High School Preview: Team Capsules

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Posted On: 10/2/18 4:05 PM

Alter- The Knights experienced an unorthodox season last year as they finished 10-15. The good news is this year should look much different as the Knights return all 5 starters from last year. Connor Bazelak, Jack Smith, and Dominic Ruffolo all return to give Alter an experienced and very talented backcourt. It could be Decmeber before we see the full Knights squad as coach Eric Coultier expects may of his players to be out due to an expected deep football postseason run. As long as they stay healthy, Alter could easily be competitive in the GCL in 2019. Bazelak is a University of Missouri football commit at quarterback.

 

Carroll- The Patriots lost one of their top guys in Eli Ramsey and will need to find another scoring option to fill his void. Matt Cogan and Simon Jefferson are All-GCL players coming back that will help for sure. The frontcourt will need to see improvement and will be the key to whether the Patriots compete in the GCL this year. In addition, the Patriots make the move to Division I for postseason play. This year will likely be a learning year, as we don’t expect a repeat District title appearance like the past 2 seasons in Division II. If Cogan or Jefferson can step up, the Patriots have a chance of pulling a win or two out in postseason play.

 

Chaminade Julienne- Coach Joe Staley brings back a strong group that made a run to the District title last year before eventually falling to Trotwood Madison. Senior Milton Gage is the top returning player and is poised to have a breakout year. The Eagles return their top 3 scorers from a year ago and will be considered favorites in the GCL Coed. Senior Dominic Wilcox also returns and gives the Eagles a low post threat. Keep an eye on sophomore Daniel Nauseef (6’6) as he could be a future star.

 

Fenwick- The Falcons top scorer and rebounder return in senior C.J. Napier. The downside is the amount of graduating players leaving, especially in the backcourt. For the Falcons to be successful, they will need to see their returning guards become role guys and show the leadership that has been present the last two seasons. Napier has received interest from multiple Division II schools and should easily compete for GCL Player of the Year this year. AJ Braun is a name to watch and should be a solid running mate with Napier.

 

Beavercreek– Coach Mark Hess will have the daunting task of replacing four year letterman Jon Alessandro as he takes his basketball talents to West Liberty University in the Fall. In addition, 66% of last season’s scoring and rebounding are now gone as well. The Beavers have two nice players in junior guards Yousef Saleh and Chris Herbort, but without much help in the paint, the Beavers will struggle in a loaded GWOC. Underclassmen Isaiah Moore (So.) and Adam Duvall (Fr.) will have an opportunity to get quality minutes at the varsity level early in their high school careers.

 

Butler– Last year, the Aviators surprised the entire city of Dayton by finishing 19-3 and splitting the GWOC North division with Sidney. Coach DJ Wyrick brings back 3 starters for the Aviators as they prepare to defend their title and make a deeper postseason run than last season’s Sectional round exit. Michael Kreill returns in the backcourt while Bryant Johnson provides Butler with a strong inside presence. Butler will need another post player to step up and help Johnson as they are loaded with guards but few post players. Kreill has been receiving interest from D3 and NAIA schools. Johnson is being looked at by multiple Divison I schools for football while senior Braedon Norman is a Wright State University baseball commit.

 

Centerville– The Elks will look to continue their GWOC dominance this season after a 13-11 finish last year. Only 2 of Centerville’s top 5 scorers return, but their leading scorer Matt Pearce is one of the returning guys. Junior Mo Njie will step up into a starting role and will likely be the top rebounder and rim protector in the GWOC. With many of the Elks roster being seniors, they could see themselves finishing near the top of the GWOC. Njie has offers from several Division I schools, including University of Dayton and Providence University.

 

Fairborn– Skyhawk fans will see a new face coaching on the sidelines this year. Nathan Chivington left to take the same position at Lebanon in the Winter. The good news is the top two scorers from last year return in seniors Shaunn Monroe and Jarod Bodekor. Experience should not be a huge issue as the 6 returning varsity players all appeared in more than 12 games last year. The biggest concern will be having guys that can step up off the bench. If the Skyhawks can buy into playing for a new coach, as well as supporting Monroe, there is no reason to believe Fairborn can’t finish higher than 2nd in the GWOC South.

 

Fairmont– 3 starters leave from last season’s District runner-up team at Fairmont. The backcourt of senior guards Ryan Hall and Kellan Bochenek are the two returning starters and will have their hands full this year as they try and fill the holes left by the departed players. Of the remaining returning players, most do not have varsity experience and this will be apparent early on in the year. Senior Da’Shawn Brown is a name to watch as the 6’7 post player will be looked upon to lead the frontcourt.  If coach Blair Albright can get his team playing good basketball from an early point, Fairmont could become a challenger.

 

Greenville– The Green Wave can only go up from last year’s 1-22 finish. Coach Kyle Joseph will have a solid backcourt in junior Marcus Wood and senior Noah Walker, but competitiveness will be a major question in the new year. Greenville lost by an average of 25 points per game last season and will lean on Wood and Walker, who are the only returning starters from last year. Besides depth, ball security and limiting turnovers will be areas of concern as poor ball handling will make it difficult for the Green Wave to compete in the GWOC North. Although we expect more than 1 win out of Greenville, we do not expect a conference championship this year.

 

Lebanon– The Warriors were definitely one of the surprise teams of Division I last year after finishing 14-9. Repeating the success this year is a definite possibility. Coach Nathan Chivington takes over a program that only loses 4 player from last season. However 3 of the 4 were starters and one (Harrison Hookfin) was last season’s leading scorer and rebounder. The good news is, Zach Huffman is back and should easily fill then voids left by Hookfin. The Warriors will need an additional guy to step up and take some pressure off Huffman if they are to be successful. Keep an eye on junior Milo White.

 

Miamisburg– 4 starters are back for the Vikings as they look to defend their GWOC West title. Of the returning guys, Corey Hartman and Duncan Hall both will be the players to watch. Scoring could be an issue as Hartman is the only player to score 20 or more points in a game last year. Miamisburg won 7 games last year by single digits and will need one of these guys to score the way Jason Hubbard did if they wish to repeat their success.

 

Northmont– Shane Kincher takes over for the Thunderbolts and will be tasked with reloading a team that loses 5 of their top 6 scorers from last season. Senior Danny Lewis is the top returning player and will be tasked with carrying the load for the team this season. Filling out the rest of the starting lineup will be difficult as most of the other returning guys contributed little minutes and stats. Of the group, sophomore Prophet Johnson has the most upside and should be a huge help for Lewis. One thing is for sure, no matter how inexperienced they may be, Northmont always plays tough basketball and will still be a tough matchup for anyone.

 

Piqua– The Indians face a massive hurdle ahead of them as they lose 10 seniors from last year. In addition, leading scorer and rebounder Ben Schmiesing is now at Ohio State. Rebounding could be an issue as 87% of last year’s rebounding has now graduated. The one bright note is senior Qurri Tucker is back and has shown he can score the ball at a high level. Additionally, senior Trey Richmond is returning and has attracted the attention of several college coaches. This could be a rebuilding year for Piqua fans as many inexperienced or non-varsity guys will be asked to step up.

 

Sidney– The 2018-19 season was expected to be a breakout year for the Sidney Yellow Jackets. After last season’s 18-7 finish, many expected Sidney to be the obvious favorite in Division I. However, Andre Gordon announced he would be attending Huntington Prep (WV) and as a result, cast a huge question mark for the season. Although 3 starters are still back, there is no doubt the loss of Gordon will definitely be felt. Ratez Roberts returns and will likely be the top frontcourt player. In the backcourt, senior Josiah Hudgins and junior Darren Taborn are back and will be a huge help for the Jackets. Scoring will be an issue as Roberts is the only returning guy that averaged double digits.

 

Springboro– 7 of the Panthers top 9 scorers are back from last season’s 8-16 finish. Although not an ideal finish, Springboro has a lot to be looking forward to in 2018-19. Seniors Michael Berner and Garrett Powell return and will give the Panthers a huge advantage on the glass. Berner has received an offer from NAIA school Florida College while Powell has an offer from Christian Brothers University.

 

Springfield– The Wildcats bring back 3 of their top 7 guys from last season, including two sport star RaHeim Moss. It looked as if they would be the top team in the conference, however Sam Towns and Jay Rodgers transferred in late August and left Moss and David Sanford as the only starters. The concern for this year will be which other players step up and provide support. Larry Stephens and Jordan Howard will likely move into starting positions, as will Northwestern transfer Jalen Minney. Moss has a basketball offer from the University of Cincinnati as well as offers for football at UC and Kentucky. Depth will be an issue as there will be questions about who will fill in when the starting five are not in the game.

 

Stebbins– 7 seniors graduate from last year’s roster. Of the departing guys, 6 were major contributors for an Indians team that finished 9-14 last season. Junior Jalen Tolbert and senior Murad Ilyasova are the top returning contributors and will looked upon for leadership. Tolbert has received interest from several Division III schools.

 

Tippecanoe– This season will be a rebuilding year for the Red Devils as they lose 7 seniors including their leading scorer and rebounder. Coach Adam Toohey will try and replace the missing pieces, but inexperience will still be the biggest issue for Tippecanoe. Junior Ben Sauls is arguably the top returning player and will have to be the go-to-guy for Tipp to be successful.

 

Trotwood-Madison- Leading scorer Myles Belyeu may be gone, but the Rams have a ton of talent returning from their state runner-up season. Senior Amari Davis is the top returning player from a team that averaged 97 points per game and there’s a good chance they will repeat this feat. Senior Justin Stephens and junior Carl Blanton also return for Rocky Rockhold’s team as do Malachi Matthews and Sammy Anderson. Davis committed to University of Wisconsin-Green Bay early in September and Stephens is receiving interest from several Division I football programs. Trotwood is the overwhelming favorite to win the GWOC again this year and should expect another deep postseason run as well.

 

Troy- The Trojans only lose 3 players from last season, but the missing pieces were crucial to the Trojans success. Half of the scoring leaves with the departure of these seniors. Jacob Martinez is the top returning guy and will have a chance to be the top player on the court for the Trojans in 2018-19. We will need to see the Trojans show more competitiveness as they struggled against many of the top teams in the GWOC, including Sidney and Butler.

 

Wayne- Most teams would struggle immensely after losing 4 starters from a Regional runner up team. For the Wayne Warriors there is still lots of hope for the upcoming season. Junior Ronnie Hampton is the sole returning starter, however coach Nate Martindale has several sophomores that will see an increased role this season, including Cam Fancher and Brendon Hill. In addition, Rashad McKee returns and should see an increased role after coming off the bench for the Warriors last year. Experience will be the biggest issue going into the season.

 

West Carrollton- In the past 3 seasons, the Pirates have finished a combined 3-66 (.043 winning %) and have struggled immensely in a tough GWOC. The bad news this season is 7 seniors are gone and with them also goes nearly 90% of the Pirates scoring last season. Experience is going to be a struggle early on and the Pirates will need their returning and new players to learn quickly and adjust to playing at the varsity level.

 

Xenia- 2 starters return for Coach Kent Anderson’s squad. The Buccaneers finished 11-12 but played arguably one of the toughest schedules in the state, which should help them as they prepare for another run this season. Senior Samari Curtis is an All-State player who is commited to the University of Cincinnati. Senior Norde Uloho will be another name to watch as the 6’7 Center should see a bigger role this upcoming season. The biggest concern will be for Xenia to find out who their next guy up will be to help Curtis on the offensive end.

 

Bellbrook– 3 starters return for the Golden Eagles and their coach Donnie Tate. The backcourt will be solid with seniors Hayden Greene and Caleb Scott returning while junior Braeden Gedeon returns in the frontcourt. One of the biggest questions will be how the Eagles replace Donnie Crouch and Jack Campbell. The duo were top 2 in scoring and rebounding for Bellbrook. Although they may not finish 14-10 again, the Golden Eagles should still be a competitive team in the SWBL.

 

Brookville– The Blue Devils return 3 starters, including the dynamic backcourt of seniors Jacob Gudorf and Wade Turner that averaged over 26 points per game last year. Brookville was supposed to have a down year last season as they lost several seniors the year before. Instead a 15-9 finish was the result. There is a lot of hype going into the season. Coach Davidson will need the rest of his roster to be ready to step up and provide support for Brookville for them to be an elite team. There is no doubt the backcourt is solid, but frontcourt play will have to also be consistent for the Blue Devils to get back to the District finals.

 

Carlisle– The Indians lose three starters, including last season’s leading scorer Justin Flor. Of the returning starters, one will be a junior and another a sophomore. The experience and youth give Indians fans hope they can improve off last year’s 11-12 finish. Sophomore Nolan Burney is the top guy to watch and has a high ceiling as he continues his high school playing career.

 

Dixie– The Greyhounds return 1 of 5 top scorers from a team that finished 6-17 a year ago. Among the graduating players was last season’s leading scorer Devin Worley. Keith Thomas and Seth Grubb are the top returning guys and will have lots of pressure to replace Worley’s scoring output. One thing is for sure though, Dixie should improve off of last year’s finish and should see themselves in the middle of the pack as long as the scoring remains.

 

Eaton– Although they lose leading scorer Grant Sullender, Eaton has lots of reasons to be excited for next season. Even though they only won 1 game, the Eagles return several key pieces from that team. Senior James Howard was an All-SWBL Honorable Mention player a year ago and should step into a bigger role this year with the loss of Sullender. The defense will need to improve as they struggled to create turnovers last season finishing 2nd to last in the league in steals and last in blocks.

 

Franklin– 2 starters return for coach Brian Bales’ squad that were co-champions in the SWBL Southwestern Division a year ago. The 3 other graduated starters were all SWBL players last year, which means there will be some big shoes to fill. 3 of the Wildcats top reserves return though which could help relieve some of the loss, however the group averaged 9.2 points per game which means they will need to pick up the scoring for Franklin to be successful. Rebuilding is not an issue for the Wildcats as coach Bales has shown he can make Franklin a contender every year in the SWBL.

 

Madison– The Mohawks finished 19-4 last season and were crowned champions of the SWBL Buckeye Division. However, for the 2nd straight season, the Mohawks dropped their first game in the OHSAA tournament. The good news is all 5 starters return for Madison and they are the heavy favorites not only in the SWBL but in Southwest Ohio in Division III. Among the returning players, one of the top guys is Junior Grant Whisman, who is widely considered one of the top prospects in Ohio in the class of 2020. Several Division I schools have expressed interest in the junior. In addition, seniors Levi McMonigle and Mason Whiteman also return giving the Mohawks plenty of experience in 2018-19.

 

Milton-Union– The Bulldogs definitely felt struggles a year ago as they finished 2-21 overall. 5 of the top 7 scorers from that team return and will try and improve off the poor finish. Senior Aaran Stone is the leading returning prospect and should attract college attention with his size and skill. The Bulldogs will need to improve on the offensive end as they averaged 43.3 points per game a year ago. With several key players graduating within the Buckeye Division, the Bulldogs could move up the ranks within the league.

 

Monroe– The Hornets finished 5-18 a year ago, but will need to replace a major piece as Tristan Backas has graduated. The good news is 4 of 5 starters are back and should make Monroe much more competitive than a year ago. One of the biggest issues will be finding help on the glass. Even with Backas, Monroe still finished last in the SWBL in total rebounds. Of the returning guys, sophomore Marty Zumbiel and senior Shawn Poindexter are the top guys and form a formidable backcourt.

 

Northridge– 3 all-SWBL players return for the Polar Bears as they look to rebound from an 11-13 season last year. One issue will be height as 3 of the 6 forwards from last season are graduated. Among the returning players are seniors Twon Hines and Charles Drewery, and with them gives Northridge a legitimate chance of contending in the Buckeye Division. If the Polar Bears can stay healthy (much of their lineup plays football), they can easily challenge Madison at the top of the league.

 

Oakwood– The Lumberjacks graduate 6 players from last season’s 12-11 team. Among their returning guys is junior Darren Rubin. One of the top 2020 prospects in the Dayton area, Rubin will be looked upon to be a floor leader and key player for the Jacks. One area of concern will be rebounding as Oakwood loses almost all of their post players  from last year’s team that finished 5th in the SWBL in total rebounds. If they can control the glass and continue the frontcourt dominance, they have a chance to be a contender in the wide open Southwestern Division.

 

Preble Shawnee– Arrows fans should not expect a repeat of last year’s 17-6 finish as this season will be a much different looking team. 8 players in total are gone, including 1st Team all-SWBL players Joey Bates and Austin Moore. In total, 82% of last season’s scoring graduated and the returning players averaged 13.5 points per game combined. Experience will definitely be an issue early on.

 

Valley View- The Spartans took a drop last season finishing 9-14 after a 16-8 finish in 2016-17. The bad news is 4 of their top 5 scorers from last season have graduated and now they must look to replace them. The Spartans did have one of the better defenses in the SWBL a year ago, especially on the perimeter. However, rim protection was an issue.

 

Waynesville– Spartans fans will see many familiar faces in 2018-19. Only one senior departs from last season’s 11-13 team. Alex Hurley is the top returning player and should see a spike in his stats from last year. Anthony Carmichael is the top frontcourt player and will be looked upon to be a better scorer for the Spartans to provide support for Hurley. If another guy can step up and help with the scoring, the Spartans should see themselves over .500 again.

 

Belmont– The Bison had a breakout season a year ago as they finished 15-7 and runner up in the Dayton City League. Coach Art Winston will have a mountain to climb as he loses all 3 of his all-DCL players from a year ago. The graduating all-SWBL players did so much for the Bison and the biggest question will be if Belmont will be able to replace them. Luckily, senior Kendall Moore will be running the show as the point guard. Moore has seen a recent spike in recruitment, including a visit to Heidelberg.

 

Dunbar– The Wolverines surprised many by finishing 18-4 and receiving the #1 seed in the Dayton District in Division II. After seeing Devon Baker and Caleb McConnell transfer, some felt last season would be a down year for Dunbar, instead a regular season championship was the result. Unfortunately, many of the guys that helped have now left due to graduation. Senior Jonathan Allen is a talented basketball player, but likely will take his talents to football as he is being recruited by several Division 1 programs.

 

Meadowdale– A 10-12 finish was where Meadowdale found themselves at the end of last season. League play was a major issue as the Lions went 3-7 against Dayton City League teams. 6 players graduate from their team, including offensive star Jabali Leonard. 3 sophomores are back, including Will Hill, and the Lions will likely be down a year as they will need to continue to develop their young guys to be competitive in the DCL.

 

Ponitz– The Panthers have a lot to look forward to in 2018-19. They will be led by a new coach as Allen Spears takes over the reins going into the new season. They return leading scorer and rebounder Damonte Bailey among others. He has received attention from several colleges so far. Senior Jaren Smith returns as well and gives Ponitz a talented backcourt. There is a lot of optimism going into the season and the Panthers could see themselves competing near the top of the Dayton City League.

 

Stivers– After struggling a year ago, the Tigers return a talented young backcourt that could compete in the DCL. Juniors Trevon Ellis and Da’juan Allen return after successful sophomore seasons and should have breakout seasons. If the rest of the Tigers youth can step up, this should be a good season for them. Keep an eye on sharpshooter Allen Latimore.

 

Thurgood Marshall- The Cougars tied for third in the Dayton City League, but were a young team which gives them confidence going into 2019. Sophomores Anthony McCombs and Chanze Amerson are the top 2 players returning, and both have received their fair share of Division I college interest. McCombs was a 1st Team all DCL last season, and could compete for POY honors this season. One of the biggest concerns will be how the Cougars will play in the paint as they were a guard oriented team last season.

 

Dayton Christian– The Warriors finished 18-6 last season and were runner up in the MBC. Unfortunately, 6 seniors graduate from this team, including leading scorer Matt Welker. Many of the departing players made up much of Dayton Christian’s scoring. The good news is senior Anton Webb is returning and has potential to have a breakout season. One of the best rebounders in the conference a year ago, Webb should step into a bigger role and be the primary scorer in 2019. Defense shouldn’t be an issue as the Warriors were one of the top defensive teams in the conference, but scoring could pose an issue, especially if Webb does not have 2-3 guys that can step up and provide support on that end.

 

Emmanuel Christian– The Lions made a postseason run all the way to the District Finals in Division IV before falling to Russia by 31 points. This season could be a repeat run as Emmanuel returns 4 of their top 5 scorers from that team. Adonis Davis is the top returning player, and the senior has the potential to be a POY candidate. The 6’2 forward will be the Lions go to weapon in the paint, while the perimeter will have juniors Fred Shropshire and Casey Swank, as well as sophomore Jason Channels. The Lions will need to show more competitiveness in the regular season as they won only 5 conference games last year. In addition, the scoring will need to improve as the Lions were 6th in the conference. With the returning guys, there is a good chance this team will improve off of last season’s 10-15 finish.

 

Jefferson– The only place to go is up for Jefferson as they look to rebound from last season’s 3-19 finish. Senior Jabir Coleman is back, but 3 other leading scorers are gone and will need to be replenished. The Broncos averaged only 43 points per game last season, which finished last in the MBC. Without a consistent scorer, it will be very difficult to compete with the rest of the conference and Jefferson fans may be expecting a similar finish this season.

 

Legacy Christian– Last season was a huge year for the Knights as they increased their win total by 5 from 2017, and finished 18-7 last year. If injuries had not been an issue, the Knights could have easily been playing for a District title in Division IV, but instead an early exit was the result. This year, many of the pieces are back, including seniors Keano Hammerstrom and Erik Uszynski. One of the most all around talented teams in the conference, Legacy is easily the top team in 2019 and could make a deep postseason run.

 

Miami Valley School– The Rams finished below .500 last season, but a postseason win against Tri-County North gives the Rams something to build off of going into 2019. Last season’s leading scorer Marc Williams is one of 7 players lost to graduation. Inexperience will be a huge issue as only 3 guys return that appeared in more than 10 games last year. The Rams will not finish dead last in the conference, but will definitely sit near the bottom.

 

Middletown Christian– The Eagles finished the regular season with only 4 wins, however a run to the District title before falling to Fort Loramie was ultimately how Middletown Christian’s season came to an end. 7 of 10 players from this squad are now gone as graduation hit them hard. Besides inexperience, being more competitive will be a challenge for the Eagles.

 

Troy Christian– Almost all of the Eagles top performers from last season are gone, including dynamic big man James Anderson. Many new faces will step up for Ray Zawadzki’s squad, but there is no reason to rule out Troy Christian. One of the best defensive teams last year in the MBC, the Eagles always find ways to be competitive and although may not be the favorites, should easily compete with the rest of the conference. Connor Case is a name to watch for them.

 

Yellow Springs- The Bulldogs finished in the middle of the pack last season. 8 guys from last season have graduated and leaves many holes in Yellow Springs’ depth chart. Of the returning players, Andrew Clark will be looked to to help relieve some of the loss. Last year, this team finished near the top of the conference in points per game and were the top 3-point shooting team as well. Defense will be a question as well as their inside play.

 

Bellefontaine– 7 seniors have departed from last season’s 10-13 Chieftan team. In addition, the entire frontcourt players on last season’s roster are gone leaving only guards returning. Among the returning guys is senior Jack Clement, who is the top returning player in assists in the conference a year ago. Rebounding and height are going to be issues, and with Kenton Ridge and Jonathan Alder being the favorites, this could be a rebuilding year for Bellefontaine.

 

Benjamin Logan– Ben Logan fans were disappointed in a 7-16 finish last season, but there is plenty of optimism going into 2019. For starters, only 2 players are lost from last season’s squad and leading scorers Nolan Robson and Cole Jones return. Height will not be an issue for last season’s top rebounding team in the CBC, as six players stand 6’3 or taller. After a down season last year and with the Mad River division being wide open, the Raiders could make some noise and potentially compete for a CBC title.

 

Graham– 2 starters return for a Falcons team that finished 11-13 last season. The good news is Brevin King returns after leading the Falcons in scoring and 2nd in rebounds a year ago. The bad news is Graham’s leading and 3rd rebounder have graduated, meaning new faces will need to pick up the slack. Defense was a bright point last season as the Falcons gave up less than 50 points per game while finishing 2nd in the CBC in blocked shots. The offense will need to pick up and someone will need to step up and help King if Graham is going to win a divisional title.

 

Indian Lake– 2 seniors are gone from a team that finished 11-13 and 2nd in the Mad River division last year. Unfortunantly, both departed players were large pieces of this Lakers offense, bringing with them nearly 32 points and 12 rebounds per game. 5 of the returning players appeared in over half the games last season. Their bench will need to step up and provide support. Another issue will be if the returning guys can maintain the high scoring offense that averaged almost 60 points per game last year. Another runner-up season is not expected, but the Lakers can definitely still be competitive in a struggling Mad River division.

 

Kenton Ridge– The Cougars were one of the most improved teams in Dayton last year as they improved from 1-22 to 16-7 in 2018. Unfortunately, many pieces from this team are gone and will put Kenton Ridge in rebuilding mode again. 3 of the top 8 players from last season return, including junior Tyler Eberhart, who could compete for POY honors in 2019. One of the biggest issues will be if the remaining returnees can match the intensity and skill level needed to keep the Cougars in the top 3 in the Kenton Trail division. Scoring will definitely drop from last season but if they can play tough defense like they did in 2018, the Cougars could find themselves competing in a divisional race near the end of the year.

 

Northwestern– Last year is definitely a year the Huskies will want to forget. A 4-19 and winless conference slate is where Northwestern finished. 3 players departed, including junior Jalan Minney who transferred to Springfield for this season. Of the returning players, senior Evan Noffke is the top guy and should see a larger role now, especially with Minney gone. The Huskies will need an additional player to step up and provide support with Noffke. In addition, ball control will need to improve as Northwestern averaged nearly 17 turnovers a game a year ago. We believe a winless conference finish is unlikely, but Northwestern could potentially find themselves competing in the weakened Mad River division.

 

Shawnee– Last season’s Braves team was impressive and finished 16-7 during the regular season. This year will be difficult to match, as the 4 departing seniors made up much of the Braves scoring and defense. Among the returning guys, senior D.J. Hayden will be looked upon for leadership and will need assistance from the rest of his team. This could be a challenge as only 4 guys return that appeared in more than 15 games last year. Rebounding will be the biggest issue as the Braves finished last in the CBC last season, and this was including their top 2 rebounders who are now gone. This season could be a bit of a down year, but mostly depends on how many holes the returning players can fill.

 

Tecumseh– 2 starters are back for an Arrows team that went through some growing pains in 2018. Although they had 4 seniors on roster last year, Tecumseh used several juniors and sophomores throughout the year. With this now varsity experience, the Arrows can now look to improve off of last season’s 5 wins. Scoring is the #1 area needing improvement. Junior Easton Lewis will need to step up into a bigger role offensively as he is the top returning scorer from last season. Senior Randy Collins has shown he can be a force in the paint on the defensive end, but will need to pick up his scoring numbers and be more of an offensive threat. If the rest of the team can understand their roles and be more competitive, the Arrows can easily be one of the most improved teams in 2019.

 

Urbana– 4 starters are gone from last season’s Mad River division champions. All departing players leave voids throughout the Hillclimbers roster. One of the biggest issues will be scoring. Although senior Reid Taylor averaged 7 points per game last year, the next highest total was 4 points per game. Among the returning players however, the frontcourt appears to be their strength as Urbana returns Taylor and 6’6 junior Grant Hower. If the backcourt can match this intensity, Urbana can finish above .500, however the loss of this much talent will require a year to reload and rebuild.

 

Fairbanks– 2 all-OHC players return for a Panthers team looking to rebound from an 11-12 finish a year ago. Among the returning players is 6’4 senior forward Cross Hackathorne, who will have potential to compete for OHC Player of the Year this year. Senior Jacob Nicol also returns after finishing OHC Honorable Mention a year ago. Point guard play will be a concern this season as coach Justin George does not have as much depth at the position.

 

Mechanicsburg- School Did Not Provide Info

 

Northeastern- School Did Not Provide Info

 

Triad– The Cardinals took an early exit last season in the sectional round, but looks to continue their success and build off a 15-8 finish a year ago. One challenge will be to replace the many seniors now departed from that team, including OHC North POY Hadley LeVan. 3 guys do return, including senior Austin Bails, but inexperience will still be a huge hill for Triad to climb over. Keep an eye on junior guard Jacob Simonelli to help fill some of the scoring.

 

West-Liberty Salem– The Tigers shared an OHC title last season with a talented West Jefferson team. However, 7 seniors graduate from a 17-8 team that will now need to fill almost all of their scoring and rebounding output from last year. Several new names will step up and try to fill some of the gaps, including seniors Oliver McGuire, Kasey Kite, and Dominic Blair. If the Tigers can mold together and win the way they did last season, they could challenge again for an OHC North title.

 

Springfield Catholic Central– Last season, the Irish were clearly the top Division IV team in Dayton, and they could easily do it again this year. After making a run to the Regional Semifinals, Catholic Central fell short by losing to eventual state champion Marion Local by 22. Coach Cody Sarensen returns several key pieces from his 23-4 team last year, including backcourt duo Trey Dunn and Sabien Doolittle. Senior Mykah Eichie also returns giving the Irish plenty of firepower and athleticism. Our biggest concern is who will provide bench support when these guys are not in the game. If the Irish can get into a rhythm and find depth to help their starting 5, they could legitimately be a state title contender in Division IV.  

 

Cedarville- The Indians are rebounding from a 5-17 finish last year, but with some experience back there is hope for a new tradition. Among the returning experience is junior Colby Cross and sophomore Trent Koning. Height and inside play will be challenge, but coach Godlove credits his team’s athleticism to their success. We believe the Indians are a year away from being the elite team of the OHC.

 

Greeneview– The Rams lost last season’s leading scorer and top player Mason Schneider from last season’s 13-10 team. As a result, there will be a concern if the defense will be able to keep their intensity from last season as Schneider was their leading shot blocker. All-OHC player Gabe Caudill and Nick Clevenger are back and will give Greeneview the experience to hang near the top of the conference, but still not elite enough to dethrone Catholic Central.

 

Greenon– Last season was a much improved season as Greenon jumped from 3 to 12 wins. This year they will try to replicate their success. The downside will be trying to replace the experience that has now graduated. Many underclassmen will be asked to step up, however it could be another year or two before Greenon contends for an OHC title.

 

Southeastern- School Did Not Provide Info

 

Anna- The Rockets surprised many by finishing for a 3-way tie in the SCAL after finishing 21-5 last season. The scary thought is this team could be even better in 2019. Senior Griffin Doseck returns and will have a chance at being SCAL Player of the Year. 2 juniors will join him in Bart Bixler and Riley Huelskamp. As long as the Rockets can be a defensive menace and win the games that matter in the SCAL, Anna should have no issue being the outright champions this season.

 

Botkins– An 8-16 team was where Botkins finished last season. Of the 8 wins, only 2 came against SCAL opponents. Coach Sean Powell now looks to build off their struggles and get the Trojans back into competitveness in the SCAL for 2019. Only 3 seniors will be on roster and they Trojans will be without transfer Jayden Priddy for half the season. Because of this, Botkins will need their sophomore class to step up and provide support.

 

Fairlawn– The Jets finished even last season with a 12-12 record. The good news is Ashton and Skyler Piper will be returning in 2019. The bad news is there are many news names that will need to step up if the Jets want to improve. One concern will be if Fairlawn defensively will be able to defend the post. Many teams in the SCAL have a decent post player and will demand respect. If the Jets are unable to control the paint on either ends of the floor, it could be a rough season.

 

Fort Loramie– The Redskins had a fantastic finish last year, ending the year 25-3 and reaching the Regional championship before falling to Marion Local. This year, Coach Corey Britton will need to replace 4 starters from the runner-up team. Scoring will be the biggest challenge, but the Redskins have several players Britton feels can step up. Junior Nick Brandewie is the sole returning starter and will need help from seniors Nathan Raterman, Eli Rosengarten, and Carter Mescher.

 

Houston– Houston underperformed last year finishing 4-19 and only getting one win in SCAL play. Howie Ludwig returns after finishing Honorable Mention in the SCAL last year. Competitiveness will be one concern as the Wildcats lost by double digits in 14 of their 19 losses last season. With Ludwig back, as well as John Leist and Tristin Friestuhler, Houston will try and build off of their 4 wins, but this season may be another below .500 finish.

 

Jackson Center– The Tigers finished 15-10 last year and made it all the way to the Sectional finals before falling to fellow SCAL opponent Russia 37-21. Although coach Scott Elchert loses sharpshooter Bryce Sosby to graduation, he returns several key players; including SCAL Honorable Mention Trent Platfoot. The experience will be there, but the concern for Jackson Center will be if they can compete with the top teams in the league. The Tigers finished 6-6 in SCAL play, but all 6 losses came against the top 3 teams in the league (Anna, Fort Loramie, Russia). If the Tigers are going to compete, they will need to take care of business against the best.

 

Russia– The Raiders were part of a 3-way tie at the top of the SCAL last season. Russia played their way into the Regional Semifinals but were unable to advance. This season with two players returning that finished all-league last season, the Raiders are poised to again compete and win a SCAL title. Jordan York and Daniel Kearns return giving the Raiders options with height. The concern will be with the guard play. If ball-handling is not handled and turnovers kept to a minimum, Russia will struggle in tight matchups, which are likely with the SCAL being so tough this season.

 

Bethel– The Bees battled injuries in their backcourt last season, but an impressive 19-6 finish was where coach Brett Kopp got his team to end their season. Unfortunately, 2019 will be difficult for Bethel to repeat as champs. 6 seniors have graduated, including 2 all state players from last year. The lone returning starter is Kendal James, but without any other scoring threats, Bethel will struggle to be as competitive as years past. Nick Schmidt will likely be looked to to be the secondary scoring option.

 

Franklin-Monroe– Coach Myers will have his work cut out for him as he loses 7 seniors from a 14-8 team last year. The Jets had success in CCC play as they finished 10-2 and finished 2nd behind Bethel. Although losing a lot of talent would be a reason to be down, it’s who is returning that gives Franklin-Monroe fans reason to be excited. Senior Ethan Conley is one of the top prospects in Ohio and easily is the top returning player in the conference. If the Jets can find another scoring option to provide support for Conley, these guys could see themselves winning the conference title.

 

National Trail– National Trail experienced their first winning season in over 10 years last season. There is a good chance this team will be even better this year. Although Dalton Mason has graduated, many guys are back from this 15-9 team. Leading scorer Cameron Harrison is back as well as 4 year starter point guard Travis Hunt and defensive weapon Adam Eyler. As long as the Blazers can be competitive on the glass, they have a real shot of competing for a CCC title.

 

Tri-County North– 4 starters are back for a Panthers team that finished 14-9 last season. What was impressive about the 14 wins was the Panthers had won 14 TOTAL games the 4 years before. The lone loss is guard Dillon McCullough, who provided scoring for the Panthers. The return of this many starters plus the 6th and 7th man should mean little issue with scoring. What concerns us is the lack of height TCN has and if they can make a deeper postseason run in 2019. As long as they stay healthy and can compete on any given night, we don’t see why Tri-County North can’t compete near the top of the conference in 2019.

 

Mississinawa Valley- School Did Not Provide Info

 

Ansonia– The Tigers finished 12-11 last season and fell in the sectional final to Fort Loramie. This season’s squad is not very deep, but return several players that should see Ansonia competing near the top of the conference. Seniors Hunter Muir and Devyn Sink are back after finishing all-conference last season. Besides the lack of depth, there is concern with shooting as several talented shooters from last year’s squad have since graduated. With the conference being quite competitive this season, it is hard to say exactly where Ansonia will finish in the CCC. However, if they can stay healthy and play hard every night, they can easily be a top 4 team for 2019.

 

Tri-Village- School Did Not Provide Info

 

Twin Valley South– TVS finished 9-14 in 2018, but return several pieces to a team that hopes to improve off of last year’s under .500 finish. Among 4 returning seniors is guard Willie Bowman. Willie has great size for a guard and should announce a college decision at some point this year. Depth will be a challenge as the Panthers will not have as many varsity caliber players. Even with the many pieces returning, we see TVS finishing in the middle of the pack in the CCC.

 

Arcanum– A new coaching staff will arrive at Arcanum this season as the Trojans begin a new era of basketball. There is a lot to be optimistic about as the Trojans return junior Carter Gray. If Ethan Conley were not in the CCC, Gray would arguably be the top player in the conference. Several other pieces return including Evan Atchley, Wade Meeks, and Grant Delk. One of these guys will need to step up and be another go to option besides Gray if Arcanum wants to make a run this postseason.

 

Miami East– Coach Mack looks to build off of last year’s 9-14 finish and get his Vikings team back to finishing at the top of the CCC. One area where Miami East will excel will be there their shooting as coach Mack credits his team for being an “excellent perimeter shooting team”. Size and post play will be a concern as they try to compete in a talented CCC. Parker Heim is back and should be looked to as the top player for the Vikings this season.

 

Covington– Covington finished 5-18 last season, and unfortunately has hit a speed bump as their starting point guard is out due to an offseason knee injury. Several players return for the Buccs, but with the CCC being competitive this year, it is difficult to see these guys finish near the top.

 

Newton– 5-18 was where Newton finished last season, but return several key pieces including Ryan Mollette that should see improvement from last year. Coach Spitler and his squad will need to improve overall if they are to compete near the top of the conference. Another down year is possible as Newton continues to improve.

 

Bradford- School Did Not Provide Info