Lions look at sectional as opportunity
BREMEN — Team unity is easy to achieve when times are good. It's the tough times that are challenging.
The Bremen boys basketball team has seen its share of difficulties this season but has maintained a positive attitude and drive.
"Nobody enjoys losing in basketball, because you play it to win," Bremen coach Kyle Hanyzewski said. "It's easy to get along on a winning team, and what separates this group is they stay together and work for each other. A lot of kids would pack up and quit but these kids bring it every single day and that's been a pleasure to see."
Bremen's seniors — Ty Holmes, Jesse Glingle, Brandon Cope, J.J. Schafer and Michael Ricketts — are a big reason why the team has stayed positive.
"Each senior brings something that I consider invaluable to the team," Hanyzewski said. "It's not a lot of points, because most of those come from younger grades, but they bring a leadership quality, work ethic and togetherness. It's a group that from an outsider's perspective hasn't had a lot of success on the floor, but I've really enjoyed being around them and we wouldn't feel like we could make a run at a sectional without them."
Glingle (4.5 points per game) began the season as a starter, but even after going to a backup role, remained focused and unselfish.
"He's really knocking down shots right now and is probably the guy who can score and score quickly for us," Hanyzewski said. "He accepted his role and has done a great job with that."
Junior Ben Hueni (8.8 ppg, 59 percent from 3-point range) has continued to elevate his game.
"He's worked hard and has done a tremendous job and is the focal point of a lot of defenses," Hanyzewski said. "Despite that, he's worked through it to have a great deal of success. He's taking care of the ball, scoring and getting everyone involved."
Junior starter Austin Huff (4.1 ppg) and reserve Mitch Huppert (4.3 rebounds per game) have provided a boost as of late in the paint.
"Mitch has an understanding of the game that helps us out," Hanyzewski said. "Austin has really picked it up and I like what they're both doing in the post for us."
Like Glingle, junior Josh Brenneman (2.5 ppg) didn't sulk when he went from the starting lineup to a backup role.
"No one on this team is more valuable than Josh on defense," Hanyzewski said. "He knows as soon as he comes in that he's matched up against the other team's best player. He's done a great job against a lot of good players and is just like a starter, no matter when he comes in."
Sophomores Jacob Box (6.2 ppg) and Ethan Pike (5.8 ppg) have shown promise.
"They've had a typical sophomore season, with a lot of highs and a lot of lows," Hanyzewski said. "Part of the maturing process is getting more consistent, and I think the sky's the limit with those two if they can develop that consistency."
Every year across the state, teams with losing records ruin a favorite's season in sectional play. Hanyzewski knows it first-hand as a member of the 2000-01 South Bend St. Joseph's team that won a sectional despite an 8-12 record going in.
"We set our goals before the season and obviously we've fallen short on most of them, but the great think about Indiana is you get to start the postseason at 0-0," Hanyzewski said. "There's still a giant goal out there. We know we're not beating anybody unless we put together 32 full minutes, but if we can do it like we've done in spurts, anything is possible. These kids still believe, and when you have that, there's always a chance."