The Little Lions return five players with starting experience.
Drew Friberg and Tommy Sekunda, the team’s top two scorers, are back along with Keaton Ellis, Brandon Clark and Tommy Friberg. Clark started toward the end of last season, and Tommy Friberg earned a few starts for the Little Lions, who won the District 6 championship before falling to Carlisle in their PIAA tournament opener.
“I think they’re more confident in just the way that they can make decisions themselves without being coached as much,” State College coach Joe Walker said.
Drew Friberg, a first-team Mid-Penn All-Star selection last year, can play any position on the floor, hurting teams inside and outside.
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Sekunda, one of the team’s best shooters, has improved his ability to get to the rim “drastically.” The duo leads an athletic starting group filled with length — Drew Friberg stands 6-foot-6, followed by Sekunda (6-foot-5), Clark (6-foot-4), Tommy Friberg (6-foot-4) and Ellis (6-foot-1).
Ryan McNulty, the projected sixth man, fits the same mold at 6-foot-4.
With the talent back and a focus on playing as a team, the Little Lions have set their sights on competing for a Mid Penn title and advancing past the first round of the state tournament.
“Most of the guys last year when we did exit interviews, they want to win at least one state game so I think everyone in the back of their head would love to go as far as they possibly could,” Walker said. “But we really want to compete for a Mid Penn crown. We haven’t done that.”
Coach: Joe Walker
Assistants: Sean Hanna, Rudy Burruss
Last year: 13-11
Key losses: Adam Oliphant, Cooper Gulley
Returning letterwinners: Drew Friberg, Tommy Sekunda, Keaton Ellis, Tommy Friberg, Eli Bokunewicz, Rian Scanlon, Lee Koudela, Brandon Clark
Key newcomers: Ryan McNulty