SWBL Southwestern Preseason Preview

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Posted On: 10/14/17 9:07 PM

The SWBL Southwestern Division will be similar to the Buckeye Division, as there appears to be 2 teams near the top of the league that will dominate and everyone else will attempt to keep up. Experience is key for the top teams and some new faces will likely step up this year.   Bellbrook- The Golden Eagles went through growing pains in Coach Tate’s first season as head coach, but they’re definitely bound to show great improvement come 2017-18. Donnie Crouch (2018) is the top returner as well as Hayden Greene (2019) and Jack Campbell (2018). After finishing 3-9 last year in league play, Bellbrook will need to show better ability in regards to scoring to compete near the top.   Brookville- Last year, Brookville exceeded expectations by winning 21 games and reaching the District title game at UD Arena. Unfortunately, this year will likely not be a repeat. 8 seniors graduated and leave major gaps for the Blue Devils. The good news is Jacob Gudorf (2019) returns and is arguably one of the top guards in the Dayton area. Scoring is going to be the biggest issue and Brookville will go as far as Gudorf can take them.   Eaton- Last season was a season Eaton likely wants to forget. The Eagles went winless in SWBL play and finished 6-17 overall. Several key pieces return for this year, but without a dynamic playmaker, Eaton will likely finish near the bottom of the league again. Grant Sullender (2018) will be asked to step up into a much larger role if the Eagles want to succeed.   Franklin- Coach Brian Bales won yet another SWBL championship last year, his 6th consecutive at Franklin. His Wildcat team went 18-5 and is bound to have another great year. The best returner is Payton Knott (2018) who is a phenomenal guard capable of playing at the next level. Ryan Montgomery (2018) was going to provide another big help, but a recent knee injury makes it questionable when and how much he will be able to affect his team. Experience will be an issue for the Wildcats as several JV players will need to step up.   Monroe- The Hornets finished 9-14 last season, but are bound to have a much better season this year. They return arguably one of the top players in the league in Tristan Backas (2018) as well as their next two best scorers. The biggest issue will be consistent scoring from these guys as the Hornets averaged 44 points per game last year.   Oakwood- For the first time in 6 years, a team besides Franklin has a real chance of winning the SWBL Southwestern division. 5 of the Lumberjacks top 6 scorers return after a 15-8 season last year. Andy Neff (2018) is one of the best post players in the league and dominates on both ends of the floor. The Jacks are one of the biggest teams in the league and will have little issue controlling the glass.   Valley View- The Spartans had high expectations last year and hoped to win the SWBL. Instead, a third place finish and 16-8 record was the end result. This season will be different as their top 3 scorers are no longer on the team, Clayton Erbaugh (2018) and Ben Herman (2018) are the top returners and will be looked upon for leadership. One of the biggest issues will be depth and height as 2 of those 3 scorers were forwards.   Predictions
  1. Oakwood- All the experience returning makes this team the most dangerous in the league. If they can control the glass and keep Franklin at bay, should be much easier to do so.
 
  1. Franklin- If Montgomery hadn’t gotten hurt, the Wildcats could have likely been #1 instead.
 
  1. Bellbrook- The Eagles have plenty of talent returning, but still need a more consistent scorer to compete with Franklin and Oakwood.
 
  1. Valley View- Spartans lose too much scoring and size to compete with the top 3 in the league.
 
  1. Monroe- Backas is a star but needs more help if they wish to improve.
 
  1. Brookville- Gudorf is definitely a next level player, but with little varsity experience returning with him, it’s had to see the Blue Devils finish higher than #6.
 
  1. Eaton- One more season and the Eagles may be ready to challenge the middle of the league; right now they still need to improve too much.