Newark made a Class 1A boys basketball super-sectional for the fourth time in five seasons in 2012-13. The Norsemen have won 20-plus games five straight times.
For those levels of success to continue, the Norsemen will have to achieve them without Brett Anderson. An Associated Press first-team All-Stater, Anderson had more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds during his Newark career.
“Impossible to replace Brett, as he did so many things for us,” Newark coach Rick Tollefson said. “I think we will have a quicker team this year, a little deeper and overall better ball handling. Scoring and rebounding are going to certainly be keys for us. Brett did an awful lot of that for us the last two years.”
Tollefson expects his starting lineup “for now” to consist of the only senior on the roster, 6-foot-1 Grant Riehle-Moeller, 5-foot-10 junior Matt Eike, 6-foot-2 junior Noah Nichols, 6-foot-6 sophomore Jack Clausel and 6-foot-2 freshman Will Clausel.
The varsity roster also consists of 5-foot-11 junior Karter Kunkel, 6-foot-5 sophomore Zach Anderson, 6-foot-0 sophomore Kendall Endres, 5-foot-6 sophomore Mitchel Schmidt, 6-foot-4 sophomore Evan Schomer, 5-foot-9 freshman Steve McGrath and 6-foot-1 freshman Dimitri Milakis.
“[Schomer] will be sixth man and we will see what happens from there,” Tollefson said. “We have several other players that may be able to help us.”
What could be seen as an inexperienced roster does have its share of promise, Tollefson said.
“I like our team quickness, I like having a designated point guard that can handle the ball and see the floor and I think we have good team instincts and chemistry,” Tollefson said. “We are young and we’ll see what that looks like once we start playing games.”
After spending next week at the Sycamore Tournament, Newark will jump right into Little Ten Conference play Dec. 6 when it hosts Somonauk.
“I think we will be in the top half [of the conference],” Tollefson said. “Indian Creek, in my mind, is the favorite this year.”