2016-17 basketball preview: Seneca Boys

By Derek Shore

Seneca Indians head coach Will King enters his 13th season at the helm as head coach following a 7-18 overall record in 2015-16 (0-8 in Big 8 Conference play), but things do like bright for a program that returns their entire roster and then some.

King, whose team was eliminated in the first round of districts by Butler in the Class 3 District 12 tournament, returns all five starters along with nine lettermen to a squad that hasn’t produced a winning season since the Indians claimed shares of back-to-back conference titles in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

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Senior point guard Zack Dunnam spearheads the group of returnees. Dunnam, standing at 6-foot-0, is the leading returning scorer after averaging 10.2 points per game last year. He posted 2.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and one steal over 26 games.

“He adds quickness and can both shoot it and get to the rim,” King said.

Seneca will regain two starting guards in the form of Spencer Brattin and Nate Williams. Brattin, a 6-foot-0, senior, contributed 8.2 points per game as a junior, three rebounds and 2.7 assists. Williams, a 6-foot-1, senior had 4.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in his junior campaign as well.

“Spencer is a scorer and also a shutdown defender,” King added. “Nate can shoot it and is also a hard-nosed, physical player.”

The Indians also welcome back two important post players in Gavin Dunnam and Cameron Brattin on the block. Dunnam, 6-foot-4, junior, averaged 6.5 points a game along with 6.3 rebounds as an underclassman last season. Brattin, a 6-foot-5, junior, scored nine points while grabbing five boards.

“Gavin is a returning starter and an aggressive post player that can also shoot it,” King said. “He plays with a lot of energy. Cameron is another returning starter and a strong post player. He gives us a great post presence.”

In addition, Seneca will return a quartet of options to their bench – seniors Cameron Nesvold (6-foot-3) and Skylar Dodson (6-foot-2), junior Brett Reeves (6-foot-0), and sophomore Gavin Clouse, who each contributed at the varsity level last season.

King described Nesvold as a scoring post that always brings great. Dodson is said to be a skilled post player that can score and pass well. Reeves brings solid guard play, who brings energy to the backcourt.

The Indians will also add two newcomers to the varsity squad – junior Brandon Burdge (6-foot-2) and sophomore Payden Armstrong (5-foot-10). King expects Burdge to be a high-energy, athletic post player and Armstrong, a shooting guard option.

“We’ve been in the process the last few years,” Zack Dunnam said. “Now it is time for the process to produce.”

King relishes the challenge for his kids to play against bigger schools in tournaments to prepare them for conference and district play. He’s ready to get the season underway.

“I am excited about the upcoming season,” King said, who has compiled a cumulative record of 174-152 as Seneca’s head coach. “Hopefully with all that experience and hard work, we can compete in the always tough conference and district. We expect great work ethic and attitudes.

“If we have these two things, I believe we can be successful.”

Seneca opens the season at Carthage’s Tournament on Nov. 28 to Dec 3. They open up at home with a tournament of their own on Dec. 8 to Dec 10.