PAYSON, Ill. (WGEM) -- No matter the sport the mark of a good program is consistency.
When a senior class moves on, the next group steps up and success continues.
That's exactly what's happening with the Payson basketball team. From year to year there doesn't seem to be a drop off.
The Indians may have graduated a talented senior class, which included Aaron Edwards, but the cupboard was far from bare.
Cody Hildebrand has already had a 41-point game and Jake Voss, as well as Lance Buhlig, have also led the team in scoring.
Head coach Brian Rea has plenty of fire power at his disposal and a group poised to pile up the wins.
"They do a lot on their own, go to kids' houses and play (basketball) after school, and they've seen the success the last couple of years and they've started to bring back the tradition. I think that feeds off of it," Rea indicated.
"(Our current players) want to be the next group of guys that step up and become the guys that just left that people think, 'Oh, you can't replace those guys.' They take it as a personal challenge and alot of it is on them. I'm proud of them."
In the season's first handful of games Payson has shown they can score. And score in bunches. But defensively they've still got work to do.
Rea estimates the Indians have spent close to 900 minutes spread out over 22 practices on defense. Voss says preventing opponents from scoring has been a major point of emphasis.
"I'd say we're doing defense about 85-90% at practice now," Voss said.
"Our offense is definitely coming together, we scored 91 points in our first game, but our defense could definitely improve."
According to Rea, "We need to try and get four quarters of our defense. We've got a pretty deep team, we've got guys that can come in and spark us, but we need to get an effort from everybody on the bench and everybody on the floor to put forth the defensive effort for 32 minutes."
Payson returns to the floor Friday when they visit Unity. They will also face Illini West, Palmyra, and Pittsfield over the next two weeks before heading back to Mendon for the annual MVIT Tournament during the holiday break.
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