Under first-year coach Dean Washington, the Whetstone boys basketball team posted its highest win total since the 2015-16 season, but there is still work to do.
The 48th-seeded Braves saw their season end with a 91-42 loss at third-seeded South in the second round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 28. Whetstone, which had a first-round bye, finished 6-17 overall.
The Braves also finished 6-17 in 2015-16.
"We have to get better at ball-handling and shooting," said Washington, who also had stressed throughout the season that the Braves need to improve on defense.
Whetstone went 5-9 in the City League-North Division to place sixth behind champion Linden-McKinley (12-2).
Senior guard Louis Schirmer said Washington, who has coached high school athletics for more than 30 years, played a major role in the Braves' improvement this season. Whetstone had finished 4-19 last season.
"I was really impressed with coach Washington, the way he handled the team," Schirmer said. "You definitely can tell how much experience he has, and that's definitely a great influence for the team.
"I would say coach Washington, he coached to our strengths and really emphasized working on what you do best and really not trying to play out of that. Stick to what you do well, and I think that's part of the reason why we won six games this year."
The Braves are losing four seniors in Schirmer, forward/center Jaden Arledge, guard C.J. Brown and guard Alex Timmons.
Expected returnees include juniors Caleb Brigle (guard), Zach Casto (forward) and Alex Hurd (guard) and sophomore Damarius Warfield (forward/center).
Brigle, the team's leading scorer, was named second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district and Arledge was honorable mention all-league.
Washington said the team plans to bolster its experience with offseason activities this summer.
"We need to be in more basketball situations to become more confident with our decision-making," he said.