GOSHEN — In Sam Stegelmann, Jesse Good and Austin Henke, the Goshen Redskins hope they possess a triumphant triumvirate this boys basketball season.
At a minimum, they definitely possess in that all-senior group their top three scorers back from last season’s 11-10 team.
And that’s not all Goshen possesses. There are other veterans in camp as well, there’s considerable size up from a 13-7 junior varsity club, and there’s a coach’s-son freshman point guard in Brady Bechtel who could see some varsity time right away.
“We might have better basketball skill sets and better athleticism across the board,” 14th-year Goshen coach Brian Bechtel says as he compares this season to last season, “but we really did lose a lot of leadership with (graduated) Warren (Kay) and Louis (Kissinger). Those were three-year varsity players who weren’t dominant offensively by any means, but their leadership and defense meant a lot of good things. That leadership is something we’ve been missing in early practices, but, there’s always a trade-off with high school kids, and right now I feel like this could be one of the better teams we’ve had in a long time.”
The 6-foot-5 Stegelmann led the Redskins last winter at 12.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Good averaged 10.9 points and fellow guard Henke 9.2. Returnees Isaac Huerta and Cristian Barron both saw some varsity duty at point guard a year ago, while the individuals elevated from the JV this year include promising 6-5 sophomore Austin Woolett, 6-7 Trevor Weldy and 6-3 Derec Haynes.
With its original opener against Marian postponed to a date to be determined, Goshen now debuts Nov. 24 at home against Glenn.
Q&A, roster, more on B3
You have three solid scorers back in seniors Sam Stegelmann, Jesse Good and Austin Henke. Do their roles change at all?
“I don’t think their roles change much. We’ve definitely got to center things around Sam. He’s crafty inside and I think he’s gotten quite a bit better. He also has the freedom to step outside and shoot 3s. He hit 16 of them last year. Jesse’s pretty dead-eye accurate out there, and then we should be able to get Henke off the point most of the time this year, which will free him to be a better spot-up shooter. Any time you’ve got the presence of Sam inside and a couple consistent shooters (Henke and Good hit a combined 82 of 196 on 3s for 42 percent last season), that should create some difficulty to guard. And then Derec Haynes up from the JV and Brady Bechtel are two more who can shoot the 3, so we feel like we can counter if people focus too heavily on Sam.”
Besides those you’ve mentioned, who are the candidates for major minutes and what do they bring?
“Isaac Huerta is our sophomore point guard, and right now the starter. He really has matured in the offseason. He showed some talent as a freshman, but I think he saw himself as a JV player. This year, he’s showing the confidence to play varsity basketball. His speed and athleticism and quickness will help create some turnovers. He and Brady at the point can both create off the dribble. We’re looking at Austin Woolett, a 6-5 sophomore, to come on. He played predominantly freshman last year, but moved up to JV at the end of the season. He has spent time a lot of time in MBA and on the AAU circuit. He’s a strong and athletic big man. He and (6-7) Trevor Weldy give us a chance to guard other teams’ big men and hopefully keep Sam out of foul trouble. They provide a little more size than last year. Hopefully, they’ll help our rebounding. A couple other guys competing for time and who should help us are Alex Hartsough and Cristian Barron. I think we’ve got a chance to be a pretty deep team.”
What are the potential changes in the way Goshen looks this season, and where do the concerns lie?
“One thing changing is we want to look for more transition opportunities. We’ve got more speed and athleticism than we’ve had in probably my 14 years here. We’re also focused pretty heavily on trying to keep teams out of the paint, making teams beat us from the perimeter. Generally speaking, defense and rebounding are going to be keys for us to be successful. We’ve been outrebounded every year since Taylor Kolbus graduated (in 2010) and we’ve given up too many high percentage shots.”
The players seem particularly confident. Do they have cause?
“If the kids will buy into being hard-nosed rebounders and being more stingy on defense, we think we can be in position to win the (Northern Lakes Conference) or the (Elkhart Sectional). We’re not favorites by any means, but there have been years where I don’t know if it was realistic to set those goals, and I think this year we can. That’s a good feeling for the kids right now.”
By the numbers
Years since the Redskins last returned three scorers who each averaged at least nine points per game the previous season. They do this season in Sam Stegelmann, Jesse Good and Austin Henke. They did in 1991-92 in Matt Grieser, Mike Miller and Chad Defrees. That ’91-92 club improved from 15-7 to 21-4, which remains Goshen’s best mark over the last 49 years.
Season that Brian Bechtel begins as Goshen coach, tying him with immediate predecessor Mike Sorrell for the longest tenure in the more than 100 years of Redskin boys basketball.
No. Player Pos. Ht. Yr.
4 Austin Henke G 5-9 Sr.
5 Sam Stegelmann F 6-5 Sr.
10 Brady Bechtel G 5-9 Fr.
20 Cristian Barron G 5-8 Sr.
22 Jesse Good G 5-11 Sr.
23 Derec Haynes F 6-3 Jr.
24 Isaac Huerta G 5-6 So.
31 Alex Hartsough F 6-2 Jr.
42 Trevor Weldy F 6-7 Jr.
44 Austin Woolett F 6-5 So.
Coach: Brian Bechtel (129-190 in 15 seasons overall; 116-162 in 13 seasons at Goshen; 13-28 in 2 seasons at Garrett).
Assistants: Michael Wohlford, Shaun Hill, Von Oxenrider, Kris Davis, Jeremy McLaughlin.
24 — Glenn 30 — Bremen.
1 — at Central (North Side Gym). 8 — at DeKalb. 14 — at Northridge (c) 15 — at Fairfield. 28 — NIC/NLC Shootout — host SB St. Joseph. 29 — NIC/NLC Shootout — vs. Penn at St. Joseph.
4 — Concord (c). 11 — Warsaw (c). 18 — at NorthWood (c). 25 — Memorial (c). 29 — at Mishawaka.
1 — at Plymouth (c). 7 — Wawasee (c). 9 — East Noble (1 p.m. JV start). 15 — at Westview. 19 — at SB St. Joseph. 22 — West Noble.
(c) — Denotes Northern Lakes Conference game.
Note: A home game against Marian, ppd. from Nov. 20, has yet to be rescheduled.
Points: Sam Stegelmann 12.0*, Jesse Good 10.9, Austin Henke 9.2.
Rebounds: Stegelmann 4.6*, Good 2.2.
Assists: Good 1.9*, Henke 1.5.
Steals: Henke 1.1*, Good 0.6.
* — Denotes also led last season’s team overall.