Edinburgh adjusts to new coach, aims for strong finish

It wasn’t until mid-July that Keith Witty was hired as the new boys basketball coach at Edinburgh, so he and his new team didn’t really get a chance to get acquainted during the summer.

The Lancers have been playing catch-up during the first few days of preseason practice — but they’re not in a state of panic.

“We know it’s a long season, and we’re playing for March,” junior guard Coltan Henderson said. “That’s basically what we’re going for — we’re wanting to cut down the nets here in March.”

A sectional title might seem like a lofty goal for a program that’s coming off of consecutive losing seasons and hasn’t won a postseason game since a 2012 run to semistate, but a veteran Edinburgh team has reason for optimism.

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Most of the top contributors from last season’s team are back, including the perimeter trio of Parker Bryant, Bryce Burton and Henderson as well as forward Justin Fosskuhl. The Lancers have some size in 6-foot-4 junior Jordan Myers and 6-3 Christian Cox, a letterwinner two years ago who has transferred back in after a year at Columbus East.

Witty wants to pick up the pace a bit with this group, which has averaged less than 52 points a game the last two seasons. He’d also like to rely a little bit less on the outside game, with one notable exception.

“Coltan shot 44 percent from behind the 3-point line last year, and that’s not something I’m going to take away from him,” Witty said. “He’s a really good shooter. With our other guys, I want to get out and run a little bit, because I feel like we’re athletic and we can run.”

The system that Witty is implementing is a bit different than what the Lancers had been running under former coach Drew Glentzer, who left during the summer to take over at his alma mater, Indian Creek. But while it may take the players some time to adjust, they’re eager to give it a go.

“It’s been different,” Fosskuhl said. “This was our first coaching change. But overall, I like it. (Witty) is very detail-oriented, he knows what he’s doing, and I feel like everything is very well planned out.”

“It’s definitely a learning process,” Henderson added. “We’re getting used to new plays and everything, which we’re kind of embracing because every team around here knew all of our old plays.”

While it may take Witty and his players some more time to get on the same page, they’re all optimistic that Edinburgh can make some noise in the postseason for the first time since that storied 2012 run.

The current Lancers may not have tasted much success firsthand yet, but they’re all old enough to remember that team from six years ago and they’re looking to accomplish similar goals.

“We’ve wanted to cut down the nets ever since we were in fifth and sixth grade and we saw Kyle (Wuest) and Jordan (Burton) and all those guys do it,” Henderson said.

2017-18 schedule

Date;Opponent;Time

Nov. 21;at Southwestern (Shelbyville);7:30 p.m.

Nov. 25;at Indian Creek;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 1;Oldenburg Academy;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 2;at Waldron;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 8;Triton Central;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 9;North Decatur;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 15;Hauser;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 16;at Monrovia;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 26-27;Edinburgh tournament;TBA

Jan. 6;at West Washington;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 9-13;Johnson County tournament;TBA

Jan. 19;Southwestern (Shelbyville);7:30 p.m.

Jan. 20;at Rising Sun;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 26;at Morristown;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 3;Crothersville;1:30 p.m.

Feb. 9;Greenwood Christian;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 13;at Trinity Lutheran;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 16;South Decatur;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 17;at Shawe Memorial;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 22;at Brown County;7:30 p.m.

Scouting the Lancers

Head coach: Keith Witty

Last season: 7-18, lost to Morristown in sectional-opener

Key returnees: Parker Bryant, Sr., G; Justin Fosskuhl, Sr., G; Bryce Burton, Jr., G; Hunter Dean, Jr., G; Coltan Henderson, Jr., G; Jordan Myers, Jr., C

Fresh faces: Chris Burris, Sr., G; Christian Cox, Sr., F; Darius Bennett, So., G

Outlook: Witty, a Franklin College grad and the nephew of Indiana Basketball Hall of Famer Steve Witty, moves into his first head coaching gig after several years as an assistant at Franklin and Perry Meridian. He inherits a team that has plenty of experience but only 10 wins in the past two years. Improving the defense and pushing the pace offensively will be priorities, and the Lancers have one of the area’s top shooters in Henderson. On paper, Edinburgh looks like it could be a much better team, but with the late coaching change it may take a little time for those improvements to translate into victories.

Coachspeak: “We’ve had some bumps along the way, but we’re starting to figure out where we’re at and where we need to go, and what we need to do to get on the right track to start the season off.” — Witty

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.