At a glanceCOACH Rick Runaas2011-12 RECORD 25-3 (12-1 in South Suburban Blue)FIRST GAME 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 27, at Lemont vs. Lincoln-Way NorthTOP PLAYERS Juozas Balciunas sr. G Joey Hehir sr. G Mike Wisz jr. G
15.9 Average points per game scored a year ago by Juozas Balciunas, who was Lemont’s leader in that category as well as in assists.
WHAT TO WATCH With three starters returning from a 25-win team, expectations are high this winter for Lemont.
One reason for that optimism is senior point guard Juozas Balciunas, an all-conference performer in 2011-12 who averaged nearly 16 points per game. Fellow guard Joey Hehir, who was also all-conference after totaling 10 points per contest a year ago, is also back along with junior guard Mike Wisz.
“We are very excited,” said coach Rick Runaas. “This group is confident that they can compete at the highest level. It will be interesting to see how we can put it all together. Every team is different and every year is a new year. Hopefully things work out and part of that is my job.”
Depth should also be a strength with a group of new faces champing at the bit to get on the court. “We’ve got kids pushing (for playing time) that I wasn’t expecting to be pushing already,” the coach said. “I’m excited about that. Hopefully those guys are ready to be patient but also keep pushing during practice.”
One of the team goals is to repeat as South Suburban Blue conference champions; the Indians tied for the title last winter with Hillcrest. Lemont will also be challenged at the LincolnWay Central and Romeoville tournaments, events that the squad finished first and third at respectively a year ago.
“We want to challenge at the conference level,” Runaas added. “With the tournaments, we want to do as well as we can. And we are looking to make a run this year playoff-wise. But everyone has that goal, it’s not like anyone is just going to let us do that.”