Bishop Luers won 18 games a season ago, the most for the program since the 2011-12 campaign. Coach Mark Pixley looks to ensure that the performance wasn’t a one-year wonder.

While leading scorer Kathryn Knapke (14.0 ppg) has graduated, Luers returns every other significant contributor from last year. That includes junior Lydia Reimbold, who was second on the team in both scoring (10.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg).

Sophomore Janaiya Bright had a solid rookie campaign, averaging close to 7 points per contest in 18 games. Her development is expected to take the next step as she grows more comfortable at the varsity level.

A trio of juniors – Libby Bierbaum, Kennedy Glenn and Dori Javins – will be looked upon to step up in the absence of Knapke.

The senior class also has some experience in Katelynn Gray (4.8 ppg), Ashlynn Gray (3.0 ppg) and Faith Jones (2.3 ppg).

One thing that the Knights won’t lack is height. The team will have at least three players listed at 5-foot-10 and above, with Reimbold, Glenn and Jones all willing and able to be physical around the basket when battling for rebounds.

Why #3?

While Knapke is gone, the Knights retain a lot of talent that is only going to get better. Reimbold is a star in the making and is expected to take over a greater role offensively. But she will have plenty of help, with a plethora of young shooters and slashers ready to back her up.

Size is also a factor, with the belief that the Knights could have one of the best interior defenses in the SAC.

Why not higher?

It is “wait and see mode” when it comes to who emerges from the talented younger classes. The good thing for Pixley is that there are plenty of candidates. A rigorous early-season schedule that includes Central Noble, Angola and South Side will challenge the Knights immediately.

Critical game

Dec. 14 vs. Homestead

Luers shocked many when it knocked off the Spartans in the SAC Holiday Tournament last year, ending a multi-year run of dominance in the event by Homestead.

With the two teams projected to be two of the best in the SAC, a mid-December showdown at Luers could be a key decider when it comes to crowning a regular-season league champion.

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