SOUTH WHITLEY – The Whitko boys basketball team is all about balance this season.

The Wildcats have enjoyed having primary scorers for the past five years. First, with Nate Walpole, and then with River West, who averaged 26 points per game last season as a senior.

Whitko doesn’t have go-to scorer this season, but will benefit from offensive depth.

“It’s gonna be more of a team balance this year,” said Whitko coach Eli Henson. “We’re relying on more than just one or two guys.”

Not that Whitko doesn’t have anyone who can take charge. Senior Spencer Sroufe is 6-foot-7, and will be a vacuum for defenders.

Henson, who is 23-25 heading into his third season as head coach, is supremely confident in Sroufe.

“He’s the one that every game, he’s gonna be the best player on the floor,” Henson said. “We’re gonna play through him as much as possible, because it’s gonna open it up for everybody else.”

If Sroufe gets doubled, the Wildcats can kick out to sophomore shooting guard Brent Sickafoose. He started as a freshman, and Henson credited him as Whitko’s best overall player.

“He can provide a lot for this team, and he does a good job of making those around him better,” Henson said.

Senior forward Micah Cokl, sophomore point guard Drake Lewis, and junior guard Clayton Ebbinghouse also will factor into Whitko’s scoring attack.

Henson hopes Ebbinghouse will lighten Sroufe’s rebounding load, and said that grabbing boards will be a struggle for the Wildcats.

“Outside of Spencer, we don’t have any guys that really get in there and want to sell out and buy into rebounding,” Henson said. “(Ebbinghouse) is gonna have to help us.”

However, Whitko does have an element of scrappiness in senior forward Devin Blaine.

“He’ll take charges,” Henson said. “He’ll do the dirty work for you.”

Last season, Whitko went 9-16, which followed up back-to-back winning seasons. The Wildcats haven’t won a sectional game since their 80-69 victory over Bremen in 2016, and haven’t taken home sectional hardware since 2009.

Henson, however, is not concerned as much with trophies as he is with personal improvement.

“Our goal is to keep getting better,” he said. “We want to see progress. After every practice we break off, I want to know we got better.”

He likes what he sees so far. The Wildcats only had a few athletes compete in fall sports, so many of them have been participating in workouts since the summer.

“We’ve got a lot accomplished,” Henson said. “We’ve got a lot tougher, a lot stronger, and these guys are locked and loaded and ready to go.”

Whitko opens its schedule Wednesday at Columbia City.