ALTAMONT INDIANS
BY JACK BULLOCK
After a seven season drought, the Altamont Indians won a regional title last February, topping Nokomis to win their own 1A regional, 62-54.The Indians played well but lost to fellow NTC team Effingham St. Anthony at the Nokomis Sectional in the semifinals.

The Bulldogs went on to capture the 1A state title.

However Altamont had a great season in 2016-17, by strengthening their schedule to play tougher teams and it paid off with a good regional championship and something good to feel about heading forward.

Head coach John Niebrugge knew that they would take a few on the chin at the Effingham/Teutopolis Holiday Tournament back in December as they went 0-5 in the event.
But this Tribe went 20-6 in the other games and improved by the end of the campaign.

As with most small schools, players will have to replaced upon graduation and Coach Niebrugge said goodbye to some good ones.

Three starters and a boat load of points sailed away from the club that was second in the NTC in both the tournament and the regular season.

Ryan Armstrong, a guard who posted 15.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.5 steals a game for Altamont as a senior.

Sam Childerson (11.2 p.p.g., 7.5 r.p.g.) and Evan Cornett (8.6 p.p.g., 3.4 r.p.g.) are also gone.

But Coach Niebrugge has some good ones returning.

Five-foot-ten senior guard Mitchell Stevenson returns after posting some impressive figures last season (14.1 p.p.g., 4.2 r.pg., 2.3 a.p.g, and 1.5 s.p.g) as a junior.

One of the other returning players is Alek Biggs, a 5-foot-9 junior guard who threw in 2.4 points a night.

This head coach mentioned a two other returning players; Kaleb Whitt and Kolby Pemberton, both are 6-foot-1 senior forwards.

The rest of the lineup will come from last year's junior varsity with two in particular; sophomores Denver Duckwitz and Aiden Jahraus.

“This could be my best shooting team I've had in 5 years. We will also be the shortest team I've had with no one over 6-3,” said Coach Niebrugge. “There will be lots of learning this year, but we will also try to win every game. We will compete with most 1A teams talent-wise, but will have to make up for our height shortcomings with conditioning and effort.”

OUTLOOK – The Indians lost a lot but they have some kids returning that have played important minutes. These kids should take on more responsibility and handle the transition of more minutes played. Although this isn't a very tall team like this coach is used to, the defense and rebounding first mentality will make up for a lot of the height difference against a lot of the teams that they face. They will be in the mix for the NTC championship, regular season and tournament.

2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE

N20-25

Toledo Cumberland Turkey Tourney J16 @ Cowden-Herrick-Beecher City
D1 Vandalia J19 Patoka
D5 Newton J22-27 NTC Tournament @ Altamont
D8 Farina South Central J30 Flora
D19 @ Toledo Cumberland F6 Neoga
D22 @ Shelbyville F9 St. Elmo-Brownstown
D27-29 Effingham/T-Town Holiday Tournament F10 NTC/LOVE Shootout @ Cumberland
J5 @ Dieterich F13 @ Effingham St. Anthony
J6 @ Woodlawn F16 Windsor-Stewardson-Strasburg
J12 @ Louisville North Clay F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD