Woodward-Granger boys basketball starts season under new leadership

Sean Cordy, Correspondent
Special to the Chief
Brody Nardini surveys the floor during a home match-up against Panorama on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

The Hawks usher in a new era as Woodward-Granger hands the clipboard to Aaron Lyons following the departure of longtime head coach Brent Achenbach. Now Lyons steps into the role hoping to get the Hawks back on track just two years removed from the team's state tournament appearance. 

Returning

After losing 99 percent of the team's production from the 2019-20 season, the Hawks find themselves with another roster gap. Of the six players that started 10 games or more, five are gone. That includes the scoring, rebounds, blocks, shooting efficiency and steals leader. 

Brody Nardini is the lone returning starter. As a sophomore, he ranked third on the team with eight points per game to go with three steals. While that ranked third on the team, he was eighth overall in the WCAC in forced turnovers. As a potential focal point of the roster, those opportunities should rise even more this year.

After a stellar campaign under center, Carter Moran joins Nardini as the only other player to appear in at least 15 games. Coming off the bench — starting six games — Moran averaged nearly seven points per game and will surely see more opportunities this season along with fellow juniors Collin Nardini, Ethan Moats and Josh Hultman. 

Carter Moran passes the ball to a teammate on Thursday, Dec. 3 on the road against Martensdale-St Marys.

Conference

With Woodward falling behind the pack last year, there was a bit of a shakeup in the overall standings but it was largely another year dominated by league champ Des Moines Christian, Van Meter and Panorama. 

Based on returning talent, DMC and Panorama look to be an awfully similar spot that the Hawks experienced last season after losing a bulk of the roster to graduation. The Panthers lose their top five scorers while DMC loses three key players. Van Meter, on the other hand, brings back a trio of battle-tested seniors and is eying a potential undefeated conference record after losing just twice last year.

Elsewhere, Pleasantville and Interstate 35 look to lean on the conference's top two scorers, hoping to add some more help around their stars and move up the ladder this season with more balance.