There’s nowhere to go but up for the new-look Logansport boys basketball team.
The rival Peru Tigers took it to the Berries in a 68-41 victory in the season opener at the Berry Bowl on Tuesday night.
The Tigers have a lot back from last season, including 6-foot-5 senior Matt Ross, who averaged 16.5 ppg and 11 rpg for a team that went 16-8 a year ago.
Ross had 15 points and seven boards on Tuesday and he had plenty of help. Matthew Roettger had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Gavin Eldridge scored a game-high 19 points off the bench, which including shooting 3 of 5 from 3-point range. Braxten Robbins was also in double figures with 10 points. Alex Ross added six points and nine boards.
The Berries graduated five seniors and have just two players back that saw significant varsity time from last year’s 11-12 team. They also have a new coach, Sherron Wilkerson, who is implementing a new system.
They trailed 22-9 after one quarter and 40-19 at halftime. They were looking to make a run to start the second half to get back into it but instead trailed 58-26 after three.
“I’ve got to do a better job,” Wilkerson said. “I’ve got to do a better job of getting us ready to play. That’s my job as the coach. I’ve got to figure out what buttons to push. Peru is well coached, they’re really aggressive. I thought their aggression really bothered us. They got us on our heels and it was difficult to recover. When you’re down 30 it’s really hard to play zone. I thought that their aggression and their ability to dominate the paint really caused us some problems.”
Wilkerson said he’s hoping to play some 2-3 zone and man-to-man this season.
“We want to mix it up a little bit,” he said. “We’re fighting a couple different things. I want to get up. When we were down we were still backing up, so it’s going to take a little bit of time to change that mentality, especially when we we’re under pressure, you always revert back to what you know when you’re under pressure. We’ve got to handle it at home and we’ve got a few things that we’ve got to specifically focus on to grab their attention I believe. It was tough.”
Noah Lange was a bright spot for the Berries as he scored 17 points on 5 of 8 shooting from distance. But his teammates were a combined 1 of 11 from long range.
Caleb Crook had six points, four assists and five steals. Izak Mock scored six points. Gavin George and Isaac Russell added five points apiece.
The Berries shot 39% from the field overall and were outrebounded 46-18 for the contest.
Peru coach Eric Thompson said his team did a good job on the boards in getting second-chance points on one end and keeping Logan to one-and-done on the other.
“Our guys did a good job of reading where the ball was going to come off the rim on the offensive end and defensive end we did a nice job of blocking out because Logansport has some quick kids and they did have some size. They matched our size at times but we had to play the best fundamental basketball we could at this point in the season and make sure we block out and go get that ball,” Thompson said.
Thompson said Ross could play college ball somewhere if he wants.
“At this time he’s got a few schools looking at him. But he’s just kind of sitting back. He’s a brain, way smarter than me. He’s a pre-med guy and he wants to play ball but I guess he wants to make people feel better too I guess. I don’t know, he’s smarter than me, I tell you that.”
The Peru coach added that he looks for the Berries to improve as the season goes along as they adjust to their new system.
“I watched a bunch of coach Wilkerson’s team down at Madison. You can see these kids at Logansport are grasping it. He does a great job. He gets a year under his belt and we’ll have a rougher, tougher game, it’ll be a heck of a game next year. By the end of the year I can tell by what I watched his other teams that were tough, these kids are getting it and by the end of the year they’re going to be really doing what he wants.”
Logan travels to Pioneer on Tuesday to open the Logansport Savings Bank Invitational. Peru travels to Kokomo on Dec. 3.