Last season the Newburg High School boys' basketball team opened a lot of eyes on its way to a 15-win campaign.
The Wolves hope to open even more this season.
Newburg is slated to open the season on Tuesday at Owensville in non-league play.
Despite a young, inexperienced group Newburg finished 15-13 overall and was 4-4 in Frisco League action last season.
And this season head coach Doug Ward has a large group back from that squad, including the team's top three scorers.
Among the talent back are 6-2 sophomore guard Ryan Ward, 6-3 senior forward Kaleb Robinson, 6-1 senior guard Alan Yelton, 5-9 senior guard Kylon Bales, 5-9 senior guard Brayden Black, 6-0 senior forward Cody McCray.
Others expected to play a role in the Wolf varsity rotation are sophomore Caleb Wofford, sophomore Dusten Reagan, senior Tevis Elbert and freshman Tyler Newton.
Ward was one of the area's top newcomers as a freshman last season, when he averaged 17.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.2 steals while earning all-conference and all-district honors. Robinson was second-team all-league after averaging 14 points per game ad Yelton chipped in around nine points a game.
"I think we can open up the offense a little more," Doug Ward said. "We had to control the ball offensively and defensively last year. I think we've got more offense this year.
"I think we jump-shot a lot of games at the end. We want to play more physical. In the conference we'll play physical teams; Iberia and Licking are physical teams. We're sealing and trying to take it inside more."
Ryan Ward has the look of an even more improved player this season. He has grown a couple of inches over the off-season and his coach/father says he has the confidence he sometimes lacked as a freshman.
"Ryan has gotten more experience," Doug Ward said. "He grew and is stronger. And I think his shooting confidence is better. And he has always made everyone around him better."
Coach Ward feels his other key players are improved as well.
"Kaleb has always been a good shooter," he said. "McCray has been shooting the ball well; and we've got to go inside with him more. Yelton has more confidence this year and we're hoping he'll have the type of year he had as a sophomore."
As usual the Frisco League is going to be deep and strong, according to Doug Ward.
"Iberia and Licking are going to be strong," he said. "Plato looks good on paper. Richland has a lot of good athletes. It's going to be tough again."
WOLF NOTES: Ward's assistant again this season is Logan Ray, who is also Newburg Athletic Director.
Page 2 of 2 - Fourth-seeded Newburg plays fifth-seeded Richland at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30 in the first round of the Frisco League Tournament at Laquey High School.
Nov. 26...at Owensville, 6 p.m.
Nov. 30-Dec. 7...Frisco League Tourney at Laquey
Dec. 10...at St. Elizabeth, 6 p.m.
Dec. 13...at Stoutland, 6 p.m.
Dec. 20...Vienna, 6 p.m.
Dec. 26-28...Richland Holiday Tourney
Jan. 7...at Skyline, 6 p.m.
Jan. 11...Bourbon, 3 p.m.
Jan. 14...at Crocker, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 17...at Plato, 6 p.m.
Jan. 20-25...St. James Tourney
Jan. 28...Iberia, 6 p.m.
Jan. 31...Steelville, 6 p.m.
Feb. 4...at Belle, 6 p.m.
Feb. 7...at Cuba, 6 p.m.
Feb. 11...Licking, 6 p.m.
Feb. 14...at Dixon, 6 p.m.
Feb. 18...at Richland, 6 p.m.
Feb. 21...Laquey, 6 p.m.
Feb. 24-March 1...Class 2 District 9 Tourney at Laquey