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(PANA) — The Pana High School boys basketball team is looking to make some noise in the 2021-22 according to Head Coach Adam Metzger, now in his fifth season at the helm (83-59). Defense will be a strong suit for the team which is looking to hold opposing teams to around 40 points or less this season.
“Our team gave up 43.1 points per game last season and we are looking to improve on that number this season,” Metzler says. With continued improvement, this team could make some noise as the season progresses.”
Himself a former player on the Panthers basketball team and who served as assistant coach under Gary Bowker for two seasons, Metzger has confidence in this team.
“These kids are winners,” the coach declared. “They absolutely love playing together and working toward a common goal.”
One of those goals is to improve upon their second place finish in the South Central Conference from last season when they were 8-1 in the league and 14-3 overall. Pana lost to graduation seniors Lane Funneman, Kadin Angel and Andrew Ambrose from last year’s squad, but the coach says he is expecting to reload rather than rebuild.
One of those players will be senior 6-foot senior Colin Schmitz. Last season, he average 12.8 points per game.
“Colin is an elite shooter (three-point state qualifier as a sophomore),” Metzger said. “He is a good ball handler and plays hard on defense.”
Another spark plug is senior Brenden Schoonover (5-10) who averaged nearly 11 points pre game a season ago.
“Brenden is the player who makes our team go,” the coach said. “He is a point guard and a tenacious on-ball defender. He set the school record for field goal percentage in a season last year, shooting 64 percent from the floor.”
Returning senior Kyle Kuhn (6-4 center) is a bulldog on defense, according to the coach.
“He is willing to do whatever is needed for the team,” Metzger commented. “He crashed the boards, defends, rebounds and runs the floor,” he said. “He will be a key piece to our success this season. The ultimate glue guy.”
Metzger calls 6-4 center Drew Hackler, “Someone who will be a surprise player int he area this year.”
“He was our sixth man last season and he brings his football defensive end mentality to the court,” said Metzger. “He will take a massive step forward this season for us. He is a strong kid with very good basketball IQ and skills.”
Juniors Devon Peebles (6-2) and Max Lynch (6-0) are newcomers to the varsity Metzger feels will have an impact.
“Devon is a very talented and athletic player who can influence a game on both ends of the floor,” said Metzger. “Max is an athletic threat who can score in bunches. They are ultra athletic and will allow us to do a variety of things on both ends of the floor.”
Senior Evan Hudlin (6-2) will be the sixth man coming in and Metzger says, “He’ll be relied on for rebounding and offense off the bench.”
Goals set by the team are something Metzger feels can be achieved.
“The goal for every Pana teams to be on top of the conference and to bring home hardware at the Vandalia Tournament, the Litchfield Tournament and the post season,” the coach said. “This group is very focused on making sure those goals become a reality.”
He thinks several teams, including the Panthers, have a chance to vie for the conference crown.
“Hillsboro returns a lot and gets transfers into an already very good team,” the coach said. “Vandalia has a good junior class paired with an athletic senior class. Greenville is always very good and this year will be no different.”
Pana has won 80 percent of it last 57 games at home, going 45-12. The team is 25 wins away from reaching the 1,500 win plateau.