► Last season: 14-9, 7-7 KLAA West (T-4th place)
► Top returners: C Ben Anderson (Sr.), PG Mason Millhouse (Sr.), F Ed Millington (Sr.), G Ashton Tomassi (Sr.)
► First game: Wednesday, Dec. 7 at Flushing, 7 p.m.
► Outlook: Brighton appears to be the top team in Livingston County entering the season, returning its top two scorers from a team that won two district games before falling in the final to Ann Arbor Skyline. Tomassi averaged 16.2 points, earning county Player of the Year, while Millington averaged 11.3 and 7.4 rebounds. Millhouse will take over at the point, while Anderson is a greatly improved center who should be a factor in the paint.
► Coach Mike Griest: “As usual, it’s going to be a dogfight. I think Canton’s probably at the top of (the KLAA West). I hope we’re in the mix. We think we can compete with everybody night in, night out. But that’s the deal in this league — night in, night out everybody can compete with everybody.”
► Last season: 7-13, 4-8 MIAC Red (6th place)
► Top returners: G-F Henry Munkres (Sr.), C Louis Perri (Sr.), F Kian Rooney (Sr.), G Adam Surowiec (Sr.)
► First game: Tuesday, Dec. 6 home vs. Byron, 8 p.m.
► Outlook: The Sentinels could be in for a breakout season. They return their top two scorers in Munkres — a do-it-all player who averaged 13.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 3.4 assists — and Surowiec, a clutch shooter who averaged 9.2 points. Stockwell will expect more production from Rooney, who averaged 4.3 points and 3.6 rebounds. Perri and Rooney also started last season. The Sentinels beefed up their schedule to be prepared for districts, including a game against Division 3 quarterfinalist Bath.
► Coach Rick Morgan: “I’ve been here five or six years and this is probably the best team I’ve had. By ‘team,’ I mean the real definition of team. Not wins and losses or talent, but these are really unselfish players and they’re focused on what is good for the whole. I love coaching these guys.”
► Last season: 12-10, 5-5 CAAC Red (T-3rd place)
► Top returners: PG Brendan Ray (Jr.), G Will Shrader (Soph.), F Wyatt Soli (Soph.)
► First game: Tuesday, Dec. 6 at Lansing Everett, 7 p.m.
► Outlook: Fowlerville graduated three players who averaged double digits in scoring. Ray, the team’s only returning starter, was knocking at the door of double figures with a 9.3 scoring average. Shrader and Soli, two of the top young athletes in Livingston County, will have greatly increased roles. The Gladiators will be considerably smaller inside, with 6-2 senior Alex Jonas filling the center role vacated by 6-8 Greg Wilkinson, who averaged 17.4 points and 10.3 rebounds.
► Coach Jim Jonas: “Six of our top seven scorers and six of our top seven rebounders all graduated. We’re going to be young. I think we’re going to be quick. I think we have the ability to get up and really disrupt people on defense. The last couple years, I’ve been saying, ‘Let’s play 5-on-5.’ This year, I’m not. It’s gonna be transition-and-push that will be our best chance.”
► Last season: 18-5, 11-3 KLAA West (2nd place); KLAA, district champion
► Top returners: F Michael Kilburg (Sr.), G Dylan Neuer (Sr.)
► First game: Tuesday, Dec. 6 home vs. Lakeland, 7 p.m.
► Outlook: Hartland graduated four of its five starters from a team that won the KLAA tournament and a district championship, then took a further hit when senior guard Justin Odoms suffered a season-ending injury and senior forward Gannon Grundman didn’t return. The Eagles return five players who scored a combined 47 points last season, led by Kilburg with 18 and Neuer with 12.
► Coach Kevin Blouin: “For some of them, it’s the first time they’re playing together as a unit. They’re jelling right now. We’ve had some great practices. Everybody is excited for the season. There’s a lot of new opportunities for younger guys to come in and fill those roles that we need. Even for the returning seniors that were juniors last year, it’s an opportunity for some of them to step into bigger roles, just because we were so senior-heavy.”
► Last season: 14-8, 10-4 KLAA West (3rd place)
► Top returners: C Thomas Fischhaber (Sr.), F Logan Leppek (Sr.), G John Lovich (Sr.)
► First game: Tuesday, Dec. 6 at Williamston, 7 p.m.
► Outlook: Much like Hartland, Howell was hit hard by graduation losses. Leppek put up 88 of the 96 points scored last season by five returning players, averaging 4.0 per game. A boost should come from having Lovich and Fischhaber healthy after they lost nearly their entire junior seasons to injuries. Arik Pietila and John Klask will have increased roles after playing sparingly last season. This group got experience playing together during the offseason, but the key with any team is how that translates on Tuesday and Friday nights during the winter.
► Coach Nick Simon: “Our expectations are still through the roof. I’m really excited about the group we have. They’ve done a phenomenal job to this point. I think we’re going to surprise some people.”
► Last season: 9-10
► Top returners: C Sam Ferrell (Sr.), G John Harris (Sr.), G Gabe Neathamer (Sr.), PG Caleb Nixon (Jr.), C Brandon Zimbelman (Sr.)
► First game: Tuesday, Dec. 6 home vs. Washtenaw Christian, 7:30 p.m.
► Outlook: Despite an enrollment of 69, basketball is a healthy sport at Livingston Christian, which has 13 varsity players as well as a junior varsity team. The Falcons return four starters from a team that lost six games by eight points or less. At 6-3, Zimbelman is the tallest player on a small team that will have to rely on quickness.
► Coach Jeff Hollister: “Last year we played some close games. Our big thing this year is being able to finish those close games. Last year with inexperience, we kind of fell apart at the end of some games. This year, I’m hoping my senior guys and upperclassmen can finish the job.”
► Last season: 9-12, 4-6 SEC White (5th place)
► Top returners: G-F Johnny Combs (Sr.), G Brayden Doyle (Sr.), PG Jack Ezerkis (Sr.)
► First game: Tuesday, Dec. 6 home vs. Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard, 7 p.m.
► Outlook: Pinckney graduated all five starters and 92% of its scoring. The top returning scorers are Doyle (1.8 points per game) and Ezerkis (1.2). The Pirates expect an immediate impact from guard Caden Carlson and forward Drakon Mayes, two juniors who played on the junior varsity last season. Combs, coming off a successful football season, is slated to be the prototypical defensive stopper that is a staple at Pinckney.
► Coach Drew Stephens: “As it kind of always is in Pinckney, defense will be our bread and butter. We’ll rely big-time on defense. We have some good juniors coming in to complement our senior class.”
Contact Bill Khan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BillKhan.
This article originally appeared on Livingston Daily: What's the outlook for 2022-23 Livingston County boys basketball?