Posted On: 10/8/19 4:59 AM
From a statewide perspective there are two big storylines. For one, this is the first season in 40 years that we won’t see Ed Heintschel on the Toledo St. John’s sideline. Mike Schoen takes over following Heintschel’s retirement.
Second, Lima Senior is the team to beat. They bring back the great majority of their key contributors — namely returning First Team All-Conference guys Josiah Fulcher and Jamir Simpson — to go with a head coach in Quincy Simpson who led the Spartans to states in 2016.
(Quick aside: For a sneak peak at Lima Senior’s 2019 group, attend the annual Lima Super Scrimmage at their home gym on November 16. It’s loaded.)
Locally, though, there are other compelling storylines within the area’s top conference. Kids have transferred in and out. There are several young cores — namely at Findlay, St. John’s, and St. Francis — that may be a year or two away from a run. Finally, Toledo Central Catholic returns all five starters for a team who competed with everyone last season, ultimately finishing 6-8 in conference.
Let’s get into it:
Josiah Fulcher (2020) | 6-2 SG | Lima Senior
Easy choice to repeat as the TRAC Player of the Year. The efficient shot-creator has verbally committed to Bowling Green since last season. His dynamic athleticism paired with scoring ability is unparalleled in the conference.
AJ Adams (2021) | 6-4 SF | Findlay
Remarkably versatile defensive weapon who led Findlay in points (17.0) and rebounds (8.0) as a sophomore. A mismatch problem for every team outside of Lima Senior, and maybe St. John’s. Adams can create a shot from wherever he receives a pass but was especially dangerous in the mid-post last season.
Jamir Simpson (2020) | 6-5 F | Lima Senior
Simpson found a very comfortable role in the offense last season by operating the elbows and short corners, occasionally stepping away for a spot-up triple. Finished fourth in rebounding at 7.9 per game, too. Bouncy and strong athlete with immense offensive talent.
Jonzell Norrils (2020) | 5-11 PG | Toledo Central Catholic
Norrils is currently bursting through holes as the Irish running back. In a few months, he will be doing the same through traffic on the hardwood. He’s a physical slasher who draws fouls. Provides leadership. Controls pace.
Jadakis Mack (2020) | 6-4 SG | Lima Senior
Mack is the conference’s most improved player. A true role player a year ago, Mack has become a LM/D-II caliber prospect during the offseason. Extremely explosive athlete who can defend almost any player in the conference. He finishes with authority and will provide rebounding.
Frank Waganfeald (2021) | 6-7 C | Oregon Clay
There may not be a player who is more important to their team’s success on a nightly basis. Waganfeald is Clay basketball right now. Their offense is predicating on throwing him the ball in the post. He has go-to and counter moves in the paint. Talented rebounder who could average a double-double these next two seasons.
Khalil Luster (2022) | 5-4 PG | Lima Senior
Luster controls pace and will deliver the ball to his scorers on time with precision. He impacts the game defensively with his quick feet and hands at the point of attack. Knocks down open shots if the defense loses him. Generally causes fits.
Brady Lichtenberg (2021) | 6-2 SG | Toledo St. John’s
Lichtenberg is the Titans’ leading returning scorer. He will likely draw a lot of attention because of his catch-and-shoot ability. The star quarterback, however, can also attack closeouts and create shots off the bounce. Brings a sense calmness and distributes.
Tony Delvaux (2020) | 6-2 SG | Whitmer
Delvaux, transfer from Toledo Christian, projects to be Whitmer’s go-to scorer. He uses his strong body to create high-percentage shots in the shallow mid-range. Could go for 20+ on any given night if he’s focused on producing points. Looks to jump passing lanes. Secondary ball-handler.
Cameron Awls (2020) | 5-11 G | Toledo Central Catholic
Awls can do a number of things offensively — initiate offense, attack, and space the floor as a shooter. On the other end, he’s one of Toledo’s top perimeter defenders because of his speed and instincts.
Honorable Mention: Gary Batch (SJJ), Dominique Cole (CCHS), Dante’ Wheeler (Lima), Sebastian McClellan (SFS), Dimitri Mitsopoulos (SJJ), Chris Strzempka (Findlay), Kendal Marshall (CCHS), Fred Overton (CCHS)
Potential Breakout Players: Jaedyn McKinstry (SJJ), Max Roth (Findlay), Carsten Mayes (SFS), Shane Garcia (SJJ), CJ Hornbeak (SJJ), Cliron Hornbeak (SFS), Brock Makrancy (Findlay), Camren Miles (Lima), Feisel Crumby (SFS)
1. Lima Senior — If this were Vegas, there wouldn’t be a single conference game that Lima wouldn’t be favored in. Given their talent, experience, and coaching, they’re a true contender at the state level in Division I.
2. Toledo Central Catholic — The Irish should have real cohesion as they bring pretty much everyone back. Their only possible hang-up is that their two best players are point guards.
3. Toledo St. John’s — Dark horse. Ideal roster balance with a trio of forwards, a few intriguing wings, and experienced guard play.
4. Findlay — Another dark horse. They have a true star in Adams. He’s surrounded by young, athletic talent. They should enter into the driver’s seat in 2020-21.
5. Toledo St. Francis — Supersized team with a lot of roster overlap, yet talented. It will be intriguing to see how they mix and match their lineups.
7. Oregon Clay
8. Fremont Ross