EMMA — The Westview boys basketball program always has high expectations and the 2019-20 season is no different.
Despite graduating seniors like Elijah Hales, Nick Rensberger, Dennis Wingard and Josh Hostetler, the Warriors expect bring in another wave of talent, led by last year’s KPC Media Group Prep of the Year, senior Charlie Yoder.
Blake Egli, Jordan Schrock, Drew Litwiller and Mason Yoder all gained experience at the varsity level last season, but will relied upon in a different way this season.
“We have a lot of guys that actually played, just their roles are going to be a lot different and a lot bigger,” Westview coach Rob Yoder said at the Northeast Indiana Basketball Media Day in Fort Wayne on Oct. 17. “We have a lot of lettermen returning. We just have to figure out how to play together, and they’re going to have to gain some experience.”
The Warriors made it to the championship game of the Class 2A North Judson Regional last season, but were beaten by the eventual state champion Andrean 60-49. Westview’s depth was tested in that regional after a bout of food poisoning left the team without seven players that day.
The experience of being in that setting is worthy to this year’s returners, but Rob Yoder said competing at a high level in practice every day last season was just as valuable.
There is no secret who the Warriors will rely on to a lot this season, and that’s Charlie Yoder.
“Nobody will know who he is,” Rob Yoder said jokingly.
Charlie broke the school’s single-season scoring record last season and will more than likely come close or surpass that mark this season.
“He’s gained 20 pounds since the end of last season, so that’s one thing that you see right away,” Rob Yoder said. “Overall, I think he’s improved a lot skill-wise. He’s always been skilled but physically, he’s improved his body. He’s older, stronger and faster, and all of that stuff helps.”
Since Charlie Yoder will draw so much attention from opposing teams, Rob Yoder thinks that guys like Litwiller, Schrock, Egli and Mason Yoder will be able to help on the offensive end.
“We want to be balanced around Charlie. We know he’s going to get some attention. We’re hopeful that will help our team get some good shots,” Rob Yoder said.
The strength of the 2018-19 Warriors wasn’t outside shooting, but that could change if they get those good shots Yoder mentioned.
“Potentially, we might shoot the ball better than last year, which will really help,” Yoder said. “I think we do have some perimeter shooting that has gotten older or hasn’t been on the varsity yet.”
Luke Miller, Lyndon Miller, Drew Miller, Caleb Cory, Brandon Lehman and Brady Yoder are all players who could also make an impact for this season’s team.
Westview opens the season at Northridge on Nov. 30. It doesn’t have the powers of Center Grove or Valparaiso in its schedule again this season, but it will play University at Grace College on Saturday, Dec. 21. The Trailblazers won 21 games in each of the last two seasons.