WHITE HALL - It’s hard not to find Brett Berry full of energy in practice and on the sidelines during a game. This season the North Greene head coach has every reason to be feeling giddy with what’s in store for the Spartans in the 2017-18 season.

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Expectations are high in White Hall and Roodhouse that mainly make up North Greene High School. The Spartans are fresh off a 19-9 season, which was their best campaign since the 2012-13 season.

“The kids are excited; they’re working hard and playing tough. We brought back a big core from last year, but still, have some big roles and situations to fill.” Berry said. “We have talent and ability; it’s just about putting them in the right places. It’s about showing effort and not taking anything for granted.”

Basketball is a team sport that relies on five players on the court to do their jobs, but it’s undeniable that North Greene is feasting on a long, successful season because the dynamic duo is back: the twins, Jonah and Josh Hopper.

Both were named first team all-conference this past season and Jonah was also named to the IBCA Class 1A/2A fourth team all-state. Jonah (6-4), a small forward and shooting guard averaged 17.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, while Josh (6-5), a center, averaged 12.6 and 7.4 per contest. Overall, the two players averaged 30 points and 15.5 boards a game, and both are on pace to achieve the 1,000-point milestone for their careers this season.

“There’s no question they’re talented kids. We knew Josh and Jonah we’re going to be threats for us. I’ve been really impressed with those two as they evolve their game,” Berry said. “We have seven seniors that have played together for a long time, and they’re a good core to build around.”

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Besides the Hopper twins, the Spartans have five other seniors to make the team senior-laden, which could be the key that drives North Greene further than last year.

Graduation did hit the Spartans hard in key role-player positions with Hunter Clanton, Dominic Booth, and Layne Newingham all departing. Berry says the likes of seniors Blake Dean (5-9), Zion Thomas (6-3), and Brett Whicker (6-0) will step up and fight for those roles.

North Greene may be preseason favorites, but the talent the WIVC possess doesn’t guarantee anything, particularly this year with the conference being as talented as it has been in quite some time.

North Greene head coach Brett Berry.

“The conference is always a fickle beast. You got Brown County who won it last year and brought everybody back, but one kid. West Central will push up well. Routt and Triopia will be solid," Berry said. "It’s always fun with conference because I always associate the WIVC with the Big Ten. Anybody can snipe up and catch you if you’re falling asleep. It’s a fun, bang you up conference where you have to come to play every night.”

For all the experience, talent, and height North Greene has if anything they will need to take nothing for granted to have a similar regular season record like last year but will need to take that next step to prolong it, which is what Berry has been preaching.

“I think that’s where our kids have evolved and are learning a little bit. They’re not just going “hey I can just show up and win.” They know they gotta work and scrap for every little piece they can get,” Berry said. “That motivation and preparation came in the spring and that was the first thing in their heads was that loss. We’re going to go out and keep our heads up and be motivated.”

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