History made in district tournament

Indians boys want to go further into regional this season

The Newberry High School boys varsity basketball team looks to go even further than its appearance in the postseason tournament regional semifinals last season. In the front row from left are Andre James, Casey Wendt, head coach Jim Depew, Blake Jordan and George Sevarns. Top row from left, Logan McCormick, Jackson McCudden, Matt Berry, Josh Slaght, Ethan Edwards, James Abram and Jaylen James. (Photo courtesy Josh Martindale)

By RYAN SPITZA

Journal Sports Writer

NEWBERRY — Last season, the Newberry High School boys basketball team won a district title for the first time in 19 years.

Now the Indians are now looking to take another leap this season.

Newberry went 14-9 last season, defeating St. Ignace 67-55 to win the Class C district tournament, the school’s first district title since 1998. The Indians’ season came to an end at the hands of Iron Mountain in the regional semifinals.

Newberry head coach Jim Depew said the first few weeks have gone well so far as he prepares his team for the upcoming year.

“It’s right where we want to be,” he said. “We have good hustle, good participation, we put some wins together last year and had a good turnout this year. Seventeen kids tried out for 12 spots and we had to make cuts, which was tough.”

While narrowing down the roster is always a challenge, Depew is confident his dozen players can take the team far.

Top returners for the Indians include senior point guard Casey Wendt, senior forward George Sevarns, senior guards Andre James and Blake Jordan, and junior Jaylen James.

Even with the Indians returning a lot of key veterans, there are some newcomers as well. Those include senior Mathew Berry and junior Logan McCormick. Berry makes his return to basketball after not playing his junior year.

“Matt (Berry) has played in the program before, just not at the varsity level,” Depew said. “He played as a sophomore but not a freshman. He’s been back and forth but he’ll be able to jump back into it.

“Logan (McCormick) will be a work in progress to get him going throughout the year but he’ll get it down.”

Asked about the toughest challenges in the Eastern Upper Peninsula and Straits Area conferences that Newberry plays in, Depew listed several teams.

“Cedarville and Pickford will be good,” he said about the EUP. “Sault Ste. Marie out of the Straits Area Conference will be a challenge as well.”

For the Indians to compete within the conference and out of conference, defense will be key for the upcoming season.

“We’re kind of throwing a new offense into the mix here,” Depew said. “We’re fluent and strong defensively. We’re not a tall team, so we’re going to have to play good defense and do a good job of moving up and down the floor.”

Asked what will be the ultimate goal for thai season, Depew said a district title is a reasonable mark but wants to take it a step further.

“Further is the plan,” he said. “We put some small team goals together, but our big goals are to win districts and be a regional finalist at the least.”

Newberry opens the season on the road with a game at Engadine on Tuesday, Dec. 5.

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.