TH SOUTH PREVIEW: Young Braves looking to bounce back

Tribune-Star file/Austen Leake

No look: Terre Haute South’s Amariyae Wilson (1) passes to an open teammate during last season’s game against West Vigo inside the Jim Mann Green Dome. Wilson is back for his senior season with the Braves in 2021-22.

Coming off a campaign that included records of 5-19 overall and 0-5 in Conference Indiana — in other words, not one of the best in Terre Haute South's eventful boys basketball history — coach Maynard Lewis' Braves are banking on youthful enthusiasm and a few new names to return them to the promised land in 2021-22.

"We are young with very little experience returning," the sixth-year head coach told the Tribune-Star over the weekend, before Tuesday's season-opening home matchup against Cloverdale. "It’s going to be fun watching these guys develop."

Amariyae Wilson, a 5-foot-10 senior guard, is one of the leading returnees after being named to the All-CI first team last season. Lewis mentioned Parker Mahurin (5-10) and Dontarious Alverez (6-4) as other seniors expected to contribute immediately, while sophomores Kyle Cottee and Zayvion Baker also should see plenty of action right off the bat.

"Our weakness is experience," Lewis admitted.

"Our strengths are athleticism and versatility."

For the 2020-21 Conference Indiana season, during which COVID-19 dilemmas forced a few cancelations, Columbus North and Bloomington North shared first place with 3-0 records. But Bloomington South, although it lost an early-season contest to Terre Haute North, finished with the best overall mark at 25-5 after losing to Lawrence North 54-52 in the Class 4A semistate.

"I think the conference is wide open," Lewis assessed, "but everyone will be shooting for Bloomington South."

As most fans know, the Panthers are guided by Indiana's all-time winningest boys basketball coach, J.R. Holmes, who has 861 victories going into his 52nd season on the bench.

Meanwhile, Lewis hopes fewer games will be affected by the coronavirus, but he plans to be ready for anything in the coming months.

"COVID is still out there and very real, but it’s good to get back to somewhat of normalcy," he said. "It’s great to have fans in the gym."

One name that fans might be wondering about is Brylan Apholone. The former Brave is attending Danville (Ill.) MacArthur High School for his senior year.

South's next game after Cloverdale will tip off at approximately 6:30 p.m. Saturday against Barr-Reeve in the Hulman Center Thanksgiving Shootout.

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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.