ANDERSON — When asked what fans can expect from the 2021-22 Liberty Christian boys basketball team, head coach Jason Chappell thought long and hard.
“I just think a great culture, a great environment,” he said. “Something for the young kids to look up to and the adults to get excited about, something our school to get excited about. I think we’re going to bring a lot of energy and excitement.”
There is also the feeling of a need to finish what last year’s 17-9 team was unable to accomplish after falling in the sectional championship to Wes-Del by two points. Chappell said that feeling does not involve simply winning a sectional.
“It’s definitely unfinished business,” he said. “They fell short — way short — of their goals. Their goal was not to win sectional. It was to go as far as they could.”
This season, Chappell will guide a team that has lost some key pieces from that squad — including leading scorer Christian Nunn — but returns plenty of experience to get the job done.
The Lions attack starts with a trio of returning starters, including 6-foot-7 senior Adonis House (10 points, 6.8 rebounds) and a backcourt of senior Zack Jeffers (7.6 points) and junior Eric Troutman (8.6 points, 3.1 assists). Chappell said House and Jeffers in particular have worked tirelessly in the offseason and having a multi-faceted point guard like Troutman is a big advantage for the Lions.
“Adonis and Zack have taken their game up two notches and worked really, really hard,” Chappell said. “(Troutman) is definitely a really good point guard. He had one game at Frankfort last year where he scored 29 points. He’s got a quick first step.”
Despite Nunn having transferred to Crispus Attucks for his senior year, Chappell likes the depth of this roster, which he feels features a solid nine-man rotation. Seniors Xavier White (1.9 points), Beckham Chappell (2.5 points) and Tyler Houk (1.6 points) are smart multi-sport athletes who can play valuable minutes off the LC bench and 6-7 junior Kobe Watson — who played just four varsity games last year — figures prominently in the team’s plans.
“Last year, I probably should have played him a whole lot more,” Coach Chappell said. “What got us with him is that he can really run the floor. With his long legs, he can run like a gazelle. We’ve just got to get his strength up.”
Chappell said several younger players like juniors Cedric Anderson (5.6 points) Tayshaun Menifield and Aaron Woodyard, sophomore Devin Kelly and freshman Jude Rigney are likely to factor in this season as well.
“I definitely think we’ve got some depth,” he said. “We’ve got some high basketball IQ on this team as well, and I think we’ll be a better rebounding team than we’ve been in the past.”
The Lions open their season at Indiana Math & Science on Nov. 23 before Alexandria visits The Den for Liberty’s home opener Nov. 27.