Varsity Basketball

2014-15 basketball preview: Andover

Dante Butler, Andover basketball
Dante Butler, Andover basketball The Wichita Eagle

Schedule

December — 5, Maize South; 9, at McPherson; 12, at Andover Central; 16, Arkansas City.

January — 2, at Goddard; 6, Eisenhower; 8, 9 or 10 TBA at Koch Arena; 13, at Valley Center; 16, at Buhler; 22-24, Salina tournament (B&G); 27, Derby.

February — 3, at Hutchinson; 6, Andover Central; 10, at Arkansas City; 13, Goddard; 17, at Eisenhower; 20, at Maize South; 24, Valley Center.

Boys

Coach: Chad Wilmott, fourth season, 46-21

Last season: 15-7

Top players

Austin Brown, 6-4, sr., F

Dante Butler, 6-2, sr., F

Griffin Jobe, 5-10, sr., G

Josh Norlin, 5-10, sr., G

Zach Seabrook, 6-2, sr., F

Andover graduated 64 percent of its scoring, as well as its top scorer and rebounder, All-Metro selection Adam DeKoning (19.4 points, 9.2 rebounds).

But is it a rebuilding year?

“I don’t know what to expect,” Wilmott said. “I’ve been telling my assistant coaches that this is the first year that I don’t know what to expect.… We could be a really good team. We will have to have some young guys step up and fill some roles on the team.”

There’s plenty of depth, though, with a strong sophomore class of athletes, in addition to the five seniors on whom Wilmott will be counting. There won’t be that one player teams can focus their efforts on stopping, but that’s OK.

“Our scoring will be spread out, we’ll be harder to scout, we’ll have more weapons,” he said.

Brown is a threat inside, both offensively and defensively. He’s strong around the basket, but he can also step out to the perimeter and score. At 6-5, opponents will struggle to find a player who can match up well.

Butler also is a presence inside. He’s consistent and he rebounds well.

Jobe, Norlin and Seabrook “are quick, they’re tough,” Wilmott said. “We’re going to have defensive role guys, and they have the ability to do that with their quickness. Zach Seabrook is a post, and he’s deceivingly quick. Griffin and Josh, their defensive efforts can be huge.

“(Junior) Eli (Renoux) is an athlete. It’s just about finding a way to let Eli attack. Let him use his ability to do whatever we need, whether it’s trapping in defense or jumping into passing lanes.”

Girls

Coach: Max Hamblin, 10th season, 110-65

Last season: 16-6

Top players

Jaylyn Agnew, 5-10, sr., F

Katelyn Day, 5-6, sr., G

Hayley Meisch, 6-0, sr., F

Lexie Tilson, 5-10, jr., F

Riley Messina, 5-6, sr., G

There was a span of 12 seasons from 1996-97 until 2007-08 when the Andover girls earned a postseason berth.

Andover has qualified for state four times in the past six seasons, but the Trojans’ missing out on the Class 5A tournament in March was painful.

“Most of these girls were in the state tournament the year before,” Hamblin said. “They know the stuff that you go through and what to expect.”

A return to the 5A tournament will depend heavily on Agnew, Day, Meisch and Carissa Preboth, all seniors, along with Tilson and sophomore Mia Hays.

“The sky’s the limit,” Hamblin said. “We have everything we need. We’re lacking maybe a little bit of depth. I have eight girls we can play, and they all have experience.

“There’s talent, we’re fast, quick, can jump, shoot pretty well and we’re good defenders.”

Agnew (14 points, 7 rebounds), who signed to play at Creighton, will continue to expand her role beyond the lane, where she is a threat to block shots. She’s a strong outside shooter, as well, and is quick enough to drive past defenders.”

With Agnew and Meisch inside, they can shut down the lane.

“Hayley’s going to have a really good season,” Hamblin said. “She’s very fundamentally sound, she’s very technical and she posts up strong.

Tilson can rebound, play interior defense and also step into a ballhandling role.

Defense is critical for Andover, and Agnew is one of the most dangerous.

With Agnew’s long arms, she can shut down opponents as can the rest of Andover’s quick guards.

“We’d like to press because of our depth,” Hamblin said. “We’re going to try to run more offensively, so we’ll expend more energy probably that way. But we’ll still be able to press.”

Joanna Chadwick

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