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Posted On: 07/10/18 7:12 PM
2018-19 will be a new look for the Southern Hills Athletic Conference. 10 of last season’s 17 all-SHAC players graduated and left several large voids with a few programs. The good news however, is the players that do return have great potential and should still provide excitement for fans across Southeast Ohio to watch. Here are our bold predictions for the SHAC.
1. Ripley will find themselves back in the District final
Last season the Blue Jays made a run all the way to the District finals in Division IV before falling to Springfield Catholic Central 56-45. We expect Ripley to find their way back into the District title game yet again. Led by Jaki Royal (2019), the Blue Jays will be one of the higher seeds yet again in Cincinnati come March.
2. West Union will struggle to defend their Division I title
The Dragons surprised many people by winning the Division I title in the SHAC last season after being predicted to finish last in the preseason. Defending their title will be difficult come next season. Eastern Brown and Ripley bring crucial pieces back from last season, and Lynchburg Clay and North Adams can’t be ruled out of competition either. In addition, coach Greg Himes was not brought back as the coach and a new face will lead West Union come November.
3. Division I will be a tight race
West Union returns plenty of scoring between Bowen Tomlin (2019) and Ryan Rothwell (2019) and a strong interior presence in Zane Kingsolver (2020). However, the Dragons lose coach Himes from last season. Ripley returns Jaki Royal but loses Ryan Harney who was a huge X-factor offensively last season. Eastern Brown returns Marcus Hamilton (2019), shooter Hunter Ruckel (2020) and Colton Vaughn and they appear to be the favorites in Division I. Lynchburg can compete if they are able to replace Eric McLaughlin and his huge contributions from last season. North Adams will need better consistency from last year and will lean on Austin McCormick (2020) to provide support.
4. Peebles will come out of Division II
Simply put, the Indians will defend their title in Division II in the SHAC. Losing Tanner Arey and Bostin Robinson will be tough, but Weston Browning (2020) has shown potential to be a future SHAC star. The other 4 schools in the division lose much of their talent and therefore the runner up position is still up for grabs. We are leaning towards Fayetteville or Fairfield for runner ups.