By KEVIN HARRIS
It has been a little more than three months since the Borden High School boys’ basketball team won its first-ever Class A state championship, and Braves’ fans are still on Cloud 9 about the historic accomplishment.
But for Borden coach Doc Nash, his coaching staff and his returning players, they have traveled back down to earth.
The Braves are preparing themselves for the 2013-14 season this summer. But they will face a stiff challenge as they must replace four seniors who all started in the 55-50 victory over Triton in the 2013 Class A state championship game on March 23 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
The four recent BHS graduates — Billy Kirchgessner, Jalen McCoy, Michael Lynch and Cody Bachman — combined to average about 38 points per game last season.
Nash said in a phone interview on Monday that he is looking for his five incoming seniors, particularly Garrett Vick, Josh Vollstedt and Josh Ruedinger, to step up their leadership roles next year. Vick is the only returning starter coming back next season.
“I expect them to do a lot of the work,” Nash said. “We’ve got to prove to ourselves first that we can be a competitive team. We just want [the Braves] to play Borden basketball.”
The Braves’ varsity and junior varsity teams recently played in a league at Salem on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Nash focused on improving his players’ skill level and fundamentals at Salem, while he did not worry about the varsity and JV records in league play.
“We don’t put a lot of emphasis on winning and losing in these leagues,” Nash said. “It allowed us to find out what the kids can do and can’t do. We got better.”
This weekend, Borden will participate in a team camp at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion.
Nash says he will give his players the entire month of July off. Then in August, the Braves will get back to work with weightlifting sessions.
BORDEN’S 2013-14 OUTLOOK
• COACH: Doc Nash
• 2012-13 RECORD: 24-3.
• KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: Garrett Vick (6-1, Sr., F); Josh Vollstedt (5-10, Sr., G); Josh Ruedinger (6-2, Sr., F); Brian McGee (6-0, Sr., G); Zack Gillam (6-4, Sr., F).
• DEPARTURES: Billy Kirchgessner (6-0, G); Jalen McCoy (6-1, G); Michael Lynch (6-2, F); Cody Bachman (6-2, F).
• 2012-13 SEASON RECAP: The Braves won their first state championship by defeating Triton in the Class A state final at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, 55-50. En route to the state title, Borden won its second consecutive sectional championship, its second regional title in program history and its first-ever semistate. The Braves also won the Southern Athletic Conference outright title. It was the third consecutive season Borden had claimed at least a share of the conference crown. Lynch earned the illustrious Class A Trester Award for mental attitude at the IHSAA State Finals.
• 2013-14 PRESEASON EXPECTATIONS: Borden faces the challenge of replacing its four senior starters. Vick will be looked upon to provide a lot of leadership since he is the Braves’ only returning starter. Despite losing four key seniors, Nash has proven in the past that he gets the most out of his players, no matter how many voids he has to fill. In his seven seasons at Borden, Nash has led the Braves to six winning campaigns. Three of those six campaigns were 20-win seasons.