After losing five of the top six players from the roster to graduation last year, Prince of Peace head coach Gerry Murphy is pretty much starting from scratch.
The lone returner will be Marcus Blount. Blount runs a lot of point for the Irish in the past. He averaged about six points a game and three rebounds, also notching two steals a game and over two assists.
The next returners include Jhikeith McGraw, who averaged over four points a game.
“Marcus is a lead by example kind of player,” Murphy said. “Our team needs to follow his lead. These two players will be important players to build around.”
Other players saw minutes last season include Eric Berry, Brody Dehner, Kyle Kitteringhame and Dominic Niles.
“[Our biggest obstacle is] inexperience at the varsity level,” Murphy said. “How we react to the fast pace and intensity of the varsity game, our mentality when things aren’t going our way.”
The second half of the season in 2020-2021, the Irish went 11-3. Murphy touts the defensive effort in that time and hopes his team will build off of it.
“Our ability to get out and run on the offensive end adn getting back in defensive transitions to get stops,” Murphy said.
It may be a large learning curve for the Irish this year, especially with the number of underclassmen who fill the roster. Murphy is hoping that doesn’t necessarily mean anyone will be watching bad basketball, but instead a team that’s competing and learning how to use their abilities in the best way possible play after play.
“[I look forward to] our team and individual improvement each day,” Murphy said. “How fast our players buy into the process of playing Irish basketball.’
Irish girls with new look
The Prince of Peace girls’ team will look a lot different on the floor this season after a large exodus from the roster after last season’s graduation.
The Irish lost six seniors, including their leading scorer, leaving very little varsity experience coming back to the roster. The Irish were 16-5 last year, making it to the Class 1A semifinal in regional play.
The most crucial of the experience will come in the form of post Lilly Isenhour. Isenhour averaged a double-double for the Irish, averaging 11 points a game and 11 rebounds a game.
Sarah Moeller is also a key returner. Moeller averaged about five points a game and four rebounds.
The main outside guard back this season will be Kaelyn Goodsman. She’s one of the few ballhandlers back for the Irish and put up just over four points a game last season. She also averaged 1.6 steals and 3.6 rebounds.