Basketball Preview: Lindbergh boys rely on experience

For many programs, high school basketball has become a land of turnover. Who transfered where? Who graduated? Who’s new? Who left? These are questions that now must be asked of teams each season.

In this era of change, the Lindbergh boys basketball team stands out like a sore thumb for its stability.

The Eagles will rely on four senior leaders this season. Players who have been with Lindbergh through the C team, the junior varsity team and now the varsity squad. Players who Lindbergh coach Barry Johnson has seen develop for four years now.

“It’s an honor to coach these guys,” Johnson said. “It’s really special. … They have some ownership of this team, so you never know what will happen. I want to win for these guys.”

Willie Creear, Demarr Feruson, Kyle Swannack and Jacob Allie will be the heart and soul of this squad.

Balanced defined and possibly restrained the Eagles last season. Six players averaged 4.9 points per game or better but just one averaged in double digits.

“We try to preach to share the sugar,” Johnson said. “These kids like each other, so they’re not afraid to give up a shot if another kid has a better shot.”

Creear led the team in scoring last season, at 11.1 points per game. The 5-foot-10 point guard led the team in assists (3.8 per game) and was second on the team in steals with 2.1 per game. He added 3.4 rebounds per game and led in free-throw percentage (of players with more than 10 attempts).

Johnson also said that while balanced scoring has benefits, he does want to have a player step up and become a consistent scoring leader for the team.

“We need somebody we can turn to when we need a bucket or when things aren’t going right,” he said.

Ferguson, a 6-foot-1 guard, averaged 5.6 points per game to go along with 3.6 rebounds per game last season. Allie, a 6-foot forward, averaged 4.9 points per game and 4.0 rebounds per game. Swannack, a 6-foot-4 forward, 4.0 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Dallas Searles, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, averaged 7.6 points per game last season. Searles started to step up his production near the end of the season. He averaged 12 points per game in a four-game stretch near the end of Lindbergh’s league schedule.

Derrick Roseboro will help Swannack inside. The 6-foot-4 junior led the team in rebounding last season, at 5.9 per game. He also chipped in 5.7 points per game.

Offensively, the Eagles would like to be a fast-paced team. Johnson wants his team to get up and down the court, running more.

Last season ended with Lindbergh showing a ton of grit in beating Highline 71-68 in overtime to earn the fourth seed heading into sub-districts. The Pirates beat the Eagles by 17 points just four days earlier to force a tie-breaker.

In sub-districts the Eagles lost 56-48 to Auburn Mountainview. This year, Johnson wants to take his experienced group further.

“Usually, we’ve ended up going to sub-districts and losing,” he said. “Our goal this year is definitely to get into districts and once we do, you never know what will happen.”