Braves seek to lean on defense after early injuries

By Brad Morris

With three of his projected top seven players likely out for at least the start of the season, Logan Elm coach Doug Stiverson probably feels like he has had to do a little bit of scrambling during the preseason.

Returning first-team all-district senior guard Tanner Holbert, who was one of the top scorers in the Southeast District averaging 20.3 points last season, is out until mid-January with a foot injury from football season. Junior forward Brody Sabine and sophomore guard Gage Arnett will also likely miss the season-opener on Nov. 26 against visiting Westfall with injuries.

“We’ve definitely had to adjust what we were planning on and move people around to different spots or roles,” Stiverson said. “Obviously, you can’t replace someone like Tanner, but we’ll have to try and recoup some of that production overall as a team.

“I still believe we’ll be a strong team defensively, and that’s something we’re going to have to hang our hat on, especially early in the season, until we get things figured out more on the offensive end.”

Senior wing Braylen Baker will have an expanded role, especially early on this season for the Braves. Photos by John Howley/

Senior 6-1 wing Braylen Baker will take on a heightened role after earning second-team all-district honors last season by averaging 11.6 points and five rebounds.

“Braylen is one of our leaders and is entering his third season as a varsity player. He’s coming off a great football season and is playing with a lot of confidence,” Stiverson said. “We’re definitely going to take advantage of his athleticism and versatility with getting to the basket, knocking down shots, rebounding and being a presence defensively with his length.”

Senior 5-10 guard Drew Tomlinson was a defensive stopper a season ago and will likely have an expanded role, along with six-foot senior forward Gavin Griffey.

“Drew had never played football before this season and had a nice year, so he is also coming in with a lot of confidence,” Stiverson said. “Drew does a great job on defense and has a motor that doesn’t stop. He’s one of those players who make winning plays that don’t always show up in the newspaper. Drew is also taking on a little more of an offensive role for us, because we need that. He’s getting to the basket some and hitting some jumpers.

“Gavin is also coming off a good football season and is playing with a lot of confidence. He does a good job on both ends of the floor of playing against bigs, guarding them, rebounding and getting a few stick back baskets.”

Logan Elm senior Drew Tomlinson is a defensive stopper who will look to add a little more offense to his game this season.

Six-foot sophomore guard Ne’miah Waugh is expected to be a starter this season for the Braves and help handle the basketball.

“Ne’miah sees the floor well, he is a good passer and he can get to the basket,” Stiverson said. “He’s a really patient player with getting into the paint and scoring inside, and he can also knock down the three.

“We’re going to defend on Ne’miah for some scoring and he can also be a physical presence on defense with how hard he competes and doesn’t like to lose.”

The Braves (15-7, 9-5 in 2021-22) will also look to utilize 5-11 junior guards Carson Summers and Alden Williams, and 6-2 sophomore forward Keegan Diehl.

“Alden can knock down the three and is also a strong, athletic player who can go get some rebounds,” Stiverson said. “Carson is a really good defensive player, and he can also get out in transition and get some points and rebounds.

“Keegan has a motor that doesn’t stop. He’s going to get rebounds, help out inside defensively and can also score some. He’s an unselfish kid who will do whatever is necessary for the team to have success.”

Stiverson is looking forward to working in Sabine and Arnett sometime in December.

“Brody had a good summer, he can knock down the three, runs the floor pretty well and we are looking forward to using his length and athleticism,” he said. “He can also change some shots defensively with his length.

“Gage also helped us during the summer and plays extremely hard. He causes problems for the opponent’s point guard and is another ball-handler who can get to the basket and finish.”

The Braves hope senior Tanner Holbert provides a big lift for the team when he is slated to return in mid-January.

Stiverson hopes Holbert can have a strong finish to his senior year that will hopefully help lead to a tournament run for the Braves.

“I know Tanner is disappointed he is going to miss a good chunk of the season, but he’s still at practice and is being a leader,” he said. “Tanner worked incredibly hard in the offseason, getting stronger and expanding his game by taking the ball to the basket more. He also put in a lot of work on the defensive end of the court.

“Hopefully when we get Tanner back, that will give us a big lift as a team and hopefully propel us into a strong finish to the regular-season and a tournament run.”

2022-23 Roster
No. Player Gr. Ht. Pos.

0 Gavin Griffey 12 6-0 F
1 Blake Kanniard 11 5-10 G
2 Drew Tomlinson 12 5-10 G
3 Gage Arnett 10 5-10 G/F
4 Kyle Rine 11 5-10 G
5 Braylen Baker 12 6-1 G/F
10 Ne’miah Waugh 10 6-0 G
12 Carson Summers 11 5-11 G/F
13 Tanner Holbert 12 6-0 G
14 Alden Williams 11 5-11 G/F
23 Brody Sabine 11 6-1 F
32 Keegan Diehl 10 6-0 F
Coach: Doug Stiverson
Assistant coaches: Jeff Holbert, Nate Dropsey, Seth Baldwin

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