NEENAH (WLUK) -- The Neenah boys basketball team lost some key players from last season's 23-2 team, including all-state performer Max Klesmit, so maybe there was some question if the Rockets could be just as good this season without their star.
Fifteen games into this season, there's no doubt.
Neenah is off to a 14-1 start, is perfect in the Fox Valley Association, and it's basically just what Neenah expected.
"I thought this coming in because we had a lot of returning people and younger kids that can come up and play basketball," senior Charlie Wolfgram said. "We kind of expected what was going to happen, if we put our minds to it, we could do it."
Klesmit averaged 25.5 points per game a season ago, and when Neenah needed a basket last season there was no doubt where it would go. This season, it's different and that's also been good.
"It's just different because we don't rely on one person," coach Lee Rabas said. "We're up to eight guys that at one point this year have scored in double figures. We legitimately have a bunch of guys that can lead us on any night, so if someone is struggling one night we have guys who can pick them up.
"We're not reliant on one person to do the scoring and that obviously is a benefit to us."
Last year, Neenah was looking to make a second straight trip to the Division 1 state tournament when on the way home from a sectional semifinal win it received news the season was cancelled due to COVID-19. Lost was a chance to play rival Kimberly with a trip to the state tournament on the line and that was tough to accept.
"Mix of emotions," said senior Jacob Dietz, who leads Neenah in scoring at 14.1 ppg. "Just the happiness of winning the game and the exciting game we had, and of course we love playing Kimberly, we love the challenge and we love the rivalry, so it was a real bummer that we didn't get to play them because we thought we were going to win and had a good chance to go to state."
Neenah couldn't do anything about the situation, but this year hopefully the Rockets have nothing off the court that prevents it from achieving that goal again.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay