2012-13 Boys Basketball capsules

LEL

Lorain High Titans

Coach: Andy Bastock

Last year: 10-11 (lost in sectional final)

Key returners: Louis Cheers (sr.), Andre Phillips (sr.), Devon Andrews (soph.)

The rundown: The Titans are a young team in their third season since merging Admiral King and Southview, returning just three varsity players from a year ago. Coach Bastock returns to his old roots with the Titans playing at the former Southview gym. He is excited about the youth on the roster coming up from a J.V. squad that went 18-2 a year ago, and is implementing a different offensive system to better suit his young talent ... Louis Cheers and Andre Phillips will provide the senior leadership on this squad.

OTHERS IN ERIE DIVISION: Bedford, Shaw, Maple Heights, Warrensville Heights.

OTHERS IN LAKE DIVISION: Cleveland Heights, Euclid, Shaker Heights, Warren Harding.

NOC

Elyria Pioneers

Coach: Brett Larrick

Last year: 14-10 (lost in regional semifinal)

Key returners: Kody Bender (sr.), Isaiah Walton (jr.), Ronnie Smith (jr.), Dontae Dukes (sr.)

The rundown: Elyria enjoyed a great postseason run highlighted by Isaiah Walton’s game-winning three against Brecksville in the district final. He and Kody Bender will lead a Pioneers team that is very strong in the backcourt. Coach Larrick wants his team to continue to play great defense and to play fast.

OTHERS IN VALLEY DIVISION: Stow, Hudson, Mentor, Solon, Twinsburg, Strongsville.

OTHERS IN RIVER DIVISION: Brunswick, Lakewood, North Royalton, Mayfield, Medina.

OTHERS IN LAKE DIVISION: Cuyahoga Falls, Brush, Normandy, Parma, Garfield Heights, Valley Forge.

PAC

Brookside Cardinals

Coach: Brent Schremp

Last year: 12-9 (lost in sectional final)

Key returners: Alex Robinson (sr.), Nathan Keith (sr.), Kelvin Jones (jr.)

The rundown: The Cardinals have plenty of size this season led by Nathan Keith at 6-foot-5 and Kelvin Jones at 6-foot-4. Alex Robinson will have to pick up some of the scoring lost with the graduation of Hunter Skolnicki if Brookside has division championship aspirations this year.

Firelands Falcons

Coach: Brett Bartlett (1st year)

Last year: 8-13 (lost in sectional semfinals)

Key returners: Joe Hyster (sr.), Nick Bauer (sr.), Brett Helton (sr.), Trevor Davis (sr.)

The rundown: Brett Bartlett, Keystone’s all-time leading scorer, stays in division and will coach the Falcons this season. Bartlett, 26, has a senior-heavy lineup in front of him including forward Joe Hyster ... Brett Helton returns to the team after not playing his junior year.

Keystone Wildcats

Coach: Jeff Holzhauer (1st year)

Last year: 16-6 (lost in sectional final)

Key returners: Adam Hopkins (sr.), Chase Robison (sr.), C.J. Conrad (soph.)

The rundown: Jeff Holzhauer steps in as Keystone’s head coach after Greg Morgan retired last season... Holzhauer will coach a very young team that graduated seven seniors from a year ago. Adam Hopkins and Chase Robison are the only two seniors on the roster.

Wellington Dukes

Coach: Dan Gundert (2nd year)

Last year: 19-4 (lost in district final)

Key returners: Dylan Weidrick (sr.), Dylan Kidd (jr.), Dave Clark (sr.)

The rundown: The Dukes are a very young team this season that needs to mature following a district runner-up season. Coach Gundert believes his team will be good at protecting the ball and not forcing turnovers, but will need to work on keeping teams off the boards ... Dylan Weidrick and Dave Clark will be the two most experienced players on the roster, but Wellington has three more seniors that have joined the team this season.

OTHERS IN STARS DIVISION: Black River, Buckeye.

Clearview Clippers

Coach: John Szalay

Last year: 8-13 (lost in sectional semifinal)

Key returners: Clifton Brown (sr.), Chad Anderson (sr.), Gerrell Williams (jr.), Eric Burkey (jr.)

The rundown: Clearview may have graduated a talented scorer in Anthony Fears, but the Clippers bring back plenty of experience to try to fill the void... Clifton Brown and Chad Anderson provide some experience on the wings and Gerrell Williams is an extremely athletic scorer who should have a bigger role. Coach Szalay wants his team to become more consistent at shooting and rebounding the ball.

Oberlin Phoenix

Coach: Kurt Russell

Last year: 14-8 (lost in sectional final)

Key returners: Jason Moore (sr.), Noland Isom (sr.), Marcus Bailey (sr.)

The rundown: Oberlin captured its first PAC title since Coach Russell’s playing days. The senior combination of Jason Moore, Noland Ison and Marcus Bailey will need to play strong in a very deep Stripes Division to win two straight division titles.

Columbia Raiders

Coach: Larry Babics

Last year: 15-7 (lost in sectional final)

Key returners: Zach Stopper (sr.), Jacob Simon (sr.), Joe Palmer (sr.), Jay Banyasz (jr.)

The rundown: Larry Babics will move from the girls team to coach the boys team at Columbia this season, and he has quite a talented group of players to work with ... seniors Zach Stopper, Jacob Simon and Joe Palmer bring back a combined 42.1 points per game back to the Raiders. Babics will bring in a new system and wants his players to improve on their half court defense.

OTHERS IN STRIPES DIVISION: Brooklyn, Lutheran West, Fairview.

SWC

Amherst Comets

Coach: John Srnis

Last year: 6-16 (lost in sectional final)

Key returners: Garrett Klekota (jr.), Nick Glowacki (sr.), Adam Srnis (soph.), Guy Schuler (sr.), Matt Kneisel (soph.)

The rundown: Coach Srnis has emphasized the team concept throughout the preseason as the Comets expect to improve on their win total from a year ago

Avon Lake Shoremen

Coach: Eric Smith

Last year: 11-11 (lost in sectional final)

Key returners: Jimmy Hessel (sr.), Brad Hamilton (jr.), Seth Much (jr.), Ben Oxley (jr.)

The rundown: Avon Lake said farewell to a pair of talented seniors in Eric Stuczynski and Brandon Murway, and bring back a very young team ... junior Brad Hamilton will likely be a go-to offensive option after emerging as the third option a year ago behind Stuczynski and Murway.

Westlake Demons

Coach: Shaun Hood (2nd year)

Last year: 19-3 (lost in district semifinal)

Key returners: Bryan Mackenzie (sr.), Shawn Turk (sr.), Jamie Lackner (sr.), Gavin Skelly (jr.)

The rundown: Shaun Hood’s first season in Westlake was an outstanding year that saw the Demons share an SWC championship, and they are out for more this year. The Demons return their two top scorers in Bryan Mackenzie and Shawn Turk, as well as outstanding seniors Jamie Lackner and Danny Strodtbeck... junior Gavin Skelly at 6-foot-7 has the ability to defend and score in the paint as well as hit the outside jumper.

OTHERS IN SWC: Midpark, Berea, Brecksville, Midpark, North Olmsted, Olmsted Falls.

WSC

Avon Eagles

Coach: Kevin Sapara (1st year)

Last year: 13-8 (lost in sectional semifinal)

Key returners: Jack Poyle (sr.), AJ Kister (sr.), Matt Lawrence (sr.), Ralph Smith (sr.)

The rundown: Kevin Sapara takes over the helm at Avon after Jim Baker retired a year ago. He brings in a solid squad led by a good group of seniors. Jack Poyle will be counted on as the leading scorer this season after averaging eight points a game last year.

Bay Rockets

Coach: Jason Frolo

Last year: 10-13 (lost in district semifinal)

Key returners: Scott Rapps (sr.), Sam Strauss (sr.), Ryan Voiers (sr.), Craig Linder (sr.)

The rundown: Despite struggling in the regular season last year, Bay came on strong with a great run in the postseason a year ago. The Rockets are very senior-laden with eight seniors returning from last year’s squad ... Scott Rapps, Sam Strauss and Ryan Voiers all received all-West Shore Conference accolades, with Rapps being named second-team All-WSC.

Elyria Catholic Panthers

Coach: Jason Smith

Last year: 9-11 (lost in sectional semifinal)

Key returners: Tyler Riddell (sr.), Danny Whitacre (sr.), Cory Strasko (sr.)

The rundown: Jason Smith will fill in for coach Phil Kuchta who will not coach this season, but the Panthers have a bigger void to fill because center Jeremy Holley will miss the entire season due to a broken leg he sustained during football season. Riddell and Whitacre are a potent scoring combination, but will need to step up to carry the Panthers this season.

Midview Middies

Coach: Troy DiFranco (16th year)

Last year: 19-4 (lost in district final)

Key returners: Steven Gott (sr.), Devin Dombrowski (sr.)

The rundown: Midview reached its first district final last year, but graduated a lot of players from that team and will have a very young squad this year. Steven Gott and Devin Dombrowski will have to step up as leaders for the young Middies.

North Ridgeville Rangers

Coach: Bryan Morgan (1st year)

Last year: 1-20 (lost in sectional semifinal)

Key returners: Nate Inal, Matt Clark, Nolan Freeman, Bailey Gannon

The rundown: Bryan Morgan takes over for Bill Noggle as head coach and brings with him a prior history of turning teams around as he did at Black River from 2007-10... Morgan will bring an up-tempo offense to a North Ridgeville team that only won one game last season.

Vermilion Sailors

Coach: Kurt Habermehl (14th year)

Last year: 5-16 (lost in sectional final)

Key returners: Cameron Kuhn (jr.), Anthony Rini (sr.), Forrest Boyd (jr.), Ryan Miller (sr.)

The rundown: The Sailors have a fairly experienced team returning this season, including nine players who started at least one game last season... Cameron Kuhn is the go-to guy for Vermilion after averaging 18 ppg as a sophomore. Anthony Rini and Ryan Miller provide addition senior leadership in the backcourt.

OTHERS IN WSC: Lakewood, Rocky River.

FC

Monroeville Eagles

Coach: Zac Reer

Last year: 4-17 (lost in sectional semifinal)

Key returners: Rick Heck (jr.), Austin Kramer (jr.), Ryan Sweet (sr.)

The rundown: Monroeville will look to its junior combination of Rick Heck and Austin Kramer to build off of solid sophomore campaigns as it hopes to become a tougher team in the FC. Coach Reer feels his team needs to be more consistent on offense, especially at the perimeter.

New London Wildcats

Coach: Tom Howell

Last year: 20-4 (lost in regional semifinal)

Key returners: Dane Held (sr.), Cory Smith (sr.), Luke Shays (sr.), Josh Dillard (sr.)

The rundown: New London finished last season on an amazing run, winning 16 straight games and a conference championship and its first district championship since 1992 along the way... Coach Howell returns a very good backcourt led by senior Dane Held, who averaged over 15 ppg, and scored 14 in last year’s district final win over Millbury Lake. Rebounding well is going to be a big key for New London because the Wildcats are a small team.

St. Paul Flyers

Coach: Mike Smith (24th year)

Last year: 8-14

Key returners: Sal Sortino (sr.), Connor Smith (sr.), Michael Griffin (sr.), Bob Harwood (jr.)

The rundown: Led by senior guard Sal Sortino, the Flyers return four starters and six letterwinners overall to the roster. St. Paul has plenty of size on its roster in the form of 6-foot-4 Michael Griffin and 6-foot-5 junior Bob Harwood... The Flyers face a very tough schedule including games against Perkins, St. Mary and Willard.

WR Roughriders

Coach: Chris Sheldon (11th year)

Last year: 15-7 (lost in district semifinal)

Key returners: Willie Roth (sr.), Kevin Boose (sr.), Nate Good (jr.), Nate Ash (sr.)

The rundown: The Roughriders graduated star guard Nolan Todd, but bring back plenty of talent to try to bring another conference championship back to Collins. Willie Roth and Kevin Boose will lead the backcourt, but Coach Sheldon is expecting Nate Good to have a big junior season because of his big play ability.

OTHERS IN FC: Crestview, Mapleton, Plymouth, South Central.

SBC

Edison Chargers

Coach: Shayne Fischer

Last year: 1-20 (lost in sectional semifinal)

Key returners: Shane Crooks (sr.), Tommy Gerbracht (sr.), Luke Frankboner (jr.)

The rundown: Edison struggled a year ago, and first-time head coach Shayne Fischer will try to rebuild in Edison. He does have a solid group of veteran players led by seniors Shane Crooks and Tommy Gerbracht ... The Chargers will try to exploit the size advantage 6-foot-8 junior Luke Frankboner has in their offense.

Huron Tigers

Coach: Bobby James

Last year: 14-8 (lost in sectional final)

Key returners: Aaron Casey, Cody Thompson, Colin McCready, Jake Justus

The rundown: Huron may have had an early exit from the postseason, but had another good year with 14 wins in the regular season. Coach James brings back plenty of balanced scoring led by Aaron Casey, Colin McCready, Jake Justus and Cody Thompson... James wants his team to play much tougher defensively.

Perkins Pirates

Coach: Scott McVeigh

Last year: 23-3 (lost in regional final)

Key returners: Brandon Smith (sr.), Nic Williams (jr.), David Doster (jr.), Mitchell Benkey (sr.)

The rundown: Perkins had its best season in school history reaching its first regional final. The Pirates lose center Michael Ebert, but return a very talented wing combination of Brandon Smith and Nic Williams, who are expected to put up big numbers each... Perkins faces a difficult schedule including playing Norwalk twice and road trips to Perrysburg and Bay.

St. Mary Panthers

Coach: Lyle Falknor

Last year: 14-10 (lost in district final)

Key returners: Ryan Myers (sr.), Denarius Harris (jr.), Jack Milkie (sr.)

The rundown: The Panthers reached the district final last season, but fell short in a double-overtime loss to Colonel Crawford. Coach Falknor lost three starters from that team but likes the potential he has in his new starters. Led by Denarius Harris, Ryan Myers and Jack Milkie, St. Mary will play a faster, more up-tempo game this season.

OTHERS IN SBC: Clyde, Margaretta, Oak Harbor, Port Clinton.

NOL

Norwalk Truckers

Coach: Steve Gray

Last year: 23-1 (lost in regional semifinal)

Key returners: Jake Fetherolf (sr.), Damius Peacock (sr.), Jeff Thomas (jr.), Ben Haraway (jr.)

The rundown: Coach Gray’s Truckers had an outstanding 2011-12 season, capturing their first district title and back-to-back NOL championships for the first time in over 50 years while starting 23-0...Norwalk may be even better this season after graduating just two seniors. Jeff Thomas and Ben Haraway will each need to build on their spectacular sophomore seasons.

Sandusky Blue Streaks

Coach: Bobby Langdon

Last year: 10-12 (lost in sectional final)

Key returners: Martell Moore (sr.), Dmaja Jordan (sr.), Lucas Will (jr.)

The rundown: The Blue Streaks are going through a major transition year with the departure of former coach Steve Keller and losing nine seniors. Bobby Langdon only returns a handful of players with varsity experience this season.

OTHERS IN NOL: Willard, Bellevue, Shelby, Tiffin Columbian.

NEOL

Lake Ridge Lions

Coach: Bernie Clark

Last year: 9-9

Key returners: Devin Gabriel (sr.), Jay O’Neill (sr.), Scott Chriss (soph.), Chris Miller (soph.)

The rundown: Four starters are back for Coach Clark and the Lions, including Devin Gabriel who was Lorain County’s Division IV Player of the Year after averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds per game... the Lions have a difficult non-conference slate including games against Columbia, Cuyahoga Heights and Clearview. Lake Ridge begins play in the brand new Northeast Ohio League.

Independents

First Baptist Sabres

Coach: Paul Schotz (3rd year)

Last year: 8-17

Key returners: Luke Parker (sr.), Weston Mitchell (sr.), Chase Parker (soph.), Chad Parker (soph.)

The rundown: Senior Luke Parker, who averaged 16.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last year, leads the Sabres in search of a .500 record this season. Coach Schotz wants his team to continue to improve on rebounding and not turning the ball over.

Open Door Patriots

Coach: Todd Wright

Last year: 3-18 (lost in sectional semifinal)

Key returners: Jordan Wright (sr.), Connor Hardt (sr.), Nick Cipriano (sr.), Danny Stintsman (soph.)

The rundown: The Patriots may have struggled last season, but coach Todd Wright believes the future is bright at Open Door. The team consists of three seniors, led by top returning scorer Connor Hardt, and seven sophomores ... Wright feels he can soon field a starting five all over 6-foot-1.

@Bielik_Tim

Last Updated: 11/24/2012 9:17:22 PM EST

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