The resurgence of the Cedarburg boys basketball team could hit another level this season.
The Bulldogs return their top five scorers from last season's 20-6 unit, which advanced all the way to a WIAA sectional championship game before falling to powerful Kaukauna, which went on to win the Division 2 crown.
Cedarburg also made a run at the North Shore Conference championship, posting a one-point victory at Germantown early in the season before settling for second place at 11-3, two games behind the Warhawks.
This year's edition is the favorite to seize the crown from Germantown, which has claimed it for seven straight seasons.
The Bulldogs return 6-foot-4-inch junior guard John Diener, who averaged 22.2 points and hit 49 shots from 3-point range en route to all-conference and all-state honors.
Diener has already verbally committed to play college basketball at DePaul University in Chicago.
Also back are 6-5 senior guard Jordan Johnson, who averaged 14.7 points and connected on a team-high 57 3-point field goals, and 6-7 junior forward Matt Barber, who scored 9.6 points per outing and hit 17 3-point field goals.
Other returnees include 6-1 senior guard Jared Short and 5-10 senior guard Clayton Van Tassel, if he has recovered fully from an injury sustained late in the football season.
Cedarburg opened the season with a 70-47 romp over Messmer on Nov. 25 behind 26 points from Diener, 20 by Johnson and 9 from Barber. The Bulldogs, as they did most of last season, shot well from the free-throw line at 13-of-14.
Cedarburg jumped to a 36-18 halftime lead and then maintained that for the second half.
The Bulldogs open North Shore Conference action at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at Whitefish Bay, which is regarded as a contender behind the return of David Thompson (21 points per game last season).
Cedarburg then meets Milwaukee Hamilton at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at South Division as part of the Terry Porter Classic.
Next will be a home game against West DePere at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6.