DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
This season represents a changing of the guard for the Greenwood boys basketball program.
Gone are six seniors who accounted for more than two-thirds of last year’s offense on a team that went 8-13.
No player will be tougher to replace than Jaren Hornbeak. The 6-foot guard averaged 21.4 points, 7.3 rebounds,
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3.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game, all team-highs. That boxscore-stuffing production earned Hornbeak the Daily Journal’s Johnson County Player of the Year award.
Despite those losses, Greenwood returns its deepest roster in recent memory. For longtime coach Bruce Hensley, that offers the opportunity to adjust the Woodmen’s style this season.
While no player figures to match Hornbeak’s numbers, Hensley is confident that forward Spencer Isenthal has the tools to be the offense’s focal point. The 6-foot-3 forward, who averaged 5.7 points and 3.4 rebounds a game as a junior, is equally suited to scoring in the paint and from the wing.
Hensley said that versatility will be key to Isenthal becoming a bigger scoring threat.
“Spencer has picked up his game,” said Hensley, who begins his 26th year as Greenwood’s head coach. “He’s the one guy we need to pick up his point production, and I think he’s the one that’s most capable of doing that.
“I don’t want to say he’s going to carry the load, but we’re going to lean pretty heavily on him.”
Other players Hensley expects to play significant minutes are senior guard Alex Rapp, senior guard Isaac Stogsdill, junior guard Justin Conley, senior center P.J. Proctor and senior center/forward Ethan Smith.
Beyond that group, the Woodmen have as many as five additional players who Hensley said should be able to contribute off the bench.
“We’re much deeper this year. I feel very confident that we can play 10 or 11 guys, and I think we’ll be able to get after people a little bit.”
With that added depth, Hensley expects the Woodmen to adjust their style on both ends of the court. On offense, he wants the guards to push the ball more than in the past.
And on defense, the depth gives Greenwood the opportunity to play more man-to-man defense.
“We weren’t really deep last year, and we had to be concerned with foul trouble,” said Hensley. “I think we’re a little more athletic this year, too. We may not score as many points, but I think we’ll be a little better defensive team this year.”
The key for the Woodmen, Hensley said, will be for each player to contribute in some way to replacing Hornbeak’s production.
“We don’t need one or two guys to make up for those points we lost in Jaren. Collectively, everybody just needs to do their job and I think we’ll be OK.”
In addition to their Mid-State Conference schedule and the Johnson County tournament (Jan. 13-17), the Woodmen face a rugged nonconference slate. They will play Perry Meridian, Indianapolis Herron, Speedway
and Southport in addition to county rivals Center Grove, Edinburgh and Indian Creek.
“I like our schedule,” Hensley
said. “The kids would rather play
than practice. We’re looking forward to this season.”
Greenwood opens the season
Nov. 29 against visiting Greenwood Christian Academy.
Nov. 29;Greenwood Christian;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 2;Perry Meridian;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 5;at Martinsville;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 12;Franklin;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 13;Herron;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 17;at Triton Central;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 20;Speedway;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 23;Beech Grove;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 27;at Center Grove;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 10;Whiteland;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 23;Decatur Central;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 30;Shelbyville;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 31;Roncalli;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 6;at Plainfield;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 7;at Greenfield Central;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 12;at Edinburgh;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 17;Southport;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 20;at Mooresville;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 24;Indian Creek;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 27;at New Palestine;7:30 p.m.