Although the Edinburgh boys basketball team lost five starters to graduation from last year’s regional championship squad, coach Drew Glentzer is certain the Lancers are set for another winning campaign.
That’s because Class A Edinburgh returns five letter winners from that 23-3 team a year ago and once again will start five experienced seniors.
“It’s one of those things where our kids this year got to practice against one of the best (Class A) teams in the state in our starters last year,” Glentzer said. “They had a chance to practice against them every day, so I don’t know what better rehearsal they could have for this season.
“I think they understand the leadership the seniors last year provided. And I look for that same thing this year from our seniors. And we’re going to be senior-laden again.”
Last season, Edinburgh won its first regional crown in 61 years before falling to eventual state champion Loogootee 61-50 in the semistate.
This year, the Lancers’ starters include three players who each averaged eight minutes per game last season — seniors Caleb Giles, Trent Tatlcok and Ryan Burton.
Giles is a 6-foot-1 guard who scored five points per game last season. Tatlock, a 6-foot, 210-pound forward, was a captain for Edinburgh’s football team. And Burton is a 6-2 forward.
“So they averaged a quarter a game each last year,” Glentzer said. “Now we have a chance for these role players to become starters.”
Rounding out the starting five will be returning 6-4 senior center Nate King and 6-foot senior guard Riley Price, who transferred from Hamilton Southeastern.
Returning letter winner Dakota Sneed, a 6-4, 260-pound forward/center, will come off the bench. Junior guard Dakota Dayton and freshman guard Kyle Pendleton also will compete for significant minutes.
“To be honest with you, we’ve got about seven or eight kids to pick from that could start,” Glentzer said. “I think when all of those guys are pulling on the same end of the rope, they’re really going to have a good opportunity.”
Tatlock said that if anyone expects a letdown from the Lancers this year, they won’t see one.
“They shouldn’t be expecting it,” Tatlock said. “We’re developing a tradition here, and we’re looking to win every game we play. There’s not a single game we can’t win. Our goal is to win another conference title and go as far as we can in the tournament.
“We have the whole season to build toward that.”
After being role players, Tatlock said he and his teammates embrace the chance to finally be leaders.
“No matter where you’re at, whether you’re on the court or the bench, winning is the same,” he said. “But it’s kind of exciting now to be considered more of a go-to guy instead of a role player.”
Glentzer said Edinburgh will have to change up its offense after losing leading scorers Kyle Wuest and Jordan Burton, but the Lancers would again be known for their familiar brand of scrappy defense.
“We like to pressure the ball, protect the basket and challenge shots,” Glentzer said. “It’s all about good team defense and rotating.
“If you can cover those things, challenge shots and not give up easy ones and put pressure on the ball, you can beat a lot of teams.”
This year the Lancers will play at least eight larger schools, which includes nonconference games against Class 4A Seymour and Greenwood.
“Our schedule is as good as Edinburgh has ever had. Half of it is against bigger schools,” Gletnzer said. “Our kids are all going to have a chance to win a conference and sectional title. And if you go to the regional, it’s two games, and we’re right back to where we were last year.
“Our kids are excited about the challenge. I really like this team.”