Maconaquah and Peru follow similar roads in boys basketball. Both play in the Mid-Indiana Conference and both play in Class 3A Sectional 20.
Last season, the squads were part of a three-way tie for second place in the MIC. Hamilton Heights won the league at 6-1 with Maconaquah, Peru and Western following at 5-2. Maconaquah followed with a runner-up finish in sectional play.
The following are looks at the two teams as the boys basketball swings into action this week.
Coach Andy Steele enjoyed a successful first season at the Braves' helm. Maconaquah posted a 13-10 record and its sectional run ended a string of six straight "one and done" sectional showings.
Maconaquah beat Twin Lakes (61-56) and Benton Central (56-49) before falling to West Lafayette 63-55 in the championship game of the sectional at Twin Lakes.
The Braves will offer a different look this year following the graduation losses of 6-foot-10 center Micah Pier and guard Tyler Bradley. Pier averaged a team-high 16.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Bradley offered 10 points, 4.2 rebounds and a team-high 3.5 assists per game.
“Obviously, you can’t replace both Pier and Bradley,” Steele said. “We take the guys returning from last year’s team and do adjustments to the offensive and defensive schemes. The guys have been giving 100 percent in practice and in our scrimmage at Winamac. Both Pier and Bradley were captains, and I am seeing all six seniors filling the spots of last year’s two captains.”
The Braves' senior class this season shows 6-3 guard/forward K.J. Walton (9.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.9 steals per game); 6-1 guard Adam Harts (7.4 ppg, 2.2 apg, 1.7 spg); 6-2 guard/forward Kyle Dinn (5.8 ppg); 5-8 guard Trevor Hagan (4.2 ppg, 1.8 apg); 5-10 guard Nick Love (4.3 ppg) and 5-11 guard Taylor Lamble.
Lamble is moving up from the JV squad. Other newcomers to the varsity level are 6-5 junior center Ben Stephenson, 6-1 sophomore guard/forward Luke Hann, 5-10 sophomore guard Bryce Pond, 6-0 sophomore forward Will Feller and 6-6 freshmen center Wyatt Hughes.