Coach: Mike Bauer (0-0 in first year at New Prairie, 77-44 in sixth year overall)
Last season: 7-16 (0-12 Northern Indiana Conference); lost 52-38 to South Bend Washington in first round of Class 3A Jimtown Sectional
Key losses: Mike Klemczak (9.7 ppg., 3.4 rpg., 2.7 apg., 1.6 spg.), Jake Tuttle (6.1 ppg., 3.5 rpg.), Cade Boniface (4.9 ppg., 3.0 rpg.).
Key returnees: Chase Ketterer (10.5 ppg., 3.4 apg., 2.6 rpg.), Braydon Flagg (7.3 ppg., 2.9 rpg.).
Key newcomers: Szalay, Moreno, Lapczynski.
Outlook: Coming off a 7-16 campaign and not having a winning season in five years, the Cougars are hungry to change that. The first-year coach Bauer believes the cornerstone existed for success a year ago, which makes him optimistic. “The foundation was there,” Bauer said. “They lost a lot of close games. They played a really tough schedule. The NIC's no joke, top to bottom. The players working and getting better is going to turn it around. They play well together and that's what really makes me excited about it. So just their cohesiveness, the fact there is a handful of them that got some varsity experience last year, so they'll be ready.” Ketterer and Flagg were each starters last season, while Foerg, McBride, Smith and Daniels all contributed on the varsity. They should comprise the heart of the squad. "The junior, senior class is pretty stacked," Bauer said. "There's a lot of good ball players." Ketterer led the team in scoring with 10.5 points per contest last year, to go along with 3.4 assists and 2.6 boards. Flagg averaged 7.3 points and 2.9 rebounds a game. Both Flagg and Ketterer are gritty players as well. After Klemczak, Tuttle and Boniface graduated, New Prairie has some positions to fill, but Bauer remains hopeful in the nucleus of his squad. "They were major contributors," he said. "There's definitely some roles guys got to step up to replace, but they're ready to do that." Bauer inherited the helm in March, replacing Kris Davis, who was NP's head coach for just one season. A two-time sectional winner while the SB St. Joseph coach (2014-2018), Bauer is the Cougars' fourth head coach in the last six years. “I'm excited, I'm excited,” Bauer said. “We have a lot of the pieces that go into it a really successful team, but we've got to put it together. We've got to go out there and do it. There's a high ceiling. We've got to work to get up to it, but there's definitely a high ceiling." -- Zack Eldridge