PREP BOYS BBALL PREVIEW: Swearingen, Cooper back to lead Northview

Tribune-Star file/Joseph C. Garza

Keeping it close: Northview's Caleb Swearingen muscles his way through the Owen Valley defense and scores in the final minutes of regulation during the Knights' overtime win in the Class 3A Edgewood Sectional last season.

Like all Indiana boys high school basketball teams, Northview's preparation for the 2020-21 season has been impacted by COVID-19.

"Clay County is currently labeled a 'red' county by the state health department," Northview coach Michael Byrum told the Tribune-Star. "Our schools are eLearning and our basketball program is currently shut down. Once it is safer for our student-athletes, we will restart our season. We hope to resume our season [with practices] on Nov. 30. Prior to the shutdown, we completed two practices."

The Knights are hoping to improve upon their 15-10 campaign from a year ago.

"We return four of our top seven players from last season," he said. "Two of our returnees were starters last season. I think we have a good mixture of experience, youth and skill level. The 'x' factors for us this season will be defending and rebounding the basketball."

Caleb Swearingen, a 6-foot-4 senior guard, will be a four-year starter and Brevin Cooper, a 6-0 senior guard will be a three-year starter. Last season, Swearingen paced Northview in scoring (averaging 16 points per game) and Cooper averaged 10 ppg while leading the team in rebounds and assists.

"I expect both Caleb and Brevin to have great seasons for us this year," Byrum emphasized.

The Knights also return 6-2 junior guard Ethan DeHart and 6-6 junior forward Jacob Fowler. Both played significant minutes last season.

"I also expect there to be a lot of competition for playing time from several newcomers," Byrum added.

The fourth-year coach of the Knights said their first game will depend on when they'll be able to get their season restarted.

"If we are able to start practice on Nov. 30, then we would most likely open up our season Dec. 11 [at home] against West Vigo," Byrum mentioned. "This date, however, could change depending on the COVID positive rates in the area.

"Keeping our team safe is top priority."

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General reporter/Sports reporter

David is a longtime Tribune-Star sportswriter whose primary duties were switched to the news department in late 2015. A cancer survivor, he enjoys hanging out with his family and staying fit with regular trips to the gym.

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