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By Cliff Gibson, Sports Information Director

If you're a fan of run-and-gun basketball, this year's edition of the Bishop Lynch Friars could be right up your alley.

With an almost entirely new lineup, the Friars will be young, but that's not convincing head coach Kyle May that this fresh-faced lineup can't compete.

"We're focusing on defense, we want to be able to defend well, force missed shots and get up the floor. That's what this group is good at, getting up the floor and scoring in transition," May said. "But in order to do that, you have to force missed shots. We want to defend first, rebound to run and share the ball. It'll be fun to watch."

It will also be a different brand of basketball than what fans saw a year ago, when the Friars relied heavily on the duo of Drew Bodensteiner and Luke Canaan, a tandem May says accounted for 75 percent of the teams' offensive production.

"Last season was a good year for us, we had a really good nucleus of seniors. We had eight seniors, a big number. They were all great kids who understood the 'defend first' philosophy that we practiced," May said.

That large group of seniors led the team to a 21-15 finish a year ago, good for fourth in the district and a postseason berth. However, despite building a 13-point halftime lead over Central Catholic, the Friars were bounced in the opening round.

"We had hoped with that group of seniors that we could go another round deeper, but it didn't work out," May said. "We were up big and turned the ball over in the second half. The game got away from us."

This year, May will turn to three — possibly four — returning lettermen for leadership. Gage Tipton was a starter for half the season a year ago, Alex Gober has also seen significant floor time and Chris Scaife is a solid returning junior. May is also hoping to have Tristan Smith back once football season has concluded.

After that, the youth movement begins.

"It's very possible we could have some move up from last year's freshman team, which went undefeated," he said. "We'll finish as high or as low as our development takes us."

As for the Friars' extremely tough district, May says there's no telling what might happen.

"It's tough to say where we might fall in district. There's a lot of learning going on right now with so much youth on the roster," he said. "We're relying heavily on development and these kids learning as they go. It's going to be trial by fire." 

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