Warriors hope to pick up where they left off last season

Lewis-Clark State forward Trystan Bradley (32) attempts to grab an offensive rebound away from Montana Tech guard Nate Ward (1) during the second half of a Frontier Conference game on Thursday evening at the Lewis-Clark State College Activity Center in Lewiston.

Last season, Lewis-Clark State men’s basketball coach Austin Johnson guided the Warriors to their very first NAIA Final Four appearance.

The Warriors will get a peek Monday at what Johnson plans for an encore when they welcome nonleague foe Yellowstone Christian College (1 p.m., Activity Center) to open Johnson’s second season at the helm.

Among its returners, only L-C’s junior point guard Damek Mitchell, junior post Trystan Bradley and senior sharpshooter Josiah Westbrook played significant minutes.

Mitchell averaged 11.2 points per game and ranked fifth in the NAIA in assists, with 193.

“Just like Trystan and Josiah, Damek’s going from a position where, as good as he was last year, he’s going to have to be (even) better this year,” Johnson said.

Bradley, who averaged 7.8 points, bumped that mark to nearly 11 points per game during the Warriors’ final 11 contests – and scored 15 in L-C’s 80-76 win against LSU Alexandria in the Elite Eight. The Warriors lost in the next round.

“I’d say the biggest piece for him is just the mental confidence of not hesitating when he has a chance to get his shot off,” Johnson said of what helped his 6-foot-8 forward blossom.

This will mark L-C’s last season in the Frontier Conference. League coaches picked the Warriors to finish third and named Mitchell to the preseason all-conference team.

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