MAHOMET — The basketball season officially gets underway Monday when high schools around the state will hold their first practice. Mahomet-Seymour will have two interesting teams to watch this season. Both the boys and the girls lost plenty of seniors from last year’s team, but a few key contributors are back for both squads. Here are five hoopers to watch out for with opening night just two weeks away.
Grant Coleman, senior
Grant Coleman is the first Division I hooper to come out of Mahomet in a really long time. The senior will head to Wisconsin-MIlwaukee to continue his basketball career. But first, he’ll try and lead the Bulldogs to an Apollo Conference crown. The 6-foot-7 wing showcased how dominant he could be last season when he scored over 20 points per game. But now, it’s time for Coleman and the Bulldogs to win. Coleman is good enough to go for 40 on some nights. But M-S has a strong supporting cast that could take some of the pressure off. Coleman was really good as a junior. It’ll be interesting to see what improvements he made to his game, entering his final season in the orange and blue.
Braden Finch, junior
Braden Finch really came on strong last year as a sophomore. At the beginning of the year, he wasn’t in the rotation. By the end of the season, he was one of the Bulldogs’ best players. Now that he’s an upperclassmen, it’s time for him to flex his muscles and showcase his full repertoire. Finch can do a lot on the offensive side because he’s so versatile. He can knock down threes, and then go inside and battle for offensive rebounds. But his defensive versatility could be even more key. Finch is strong and quick enough to shut down some some guards. He could also move inside and guard some bigs too. That versatility allows head coach Ryan Bosch to play with the lineups a little bit. He could go with a big lineup of Coleman, Finch and bouncy 6-foot-3 senior Kobe Essien which could create some matchup nightmares for opponents. Finch might be the second-best offensive weapon on the roster. If his game takes a healthy step forward, M-S could be really dangerous.
Cole Lener, senior
Grant Coleman was the best player on the floor for the Bulldogs last season, but you could make a case that Lener was one of the most valuable pieces on the roster. Lener is probably the Bulldogs’ best perimeter defender. He rebounds well for a point guard, and he will be running the show offensively this season. Lener probably won’t average 20 points a night, but his all-around game will be on full display this winter. Lener has a real chance to be a thorn in a lot of people’s sides.
Dawson Finch and Jordan Veldman both graduated, so Lener will need to be the one that leads the defense.
Makayla Rosenbery, senior
The M-S girls basketball team will lose a lot of production from last year’s squad. Abby Kyle, Madi Wade, Kailyn Northrup and Lakeida Nichols all started a ton of games. So, it’ll be up to Rosenbery to pick up the slack. Rosenbery has a really nice outside stroke, and she’s long and athletic. There are plenty of shots to be had. Rosenbery could be in line to take over as the No. 1 scorer. She’ll get added attention, but she’s good enough to average double-digit points this season.
Nichole Taylor, sophomore
Nichole Taylor did some really good things as a freshman last year, and she’ll look to make a big sophomore jump. She got a taste of varsity basketball last year, and she had some games where she really showed out. But Taylor will need to be a consistent presence for M-S this year. Taylor could team up with Ashley Wheeler to form an interesting front line. Wheeler has a nice 15-foot jumper, and Taylor is a beast on the glass. If Taylor finds her consistency, that could raise the ceiling of the Bulldogs considerably.