Head coach: Kyle Benge, 17-28 in third season and overall
Last season: 12-11 (4-3 Duneland Athletic Conference); lost to Penn, 78-52, in the Class 4A Penn Sectional semifinals.
Key losses: Drake Gunn (16.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.2 apg, 57 FG%), Jake Spence, Peyton Marker.
Key returnees: Grant Ott-Large, Garrott Ott-Large (12.6 ppg, 1.7 apg, 1.2 rpg), Crass, Schroeder, Gresham.
Key newcomers: Osowski, Bragg, Spatt.
Outlook: Even though the Slicers lost a significant amount of scoring and production to graduation, they feel the experience they return, along with some youth sprinkled in can help fill the void. "We've got a great group of seniors who have been around for three years, so they understand what the intensity of practice needs to look like," Benge said. Four out of LP's five seniors have been a big part of this program for three years. The team welcomes back a few three-year starters in shooting guard Garrott Ott-Large and the point guard Crass. Plus, the forward Schroeder and the guard Spatt have been practicing with the varsity since they were sophomores two years ago. The forward Gresham is the Slicers' fifth senior who transferred from New Prairie prior to last season. Garrott Ott-Large had some breakout games a year ago and could be a potent force offensively, and Crass is hard nosed and scrappy as the floor general. Forward Grant Ott-Large, Garrott's younger brother, is stalwart in the post and will be greatly counted on. Benge said that Gresham had to play a little bit behind Gunn last season, but added he's had a great summer and fall. At the same time, Benge mentioned that the shooting guard Osowski has made huge strides, comparing him to Spence between his junior and senior years. “Ethan's been able to make that jump as a junior now,” Benge said. “So we're expecting a lot of things from him offensively and defensively.” Bragg, a forward, will help provide depth on both the inside and outside, while the team will dress three freshmen on the JV, including R.J. Anglin. Benge said a few might make the jump to the varsity. “We like our young guys quite a bit,” he continued. “Coach (Rick) Hise is doing a great job with them at the JV level. Right now we'll be able to play about eight or nine guys and we're hoping to be able to play more throughout the season. But the main thing is we've just got to get better each and every day.” Benge emphasized defense will be paramount. “We're going to be able to score the ball offensively," he said. "We've talked about it. We've done a lot of things in the spring, summer and fall to put our guys in a great situation. We kind of switched up defensively our mindset and what we're going to do. We lost five games last year that were three points or less. You go from 12 wins to 17 wins in the last 30 to 40 seconds of ball games. We know we're going to play tight games.” Benge added without having as deep of a bench as in past years the team must avoid foul trouble. "We can't have our key guys getting two or three fouls in the first half," he said. "Guarding the basketball. Guard without fouling. These are all things we've preached in the last couple weeks." LP improved by seven wins last season and it's hoping for an increase on its 12 victories this campaign. -- Zack Eldridge