While we will get into the conference breakdowns on the boys side coming up, we start by looking at a handful of the outlier schools in the Outside the Huddle coverage area that are not in one of the four main conferences.
What can you expect out of these area schools?
Everything for the defending state champs starts with 6-foot-9 junior Kellen Pickett, who is a clear Indiana Junior All-Star candidate after averaging 13. 9 points and eight rebounds per game last season. Back too in the starting lineup is senior Isaac Smith, who hit 79 threes last season while averaging 9.1 points. Aiden Muldoon was a quality piece off the bench for the Braves a season ago and will now be tasked with controlling tempo at the point guard position. He averaged three points and 1.6 assists last season. Will Guthrie will return to add to the depth potential inside while Brennan Miller is another quality shooter that saw some varsity action last season.
Blackhawk Christian will see their potential depth come from the junior varsity level in a program that traditionally does a good job of developing their lower level players. Guards Bryce Sefton, Luke Mansfield and Ben Gray will have the chance to be part of the varsity rotation, as will forwards Christian Webster, Jaeden O’Neal and Jackson Hauser.
For Canterbury, their move ins will be the big story of the year as the Cavaliers acquired four guys who would have been in the rotation at their previous school including a couple who were last years too. Tucker Day and John Parent both have looked. really good over the summer and/or fall and give the Cavaliers immediately two guys who are going to be really good on both ends of the court. They will be paired with returning Devon Lewis (16.9 ppg) and Ashton Dressler (4.7 ppg) to really give Canterbury one of the best lead groups we’ve seen in Class 1A in some time not at Blackhawk Christian.
The Cavaliers will return Deacon Wardlow and junior Reed Hayes as well. But there are other new faces to be excited about to for Canterbury with Colin Burda and Jackson Davis also transferring in. Sophomore Alden Greider is a tough and physical guard that will come up from the junior varsity.
“We will need to come together early and establish our roles, in which case the sky is the limit,” said Canterbury coach Deric Adams. “We fortunately have a very seasoned group that can accomplish this.”
The Panthers will rely a lot of the return of Mason Jolloff in the post to create mismatches for them. Jolloff is a solid passing big who has started to expand his range better. Jolloff averaged 8.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game but the Panthers did graduate their top three scorers. They do not return a lot of experience behind Jolloff and fellow senior Corbin White.
Seniors Blake Jacquay and Nick Wadman will step into substantial roles on the perimeter and as quality defenders for the Panthers.
Manchester has quite a bit back and they will rely on those six guys to help build off momentum from a season ago. The head of the snake is Gavin Betten, a 6-foot-7 sophomore who was among the best in the state last year in the Class of 2026, averaging 21.4 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. He will be joined on the interior by a returning Carter Wagoner, a 6-4 forward who added three points per game.
On the perimeter, the Squires will look to Ethan Hendrix again after he averaged 13 points and 4.3 assists per game last season as Manchester’s second leading scorer with 44 made threes. Hendrix will be joined in the backcourt by the returns of Tyler McLain (11 ppg, 2.4 spg, 40 3PM), Gavin Martin and Tallon Torpy.
Luke Bricker had a really good sophomore season and will look to grow on his 8.3 points per game. Carson Gould will return with valuable experience from last season after giving Warsaw 2.4 points and 3.8 assists per game. Brandt Martin will also return as a wing option for the Tigers.
6-foot-7 Luke Yeager has gotten stronger since we last saw him and he could be one of the toughest interior matchups in the Northern Lakes Conference. Mydin Burgher and Robbie Finlinson join the Warsaw rotations.
“We have great chemistry with this group. If they commit to one another and defend the way we hope, we have lofty expectations for them,” said Warsaw coach Matt Moore.
The move in of Sam Essegian gives Whitko a really fun one two punch with longtime friend and AAU teammate Kyler Krull. Krull (18.9. ppg) has established himself as a tremendous TRC player, arguably the best in the conference this season thanks to his sharp shooting. Paired with Essegian’s tremendous effort and defensive prowess, the pair could be lethal for Whitko.
Riley Harman (10.7. ppg/4.8 rpg) give the Wildcats another really quality starter back. Jaylen Gibson also returns after leading the Whitko defense with 1.2 steals per game last season; he was also the team leader in total assists with 62. Logan Hoffman led Whitko is field goal percentage last season with hitting 49 percent of his shots.