Winter previews: What’s in the cards?

SHS teams prepare for the start of their seasons

SHS boys basketball team looks to rebound with a young class after losing key seniors

Sophomore Nickens Lemba

With fall sports seasons slowly coming to an end, winter sports have started final preparations and pre-season training before they start their year.

According to head coach Eric Brand, the SHS boys basketball team has done everything necessary for them to compete at a high level.

“We have been doing everything we possibly can under the COVID and IHSAA rules,” Brand said. “We have been working out when we can, and have continued to get into the weight room as much as we can.”

The Cards will still have to face many challenges this year, with the loss of three key seniors and going into this year as a relatively younger team. Typically, for a younger team, they would see one or two kids truly step up to be vocal leaders and fill the roles of those lost seniors, however, Brand believes many of his guys will step into a leadership role this year.

“We have had lots of our guys take big steps this year…,” Brand said. “I don’t think you have to have just one leader of a program.”

The sophomore class will play a key role in the team’s success, however they are starting their season without last year’s leading scorer, AJ Dancler, who averaged just over 16 points last year.

Anthony Ball will also be a top contributor coming off last season averaging 8 points per game, 8 rebounds and over 1 block as a freshman. Guard Keyon Miller also returns this year after averaging 6 points and 6 assists.

Despite the talent in the class of ‘23 there are still some questions about how well Nickens Lemba will perform, seeing as Lemba was not eligible to play last year and this will be his first opportunity to prove himself.

There is always the threat of the season getting cancelled due to COVID-19, however, according to sophomore Anthony Ball, the team has done everything they can to prepare for the worst.

As the season grows nearer, the Cards keep pushing forward, constantly waiting for their first chance to show everybody who they are.

“I’m just waiting on the season, I’ve expanded my game so much over this past summer,” Ball said.

Beyond the Buzzer

For 20 years, Orchestra teacher Thomas Wright and his wife have helped foreign exchange students find a home in the U.S. They were able to do exactly that a year ago for sophomore Nickens Lemba after he was brought here from the Congo. Over the past year, Lemba and the Wrights have grown closer, strengthening their bond, connecting two completely different worlds of music and basketball.

To read this issue’s version of “Beyond the Buzzer,” covering Lemba’s current family situation in the U.S., click the link below!


Players are stepping up into new roles in hopes of a successful SHS girls basketball season

Over the last two seasons, the girls basketball team has had three seniors in the starting lineup. Currently, they have four seniors on the team, but three of them have never started before.

Junior Miranda Deane

Because only one of the four seniors has experience in a starting lineup, it will be difficult for the remaining three to start this year.

“It is going to be a big difference because three out of our five starters from last year did leave,” junior Miranda Deane said. “A lot of people are going to need to step up into those spots.”

The Cards have a lot of new players who haven’t been on varsity before this season. Because this is new they are going to need help from the ones who have started before this year. They are also suffering from losing a key senior from last year, Lexie Green, who averaged 15 points, 4 assists and 9 rebounds.

“It isn’t just underclassmen that we are expecting to step up,” head coach Adam Morelock said. “We have nine first-time varsity players this year. All of them will need to step up into bigger and new roles for us to be competitive this year.”

The sophomore class has a couple of strong players. Lela Scott is one of these sophomores, and she started in their first game against Speedway.

“I felt nervous at first, but after we got out there and they called our names, I just got excited and was ready to just play,” Scott said.

The team wants to win as much as they can, but they are mainly focusing on their conference games and the game against Perry Meridian. Since any game could be their last because of the pandemic, they will treat every game like their season depends on it.

“We like to look at each game as an opportunity for us right now,” Morelock said. “We don’t know how many games we are going to get to play due to the pandemic, so each one is key.”


Wrestlers at SHS fear losing important match ups in this upcoming season

Senior Luke Goodwin (left) scrambles with younger brother, sophomore Andy Goodwin, in an attempt to score a takedown. (Emma Main)

As the wrestling team starts their ‘20-’21 season, they have some talent coming back.

One returner, senior Luke Goodwin, is looking to go on another state run this season after placing seventh in the IHSAA state tournament last year.

“We got a lot more people to fill up the line up and some more talent to fill up too, so we should be better,” Goodwin said.

While the team had several seniors that were sectional champions last year, they still have a couple younger guys coming back who have the potential to make big moves for the team. The weight class from 106 to 160 pounds is the team’s strongest class to help them win more meets.

“I think their goal is to attack the individual tournament at the end of the season just like we always do,” head coach Albert Skinner said.

A key match up this year for the wrestling team is a dual meet against Perry Meridian on Dec. 8. The conference and state tournaments will also be important for them to win. Unfortunately, they are unsure how far they will get due to the virus.

“Our big tournaments are questionable. We should find out soon whether or not those are going to happen,” Skinner said. “But right now, Perry Meridian is the pull, other than that conference, sectionals, regionals, semi-state and state.”

Because most of the matches that the wrestling team normally has are from bigger tournaments, the players will have less matches than before if these tournaments are canceled.

“A lot of our matches happen in bigger team events with 16 or more teams,” Skinner said. “Kids’ match numbers will be way down. It’s going to change the way we train during the week.”

The wrestlers are going to have to be ready for the individual matches this season. Typically, they would have the big tournaments to win, so when the state tournament comes around they have to be prepared.

“We have five wrestlers on the team that are probably going to state,” senior Anthony Helton said. “We are going to be up there with Perry.”


Boys and girls swim teams prepare for this season but expect challenges due to the pandemic

The SHS swim team is making final preparations as the season grows closer. Many of their athletes are ready to accomplish their goals and continue to bond with their teammates.

Freshman Dorrie June swims backstroke during warm ups. (Emma Main)

“Personally, I want to make it back to state again and place in the top eight or even higher…,” junior Caroline Reinke said. “And overall just bond as a team more.”

For swimmers, like all winter sports, this year is going to look completely new from previous years. They are still anticipating their year to continue, but are prepared to see a few changes to their schedule.

“This season is going to be very different, We’ve already had some questions over some of our big meets,” senior Daniel Hiller said, “and we are not quite sure if those will be able to happen yet.”

Seeing as sports have had limited training time during their offseason, many swimmers have gone out and participated in other sports just to continue their progression from last year. Hiller says, some of those on the team have also been running during their freetime so they will not fall behind in their conditioning this year.

According to Head Coach Matthew Jeffries, numerous swimmers have stepped up this season trying to achieve more than they ever have. One swimmer in particular he has seen grow as a person is Hiller, by improving his leadership skills, increasing his training and showing what he is truly capable of.

“Daniel has grown tremendously. He works hard, supports his teammates and leads by example,” Jeffries said. ”He continually pushes himself and over the summer isn’t an exception.”

Even though this year will continue to be a challenge for the Cards, Jeffries believes that they are doing everything they can to succeed this year and win as much as possible.

“Ninety-five percent of the team is swimming year round,” Jeffries said. “They are consistently training in the off season to prepare for the coming year.”