Coming off a 23-win season and trip to the Class 1A quarterfinals, the Grand Lake Hornets basketball team will be looking to make the final step to the state championship tournament next season.
Leading the way will be a pair of senior guards, Kael Delcambre and Luke McCardle. The tandem earned first teal all district honors last year, when Delcambre averaged 20 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists per game. McCardle added 14 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists.
Delcambre said McCardle is a big part of his success.
"Luke distributes the ball really well, gets the ball to the open man," Delcambre said. "He gets me almost all of my buckets. He plays good defense and pushes the ball."
McCardle said Delcambre makes his life easier.
"Whenever the defense gets on me, he is wide open," McCardle said. "He's a knock-down shooter. Everybody on our team can score. No one has to drop 20 points a night for us to win."
Both players are working hard to make sure their senior season is a special one.
"I have gotten more athletic since I started playing with the varsity in eighth grade," Delcambre said. "I'm still working out and working on adding an off-the-dribble 3-point shot. My strengths are scoring, I can shoot, drive and pass the ball, get rebounds."
"I am working on ball-handling, three-point shooting and finishing at the rim," McCardle said. "My strengths are my jump shoot, being able to get into the lane when I need to. My goal is to get double figures in points and assists in every game. I prefer passing."
Both players point to a win over Hamilton Christian in the 2017-18 season as a career highlight so far.
"We had never beat them and they had always won district," Delcambre said of the win, which earned Grand Lake a share of the district title.
"All the intensity and all the fans made that game fun," McCardle said.
Hamilton has played in Burton Coliseum at the state tournament each of the past three years. The Hornets are hoping to make their first trip this upcoming season.
"We have a lot of shooters, we are disciplined and we work hard," Delcambre said. "We want to win district and get to the Top 28. We have competed with the best teams, we just haven't played our best in the playoff games."
Grand Lake head coach Mark Caldwell said Delcambre and McCardle have the intangibles needed to lead the program to new heights.
"Kael has the work ethic, he has improved every year," Caldwell said. "We can't get him out of the gym. He went from the eighth man to an all state player in two seasons. Luke is extremely unselfish, always willing to make the extra pass. Over the past year he has grown as a player and person, has matured. He is an extremely smart basketball player."