, good hands, runs the floor pretty well. When we do get out in the open court he finishes, and Antonio will find him. I like the way we’ve been playing.”
Victor said juniors Alex Emmerd (6-5) and Brad Nies (6-1) and sophomore A.J. Smith (5-6) are in the mix for an eighth varsity spot.
The Berries have a new coaching staff this year under Victor. Jay Jones, who coached the freshman team last year, will be the varsity assistant. Eric Weiderhoeft, who played college ball at a small school in Wisconsin, will coach the JV. Matt Lange, who coached Lincoln’s seventh graders last year, will coach the freshmen.
Victor said the goals remain winning North Central Conference and sectional titles.
“We go to Jeff this year for the sectional, which will be tough for everybody but Jeff,” Victor said. “Kokomo is probably the favorite again. They lost [D.J.] Balentine but still have [Tayler] Persons and [LaBradford] Sebree. I think we’ll be in the hunt. In the conference you never know. We have four games at home and three on the road, and that’s always an advantage. We’ll see what happens. In the county tournament there’ll be some interesting matchups.
“It could be a really good year.”
Logan opens with its annual Thanksgiving Eve matchup with Peru on Wednesday at Peru. The Tigers have won the last two matchups. The Berries then travel to Maconaquah the Saturday during Thanksgiving weekend. The county tourney is follows the next week, and Logan, the four-time defending county champions, drew Cass to open on that Wednesday following the girls county matchup between Logan and Cass.