A veteran point guard who can score, pass and lead is high on the wish list of most basketball coaches.
Clearwater boys coach Dale Lukert has one in Dylan Spencer, a steady senior who led the Indians in scoring last season and will try to help them improve on an 8-13 record.
"He's a playmaker," Lukert said. "He can get up and down the floor really well, shoots the three fairly well, likes to penetrate. Even though he can score, he looks to pass first."
The Indians' starting lineup could lack a player taller than 6-foot, so they'll likely have to establish a transition game complemented by strong perimeter shooting.
Clearwater returns two starters, but Spencer and senior Dylan Swalley were its two leading scorers.
"He was a part of why we started to play a lot better," Lukert said of Swalley. "We struggled early on, but last year I hardly had any experience."
Lukert hopes part of the growing up process will be playing better away from home. Clearwater's biggest wins — Mulvane, Circle, Andale, all came at home.
The Indians lost three times by more than 15 points on the road and had no such losses in Clearwater.
"Just going through something and understanding the way things work in a game, I think, is huge," Lukert said. "That experience is worth a lot."
Juniors Trevor Bowman and Austin Adams are strong shooters who can stretch a defense, and newcomer Huey Davis figures to be one of the Indians' fastest players.
"We're definitely going to have to push the ball up when we can," Lukert said. "We don't have a true post, but the kids are fairly athletic."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The leading candidate is Lauer, who saw limited time last season but can be effective in the post as a scorer and rebounder. She can also help create shots for Hoover and Vogel. “We’ll have to look to Tricia and Sara for the bulk of the scoring, but I’m looking to Ashley in every part of the game, as far as defense and rebounding and scoring. But we’re going to have to get some (production) from other kids to be successful.”