The Lewis Cass boys basketball team returns plenty of height for a high school basketball team.
The Kings’ starting lineup will consist of 6-foot-6 junior Tyson Good, 6-5 junior Luke Chambers, 6-4 sophomore LJ Hillis, 6-4 senior Robert Fitch and 6-1 senior Tristin Miller, who is a strong player in the post.
“It’s definitely the tallest team I’ve ever coached,” third-year Cass coach Kyle Johnson said. “I watched for many years Cass had some big guys going through there and it’s kind of exciting. Some of these big guys we have now are very guard-oriented and they’ve got a little bit of size and strength. But it’s just like every coach is working on, we’ve got to take care of the little things, the little things will take care of the big things.”
The Kings return their top two scorers from last year’s team, as Good and Miller both averaged over 12 ppg last season.
Coming off the bench will be 6-6 junior Keaton Lewellen, 6-3 sophomore Cooper Frey, 5-10 junior Haden McClain and 6-0 sophomore Owen Lowe.
The Kings graduated six seniors, including starting point guard and defensive ace Tyson Johnson, who is now playing at Real Salt Lake, a one-year postgraduate school in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Fitch steps into the starting point guard role. Chambers started every game last year as a sophomore.
Coach Johnson plans to continue to play his preferred pack-line defense but also could mix in some zone this year.
“We might possibly be able to mix it up a little bit with our size. But our base is our man and we’ve just got to try to find several kids to be willing to guard their yard and take care of their defensive assignments,” he said. “We had a big loss in Tyson Johnson who was a really good defender. I’m just looking to see if we can have an overall team effort. I was pretty excited about our progress from my first year 58 ppg giving up to last year 48 ppg giving up. I’d like it to be in that area or less and obviously like any team we want to score points.”
Johnson is looking for his team to compete for Hoosier Conference and sectional championships. The sectional this year will be held at his previous school, Winamac. Rochester is the defending sectional champ. The Kings will also look to win back the Logansport Savings Bank Invitational championship. They travel to Caston on Wednesday, Dec. 1. The consolation and final will be held at the Berry Bowl on Dec. 3.
Johnson went 13-10 his first season and 13-12 this past season at Cass, as the Kings added some tough opponents following COVID-related cancellations. Johnson said it was nice to have a full summer with his team this year and that they’re ahead of where they were at this time last year.
The Kings travel to Carroll tonight before hosing Southwood on Saturday for their home opener. The Cougars defeated the Kings 46-37 in last year’s opener.
Carroll had a school-record 18-game winning streak, won a share of the Hoosier Heartland Conference title and had a 21-4 final record last season. The Cougars also return their top two scorers, Owen Duff (16.8 ppg) and Jake Skinner (12.5 ppg).
“It’s a huge way to start off the year,” Johnson said. “You’ve got a team that won 21 games last year. They bring back two high scoring juniors that were very good players as sophomores. They ended up losing on a last-second 3 at Rossville [in a sectional final]. They’re very experienced, they’re very excited. I know they feel like they’re in a position to have a successful year and we’re hoping to be able to do the same. It’s a heck of a way to start the season. It’ll be a great atmosphere at Carroll.”