Get to know the Bulldogs

Pregame warmup: Mahomet-Seymour is hungry for more after winning its first Class 3A regional title since 2018 last season. Several key pieces are back from that team, which finished 17-15, including seniors Dayten Eisenmann and Byron Lynch. Coach Ryan Bosch has reason to believe that his fifth team could be his best one yet.

Three questions with coach Ryan Bosch

What are your expectations for this season?

“We’re still very early in the process. We’re still getting guys back from the end of a very successful football season and nursing a couple bodies back to full health. Each year and each group kind of has to build their own identity and find themselves in terms of who they are as a team, and can’t live off of whatever happened last year. I would say that’s kind of where we’re at right now, is establishing our new identity and what that’s going to look like and set our new standard for ourselves. We know what’s happened before this group’s come through and the expectations of Bulldog basketball. And now, it’s just a challenge of growing every day to kind of forge our own path as a new team.”

What are some strengths of this year’s team?

“I think we’re still trying to figure that out a little bit as a team. I think the playmaking piece has a lot of potential. I think we’ve got a lot of guys who kind of know the system and are aware of the way we like to do things. I would tell you that Bulldog basketball prides itself on the defensive side of the ball as much as anything else. So we may be a little bit ahead on that end of the ball. We’re going to have to replace some size, rebounding. Not having a 6-foot-8 or 6-foot-9 in the middle of the paint this season (like we did with Luke Koller) is going to change the dynamic, and we’re going to have to really gang rebound. That’s one area we’ve stressed continuing to grow in. We’ll have some continuity strengths just in terms of depth where there’s not a big drop off."

How have you seen the program evolve since you became the Bulldogs’ coach?

“The biggest thing right now with where I think we are is their hunger for success. This is a group that really wants to live up to the standards that have been set by the groups before them. They feel like they’ve got the ability, so when they’re hungry and they’ve got some skill, and they’ve got some work ethic to them, the potential is there for a really special season. We play a really tough schedule, and there’s a lot of good teams that we’re going to see this season. So it’s going to be a tall task to go out each night and compete against great competition. I think his group is up for it, and they’ve been super coachable at the start of our season, which has made it such a great vibe at practice every day.”

30-second timeout: Roster and scheduling info

Key players: Eisenmann — fresh off a busy football season — will be a senior leader for the Bulldogs after playing an important role in the program’s regional title last season. Look for seniors Quenton Rogers and Wyatt Bohm, also vital to the success M-S had on the football field, to have significant roles, too.

Lynch will be an important part of the equation as well, with Bosch expecting the senior to take a step forward in an expanded role.

Trey Peters has had a good summer, according to Bosch, and the 6-foot-5 sophomore should continue to improve in his second season. Junior Finn Randolph is new to the varsity level, but will bring a high motor and good defense.

Key games: The Apollo Conference is routinely a challenge, as the Bulldogs will remember during games against Lincoln — at home on Jan. 6 and on the road on Feb. 16.

The Bulldogs’ nonconference slate is difficult too, with tough matchups against Belleville West on Nov. 22, at Washington on Jan. 17 and at the State Farm Holiday Classic from Dec. 27-30.

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