Nov. 16—ELNORA — The North Daviess Cougars may be one of the most interesting teams in Southern Indiana this year. They return a big part of last year's Class A State Championship team, and will be competing in 3A this season. However, they are still a team that will be expected to challenge for a a lot of 3A success as well.
Veteran coach Brent Dalrymple's team with seniors Jaylen Mullen, Brayden and Brenden Stickles, Lance and Luke Wilson and Austin Brower provide a long, athletic and basketball savvy bunch that understands playing at a high level.
After a 23-3 season that ended with a state title against Central Catholic, the Cougars will play one of the toughest schedules in the state. After starting with Loogootee, they travel to Rose-Hulman to play TH North, Beech Grove at Southport, The Hall of Fame Classic, their own Bobcat Tourney, along with traditional foes Barr-Reeve, Orleans and Linton, along with finishing the regular season with Edinburgh, Seymour and Sullivan.
Dalrymple is excited to come into the year as a defending state champion.
"Well, I think it's one of confidence. It's made us all feel like we were doing things the right way. And we're all coming together like that. You know, we just got to keep doing some of the same things that we've always done. We've got to keep our culture. In this basketball program there are some things that are important to it — the deep bench, taking care of the basketball, the rebounding, all that type of stuff. Have to be on point again this year," said Dalrymple.
"You may see a different style this season. There's no doubt in the world that that style is going to have to be get up down the floor and score more points this year with the type of schedule we have and with sectional tournament format we're going to be participating in."
Mullen should continue to be one of the region's best at point guard and will be playing at Oakland City next year. He currently is only one basket away from his 1,000th point.
Lance and Logan Wilson will have similar roles providing defense, 3-point shooting and rebounding. Newcomer Austin Brower is a 6-4 transfer from Washington, Brendan Stickles is 6-5 and is a more traditional post player, while Brayden is 6-3 and provides additional shooting from the outside.
"I think it's one of those things and anybody that's ever played basketball recognizes this— from your junior year to your senior year, the amount of confidence, no matter what happens to you, your junior year just grows exponentially. For us to win a state title last year and for those all those juniors to be a part of that. Our kids are ready for that and Jaylen Mullen elevated his game this summer to another level as did the two Wilson twins as did Stickles. We are just we're just looking for some really good things to know I continue."
Others rounding out the roster are senior Brycen Skinner, and juniors Max Toy, Travis Raber and Landon Swartzentruber.
The Cougars open the year in a boy/girl double header at home with Loogootee on Nov. 22.
"There's there were several things on my bucket list. When I first got into this profession 25 years ago. And the Hall of Fame Tourney completes that bucket list for me completes it. These goals I set for myself, here at North Davies. And you know, it's kind of surreal there but just all the venues that we're going to go to, starting with Rose Hulman, Oakland City, weekend and then, hosting our tournament here and then the Hall of Fame. I went up there for a meeting last week. It's incredible. And then to go to places like Connersville and Seymour too, is just really special.