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Boys and girls basketball previews for the 2019-20 season December 2019

A special publication of the Steubenville Herald-Star and Weirton Daily Times


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VISIT TOUR CONNECT Schedule a Visit westliberty.edu/visit

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

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—INDEX—

Steubenville Weir High Catholic Central Madonna Indian Creek Brooke Edison Oak Glen Toronto Harrison Central Buckeye Local

Boys Girls 4 22 5 23 6 24 7 25 8 26 9 27 10 28 11 29 12 30 13 31 14 32

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By ED LOOMAN For Inside The Paint

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STEUBENVILLE BIG RED

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

STEUBENVILLE — Veteran head coach Mike Haney prefers to use the word reloading — not rebuilding when discussing his 2019-20 Steubenville Big Red boys basketball team. Haney, who’s entering his 12th season as the Big Red boys bench boss, guided his 2018-19 squad to a 19-6 record. Steubenville advanced to the Division II regionals where it fell to Sheridan. In addition, Big Red earned a spot in the OVAC Class 5A final four. Nine key members of that team picked up their diplomas last spring. “I guess you never really want to use the word rebuilding — you hope to just reload,” Haney said. “We had a successful junior varsity team last season, and we are looking to build on that. We lost a quality group of seniors, See BIG RED Page 15 ➪ Dec. 6..........................................................at Catholic Central Dec. 10.......................................................................at Brooke Dec. 13.................................................................at Cambridge Dec. 17.........................................................................Minerva Dec. 21............................................. Buckeye 8 Challenge, TBA Dec. 27...............................................................East Liverpool Dec. 28................................................Martins Ferry, 5:30 p.m. Jan. 3............................................................. at Meadowbrook

Jan. 4............................................................Brooke, 1:30 p.m. Jan. 7................................................................Wheeling Park Jan. 10.............................................................Catholic Central Jan. 14.......................................................at New Philadelphia Jan. 21.................................................................St. Clairsville Jan. 24...........................................................at East Liverpool Jan. 28..............................................................at Indian Creek Jan. 31......................................................................Weir High

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Feb. 1...................................................at Morgantown, 11 a.m. Feb. 4.........................................................at Harrison Central Feb. 11...................................................OVAC semifinals, TBA Feb. 14................................................OVAC consolations, TBA Feb. 15..........................................................OVAC finals, TBA Feb. 18.......................................................................at Edison All games at 7 p.m. unless noted

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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

By RALPH COX For Inside The Paint

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WEIR HIGH RED RIDERS

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WEIRTON — Basketball definitely is on the rebound at Weir High (no pun intended). During the 2018-19 campaign, all of the boys basketball teams in the middle and high schools had winning records for the first time in many years. The varsity finished at 15-9 and won the first sectional game, before bowing to powerful Fairmont Senior, which finished as the Class AA state runner-up. “I’m hoping that success breeds success,” said veteran coach Mike Granato, who will be in his 21st season as head coach of the Red Riders. “We want to win again at all the levels because I want the kids to get an understanding of what it takes to win. While we didn’t have winning records before last year over a span from about 2011, we alSee RIDERS Page 17 ➪ Dec. 10........................................................................Oak Glen Dec. 14............................................................ at John Marshall Dec. 18....................................................................at Madonna Dec. 20............................................................................ Linsly Dec. 28................................................at East Fairmont, 6 p.m. Jan. 4................................................... at Burgettstown, 5 p.m. Jan. 7................................................................... Indian Creek Jan. 10........................................................................Madonna

Jan. 14....................................................................... at Edison Jan. 17........................................................................... Brooke Jan. 18..................................................at North Marion, 6 p.m. Jan. 21....................................................................at Oak Glen Jan. 24.............................................................. at Indian Creek Jan. 28........................................................................... Edison Jan. 30...................................................... at Steubenville, TBA Feb. 1.......................................................North Marion, 6 p.m.

Feb. 7........................................................................ at Brooke Feb. 11............................................................................ OVAC Feb. 14............................................................................ OVAC Feb. 19................................................................ John Marshall Feb. 21............................................................... East Fairmont Feb. 22........................................................................ at Linsly All games at 7 p.m. unless noted

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CATHOLIC CENTRAL CRUSADERS WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

By ED LOOMAN

For Inside The Paint

STEUBENVILLE — Don Ogden is one grateful guy, as he enters his first season as Catholic Central’s boys basketball coach. “For the past two seasons, I’ve sat on the bench during games as an assistant coach — that made me realize I needed to get back into head coaching,” said Ogden, who spent 12 seasons with the Madonna girls program, nine as the head coach. “This is where I am most comfortable, and I believe it’s where I fit. “It’s great to get this opportunity. I am so grateful to the CCHS administration and Athletic Director Vince Oliver. The whole Central community has been very supportive in welcoming me to this position. I’m looking forward to a great partnership going forward.” See CRUSADERS Page 19 ➪ Nov. 30............................................................... Tusky Central Dec. 3................................................................... at Shadyside Dec. 6.................................................................... Steubenville Dec. 10........................................................... at Southern Local Dec. 13............................................................................. River Dec. 17................................................................ at Barnesville Dec. 20............................................................ Trinity Christian Dec. 21...........................................................at Madonna, noon

Dec. 27.............................................................. at Brooke, TBA Dec. 28.............................................................. at Brooke, TBA Jan. 3........................................................................... Toronto Jan. 7..................................................................... Barnesville Jan. 10............................................................... at Steubenville Jan. 14...................................................................... at Toronto Jan. 17........................................................................Madonna Jan. 21....................................................................... at Edison

Jan. 24..........................................................................Bellaire Jan. 31......................................................................... at River Feb. 4....................................................................... Shadyside Feb. 7.......................................................................at Bellaire Feb. 21........................................................... at Buckeye Local All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

MADONNA BLUE DONS

By RALPH COX For Inside The Paint

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WEIRTON — The Madonna boys basketball team this year is a blend of the old and the young. The old is the return of head coach of George Vargo, 67, who spent 21 years coaching the Blue Dons until he left to pursue his dream of coaching at the collegiate level. During that tenure, he had much success with winning records almost every year, a state championship and many trips deep into the playoffs. The young is his basketball team, which supplies only three seniors, two juniors, 11 sophomores and one freshman. Fortunately for Vargo, two of the three seniors were the leading scorers from a year ago, and one of the juniors has been a starter the past two seasons and scored at nearly a double-digit rate last year. “We have a good founSee DONS Page 19 ➪ Dec. 13............................................................................Valley Jan. 10..................................................................at Weir High Dec. 14......................................................... at Conotton Valley Jan. 17.........................................................at Catholic Central Dec. 18......................................................................Weir High Jan. 21..................................................................... Beallsville IN STOCK Dec. 21.............................................Catholic Central, 1:30 p.m. Jan. 22......................................................................at Toronto Dec. 27....................................................................... Oak •Glen Jan. 25.......................................................... at Magnolia, TBA BIRD SEED Jan. 3.................................................................. at Beallsville Jan. 28................................................................... at Oak Glen Jan. 4......................................................................... Hundred Jan. 31..........................................................................Toronto • CRACKED & Jan. 7............................................................................Trinity Feb. 4.....................................................................at Cameron

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By JOE CATULLO For Inside The Paint

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INDIAN CREEK REDSKINS

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

WINTERSVILLE — Head coach Joe Dunlevy dislikes the word young when previewing one of his basketball teams. He’s coached basketball for 35 years and is entering is 27th with the Redskins. He believes young is just an excuse coaches use for possibly rough seasons. Instead, he’s calling his 2019-20 squad “inexperienced with an ampful amount of playing time coming.” “I’ve said a few years back about a team that had a lot of new faces. We felt like we were going to be good eventually,” Dunlevy said. “I don’t know what eventually is going to happen, but that’s our goal. It’s a good group of kids who work really hard, and they get better every day. We have a long way to go, though. “In some instances, it’s See REDSKINS Page 20 ➪ Nov. 27.......................................................at Harrison Central Dec. 3................................................................ Buckeye Local Dec. 6.......................................................................at Toronto Dec. 10.......................................................................at Edison Dec. 13................................................................. Beaver Local Dec. 17...........................................................at East Liverpool Dec. 20................................................................Martins Ferry Dec. 23.............................................................at St. Clairsville

Jan. 3............................................................ at Buckeye Local Jan. 7...................................................................at Weir High Jan. 10...........................................................................Edison Jan. 14............................................................. at Beaver Local Jan. 17...............................................................East Liverpool Jan. 24......................................................................Weir High Jan. 28...................................................................Steubenville Jan. 31.......................................................................at Brooke

Feb. 1.............................................................. Buckeye 8, TBA Feb. 4...........................................................................Toronto Feb. 7.............................................................Harrison Central Feb. 11...................................................OVAC semifinals, TBA Feb. 14..........................................................OVAC finals, TBA Feb. 21...........................................................................Brooke All games at 7 p.m. unless noted

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By RALPH COX For Inside The Paint WELLSBURG — The 2018-19 boys basketball season was a long one. The Bruins won only three of their 23 games and struggled to even stay in games. Second-year coach Mel Coleman is expecting improvement this year for a couple of reasons. The first one is that this year’s edition is familiar with Coleman’s program, and he is familiar with them. The other is that he feels the 2019-20 Bruins will be quicker, faster, stronger, better conditioned and have improved offensive skills especially shooting. However, as he has done throughout his 30plus years of coaching high school and college basketball, defense will be one of the keys. Coleman expects that the quickness and speed of this year’s team will make it able to play his style of pressure defense, force turnovers and score in transition. “We played a lot of zone defense last year, but we’ll play man almost exclusively this year,” said the veteran coach. “We want to play pressure defense, get rebounds and push the ball down to the offensive zone. We want to box out and go get the ball. We want to bang the boards.” That being said, Coleman admits his team

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BROOKE BRUINS

isn’t very big and he hopes that the defense shows up. Defense will be the emphasis this year. He has a nucleus of six letterwinners returning, but only one (senior Alex Lilly) was a starter throughout the season. Another senior, Dylan Silver, and junior Andrew Coursin saw spot duty as starters. The other lettermen include senior Nick Brown and

Dec. 10................................................................... Steubenville Dec. 13....................................................................at Oak Glen Dec. 20................................................................ John Marshall Dec. 23............................................................ Harrison Central Dec. 27..............................................Holiday Tournament, TBA Dec. 28..............................................Holiday Tournament, TBA Jan. 2................................................................ Wheeling Park Jan. 4....................................................... at Steubenville, noon

juniors Dalton Anderson and Blaise Buchmelter. Coursin, at 6-feet-4, is the tallest of the Bruins and is expected to do a lot of the hard work inside. Other inside players that Coleman will be counting upon are Brody McCombs (6-2) and sophomore Alex Isinghood (6-2). McCombs, who played on the Bruin football team, is out for basketball for the first time, but Coleman ex-

pects him to be a force on the inside with his strength and bulk. Coleman expects scoring also will come from sophomore Ryan Knox, Buchmelter, Lilly and sophomore Cole Sperlazza. Sperlazza, Buchmelter and Knox are battling to be the point guard, and Coleman said each could start at times depending upon the opposition. He said each

Jan. 7.............................................................. at St. Clairsville Jan. 8............................................................. at John Marshall Jan. 11.......................................................at Union Local, TBA Jan. 14........................................................................Oak Glen Jan. 17.................................................................. at Weir High Jan. 18............................................... at Harrison Central, TBA Jan. 21........................................................... at Wheeling Park Jan. 28................................................................... Union Local

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brings his own brand of play to the mix. Junior Aaron Scipio, whom Coleman labels and excellent athlete, suffered an injury during the Bruin football season and will not be available to play basketball until possibly late December. Junior Tristan Popisch also is battling for playing time on the inside. “We did pretty well in the Wheeling summer

league, and we participated in two shootouts during the off season,” Coleman said. “The kids are learning and gaining experience there, and I think that action has instilled in them an attitude to do better. Coleman has 11 players on the jayvee team and another 15 boys on the freshman squad. He said both of those squads are talented and athletic as is a group of eighth-graders at the Brooke Middle School. “We want to keep those groups playing together as much as we can so they can develop together and we’ll have strength each season,” Coleman said. Brooke also has added a strength and conditioning coach. He is Chandler Daniels from Duquesne University. He comes to Brooke two days a week and works with all the athletes, male and female. “Our basketball players have been working with him since October, and I can see already improvement in our strength and conditioning,” Coleman said. “I expect bigger things from this team than we had last year. The kids have good attitudes and all the repetition has given them an understanding of our system. They seem more hungry and are adapting to situations. They are becoming better. But, it takes work, work and a lot of hard work.”

Jan. 31.................................................................. Indian Creek Feb. 4.................................................................. St. Clairsville Feb. 7....................................................................... Weir High Feb. 11....................................................................OVAC, TBA Feb. 14............................................................................ OVAC Feb. 21.............................................................. at Indian Creek All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


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By AARON PETCHAL For Inside The Paint RICHMOND — The Edison boys basketball team will have a new look this season. The Wildcats ended last season with a record of 7-17, including a 7033 loss at Meadowbrook in an Division III Eastern District sectional final. Edison advanced to that game by defeating Bridgeport, 57-23, in the semifinals at home. “Seven was not enough wins,” Edison head coach Nate Moses said. Speaking of seven, that’s how many seniors Edison lost. They are Anthony Sinicropi, Gage Robinson, Zac Easter, Bryce McAfoose, Isaac Schmitz, Brennan Scott and Andrew Kinney. “Any time you lose seven seniors who played as much as they did, it is not going to be easy to replace them, but we have the kids who are able to do that,” Moses said. Following their loss to the Colts, the Wildcats shifted their focus to this season. “It is hard to look back,” Moses said. “You reflect on it. When the season ended, we recognized we did not have the season we wanted to have. After that loss, we looked to the future, and that future is now. That was what our motto was, and that is what it had to be.” The cupboard is not

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EDISON WILDCATS

bare this season. The Wildcats have 21 kids in the program, but only two of those are returning lettermen. “I think anywhere from eight to 14 kids could see varsity time throughout the season,” Moses said. “Anything can happen. We are going to have to replace kids. We are going to have different lineups, and kids are going to have opportunities this season.”

Dec. 3................................................................ East Liverpool Dec. 6............................................................ at Buckeye Local Dec. 10.................................................................. Indian Creek Dec. 14............................................................... Southern Local Dec. 17............................................................. at Beaver Local Dec. 21.......................................................................... Toronto Dec. 27............................................................. at Toronto, TBA Dec. 28............................................................. at Toronto, TBA

The Wildcats have six seniors, with two lettering last season in Alec McBane (guard) and Andrew Pugh (forward). “We are going to rely on them, especially early on,” Moses said. “They are guys who have been here. They have played the last three years. They have played since they were sophomores.” The other seniors are Noah Woods (forward), Alex Mayle (forward), Logan Hanchin (for-

ward) and Zac Fluharty (forward). “Noah Woods is a great athlete,” Moses said. “He came out his junior year. He came out late. He played a lot of JV. Alex Mayle was hurt his whole junior year. Loagn Hanchin is another good athlete. He is a football player. Zac Fluharty is another big man. He played early. He came out last year. “It is a unique situation. Alec and Andrew

Jan. 3............................................................ at East Liverpool Jan. 7................................................................ Buckeye Local Jan. 10.............................................................. at Indian Creek Jan. 14...................................................................... Weir High Jan. 17................................................................. Beaver Local Jan. 21............................................................. Catholic Central Jan. 24...................................................................... at Toronto Jan. 25................................................................... Union Local

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

have played all four be counting on some years. We are going to sophomores and freshdo the best we can. It is men to contribute on the a little different. Nor- court. mally when you have six “We have some freshseniors, you have guys men who are going to who have played togeth- have to play,” Moses er all four years. That is said. “They are going to not the case for us this have their moments on season.” the court. It is going to The juniors are be exciting to see. It is Jayden Sanders (guard) going to be exciting to and Blake Connelly see the maturation pro(guard). Both players cess. They are going to are going to see time in be thrown into the fire. the backcourt. It is going to be exciting The Wildcats also will See WILDCATS Page 18 ➪ Jan. 28.................................................................. at Weir High Feb. 1.............................................................. Buckeye 8, TBA Feb. 11....................................................................OVAC, TBA Feb. 14....................................................................OVAC, TBA Feb. 18................................................................... Steubenville NOTE: Edison will be at Ridgewood in January All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

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OAK GLEN GOLDEN BEARS

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By ANDREW GRIMM For Inside the Paint

NEW MANCHESTER — There are three key points of focus for the Oak Glen boys basketball team as it prepares for the season. “We just want to get them to play together, play hard and have fun,” Golden Bears head coach Jerry Everly said. “Those are the three things we talk about in practice every day. The wins and losses will take care of themselves if we try to be the best team we can be. If we play hard, play together and have fun, it’ll be a successful season. Then, you see where you are at the end of year and let the chips fall where they may.” Last season, Everly’s group went 16-6, one of the best records in school history, to earn a home tournament game. It ultimately lost to North Marion in that game. In the previous two seasons, the Golden Bears have a combined 30 wins and qualified for the OVAC Class 4A tournament in each. With that success, Everly and company beefed up the schedule to prepare for sectional time. “We have a tough schedule. Teams that are really good were calling us because they wanted to play us because we have had some success,” he said. “We had the second most

wins in school history last year, 14 wins and a 12-game winning streak the year before that, made the OVAC playoffs two years in a row, and teams like Wheeling Park and Wheeling Central wanted to play us. We play in the Big 8 challenge against St. Clairsville at Ohio University Eastern. We play North Marion and East Fairmont from our section. Those are two really good teams. We

Dec. 10.................................................................. at Weir High Dec. 12................................................................ John Marshall Dec. 13........................................................................... Brooke Dec. 21............................................................. at St. Clairsville Dec. 27....................................................................at Madonna Dec. 28................................................Buckeye Trail at Toronto Jan. 2.............................................................Wheeling Central Jan. 4........................................................................ Wellsville

play East Liverpool, who is tough. Then, of course, we have Weir High, and they are always a good team. We open at Weir, and they aren’t going to take it easy on us. “We play a tough schedule to prepare us for the end of the year when we play our sectional games. Hopefully, that helps us. The guys will have been through some challenges. Those are battle-tested teams

that will show us where we’re at.” From the group that racked up 30 wins, Oak Glen had six key departures. Ethan Travis and Sean Smith both moved on to the next level to play for Wayesburg University, while the four other graduated seniors were Jarrett Gittings, the team’s top 3-point shooter, Wyatt Wiley, who led the team in steals, Alex Staub and Jay Aloria.

Jan. 7........................................................................... Toronto Jan. 11....................................................................Shenandoah Jan. 14....................................................................... at Brooke Jan. 15........................................................................ at Linsly Jan. 21...................................................................... Weir High Jan. 25............................................................. at North Marion Jan. 28........................................................................Madonna Jan. 31................................................................... at Wellsville

“We went and saw them play at Waynesburg a couple of weeks ago. He is there with Sean Smith,” Everly said. “We’re replacing six seniors and four starters. We’re replacing a lot.” Even with the departures, the Golden Bears do have talent coming back. Gage Patterson and Blake Perez will be at point guard, while Jacob Clark will play

inside and Zach Taylor at forward. Jontae Howard looks to play a big role after a strong showing with the jayvee team last season and a big season with his AAU team. Also expected to be on the varsity roster are Brayden Mineard, Kaleb Dailey, Konnor Allison and Jeremy Taylor. “Those guys have played with us all summer and are excited to See BEARS Page 20 ➪

Feb. 4............................................................ at East Liverpool Feb. 8................................................................ East Fairmont Feb. 11....................................................................OVAC, TBA Feb. 14....................................................................OVAC, TBA Feb. 18............................................................... Wheeling Park Feb. 27............................................................ at John Marshall All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


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By AARON PETCHAL For Inside The Paint

TORONTO RED KNIGHTS

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

TORONTO — The Toronto boys basketball team has replaced speed with size. Last season, the Red Knights finished with a record of 21-3, but their year came to an end in a 58-52 upset loss to Malvern in a Division IV Eastern District sectional final. Toronto defeated Frontier, 54-39, in the semifinals to advance to the game against the Hornets. Toronto loses five seniors from last year’s team. They are Nate Karaffa, Kobe Herrick, Trent Wright, Nick Sninchak and Trillion West. Karaffa, Toronto’s outstanding senior guard, was named the District 5 Basketball Coaches Association Division IV player of the year and the Eastern District Division IV co-player of the year, along with Hiland’s Kendall Hochstetler. See KNIGHTS Page 17 ➪ Nov. 29.................................................................... at Malvern Dec. 3........................................................... at Monroe Central Dec. 6................................................................... Indian Creek Dec. 10....................................................................... Wellsville Dec. 17................................................................ Martins Ferry Dec. 21....................................................................... at Edison Dec. 23........................................................... at Buckeye Local Dec. 27......................................................................... Frontier

Dec. 28....................................................Chesapeake, 2:30 p.m. Dec. 30.............................................................. Monroe Central Jan. 3.......................................................... at Catholic Central Jan. 7.....................................................................at Oak Glen Jan. 11................................................................... at Wellsville Jan. 14............................................................. Catholic Central Jan. 21............................................................... Buckeye Local Jan. 22........................................................................Madonna

Jan. 24........................................................................... Edison Jan. 31....................................................................at Madonna Feb. 4............................................................... at Indian Creek Feb. 11....................................................................OVAC, TBA Feb. 15....................................................................OVAC, TBA Feb. 18............................................................ at Martins Ferry All games at 7 p.m. unless noted

GOOD LUCK

Toronto Red Knights

From Students, Staff & Administration of Toronto City Schools


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

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HARRISON CENTRAL HUSKIES

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By ANDREW GRIMM For Inside the Paint

CADIZ — Not every team has the luxury of knowing it has an all-state player coming back, yet alone for two more seasons. Harrison Central, though, indeed does with standout multisport star Kobe Mitchell. Mitchell, now a junior, was a second-team All-Ohio selection and the East District Division II player of the year for his efforts during his sophomore campaign. He averaged 25.5 points per game. “It’s always a good place to start when you’ve got a guy like him. He pretty much speaks for himself,” Harrison Central head coach Justin Clifford said. “He’s got 1,000 points already in two years. He’s a good kid and a hard worker. He get what he deserves. He puts the time in, and that’s why he is as good as he his.

“I think the sky is the limit for him in any sport, but he loves the

Nov. 27................................................................. Indian Creek Dec. 6.......................................................................at Bellaire Dec. 10................................................................ Martins Ferry Dec. 13............................................................. at St. Clairsville Dec. 17................................................................... Union Local Dec. 21..................................................Dublin Scioto, 7:45 p.m. Dec. 23....................................................................... at Brooke Dec. 27.................................................................... at Marietta

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Jan. 4...................................................................... at Minerva Jan. 7...........................................................................Bellaire Jan. 10............................................................ at Martins Ferry Jan. 14................................................................. St. Clairsville Jan. 17............................................................... at Union Local Jan. 18........................................................................... Brooke Jan. 30............................................................... Buckeye Local Feb. 1.............................................................. Buckeye 8, TBA

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Feb. 4.................................................................... Steubenville Feb. 7............................................................... at Indian Creek Feb. 11............................................................................ OVAC Feb. 15................................................................OVAC, 10 a.m. Feb. 18........................................................... at East Liverpool Feb. 21........................................................................Garaway All games at 7 p.m. unless noted

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BUCKEYE LOCAL PANTHERS

By ANDREW GRIMM For Inside the Paint CONNORVILLE — After a building year for the program during the first season under Chris Heaton, the Buckeye Local boys basketball team has a lot of experience coming back. Now that the head coach and a core of young talent have a season together under their belts, the goal is to make that experience show on the hardwood. “We have 11 lettermen coming back. I don’t know of too many team ever that can say they

have 11 lettermen coming back, so I’m excited about what this season has to offer for us,” Heaton said. “The sky is the limit for us, but we can’t plan on potential. We have to work hard. Two things we’ve been stressing have been effort and execution. If we can maximize our potential based upon that, we’ll be in pretty good shape. “We went through a ton of growing pains, especially when at times we had three or four freshmen out there. The rest were sophomores and juniors. It was a learning experience. You learn to

Dec. 3...............................................................at Indian Creek Dec. 6............................................................................Edison Dec. 10............................................................. at Beaver Local Dec. 13...............................................................East Liverpool Dec. 17..............................................................Monroe Central Dec. 20..................................................................... at Bellaire Dec. 23..........................................................................Toronto Dec. 27............................................................... at Union Local

work with the kids and get better every day. You just move on and take it one day at a time.” Buckeye Local went 3-20 last season and lost to a tough Garaway squad in the sectional tournament. The Panthers only lost a pair of seniors in Stevie Roberts (2.9 points per game) and Owen Long (1.6 points per game), meaning they return a most of last year’s group, including all four of their leading scorers from a season ago. “That’s the one thing that is exciting me the most is we’ll have a lot of depth this year,” Hea-

ton said. “Not only do we have five seniors, but we also have five juniors that can play, and we have four sophomores that can play in the varsity lineup. One-through-14, I think we have guys that I think can play in any game at any moment, so that is what really excites me.” Those five seniors are Jacob Moffo (a three-year letterwinner and starter who averaged 3.7 points per game), Dalton Watt (two points per game), Lance Novak (1.4 points per game), Jacob Pielech (2.1 points per game) and Josh Kinyo. “It all starts with our

Jan. 3...................................................................Indian Creek Jan. 7........................................................................at Edison Jan. 10................................................................. Beaver Local Jan. 14...........................................................at East Liverpool Jan. 17.....................................................................Bridgeport Jan. 21......................................................................at Toronto Jan. 24............................................................at Martins Ferry Jan. 28.................................................................... Barnesville

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

seniors,” Heaton said. rah brothers, Hunter and The junior group is led Luke, both of whom averby three returning letter- aged 5.9 points per game men in Cameron Grabits as freshmen a season (5.4 points per game), Ma- ago. They also were the son Brown (3.9 points per team’s leading reboundgame) and Jake Mayle ers, both averaging about (5.5 points per game). five per game. “All three of them had “It all starts with those time as starters last year two in the middle,” Heaand gave us good min- ton said. utes.,” Heaton said. Ethan McHugh and Jacob Zanes and Cameron Best also will Hayden Taylor, a trans- be sophomores that are fer from Big Red, also in the mix for playing are a part of the junior time. mix. “They saw a little bit The two leading scor- of time last year,” Heaers returning for the ton said of the duo. “I’m Panthers are in the soph- excited about what those omore group in the form of the tall, athletic Dar- See PANTHERS Page 39 ➪ Jan. 30........................................................at Harrison Central Feb. 1.............................................................. Buckeye 8, TBA Feb. 4..................................................................at Bridgeport Feb. 11................................................................... OVAC, TBA Feb. 14................................................................... OVAC, TBA Feb. 21.............................................................Catholic Central All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

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Big Red and those guys led us to an outstanding season. “The guys we have playing at the varsity level now are gym rats. They’re always in the gym, they didn’t miss any open gym sessions and they’re in the gym shooting all the time. We have a really good group of guys who just like to play basketball.” Gone from Haney’s program are Josh Zimmerman, James Roundtree IV, Jorian Jones, Ryan Rauch, Nico Bracone, Jacob Clevenger, Ethan Duggan, Carlo Biasi and Jordan Wallace. Zimmerman was a firstteam All-Eastern District selection, and Roundtree landed on the second team. Between them, they averaged 28 points per game. “Josh is playing at Franciscan University, and Jorian earned a track scholarship from William Penn University in Iowa and also is playing basketball,” Haney said. “James went to Iowa Central Community College and is redshirting this year. It’s real-

ly the first time in a long time that we’ve had three guys go somewhere to continue their basketball careers.” Senior Calvin Bickerstaff, a 6-foot-4 forward, is Haney’s lone returning starter. Bickerstaff, who recently signed his letter of intent to continue his baseball and academic careers at Kent State University, earned special mention all-district honors as a junior. “Calvin is a three-year starter for us, so we’ll definitely be counting on him to have a solid senior season,” Haney said. “He can be a force inside with his height. He runs the floor well and plays outstanding defense.” Other returning seniors are guards Trillyun Jones and Micah Krause. Haney also expects senior Randy Mitchell, who had an outstanding season with Big Red’s football team, to join his club. “Trillyun started about half of our games last year, and he really came through with some big shots for us,” Haney said. “He is an outstanding

3-point shooter, and he’s another guy we will be leaning on heavily. “We also look forward to Micah’s contributions. He saw some varsity time last year and he can be a major contributor for us.” Juniors moving up from the JV include Chase Zimmerman, Cade Kernahan, Quinn McCoy, Zion Sawyer and Andrew Gresko. Isaiah McCartney and Nasari Jackson also are in line for varsity playing time, as is Michael Rook, who recently transferred from Catholic Central. “We’re basically looking at an eight to nine player varsity rotation,” Haney said. “We definitely don’t have the size we had last year. Calvin is our big man. Quinn goes 6-3 and Zion is about 6-1. “I think we do have a little more quickness than we did last year. That, of course, gives us the ability to do the things we like to do — press and run. As always, we want to attack, attack, attack!” Haney noted McCoy and

Chase Zimmerman saw action with the varsity a season ago. “Quinn and Chase dressed varsity from the middle of the year and did get some varsity minutes,” Haney said. “So, they both have an understanding of what it takes to compete at the varsity level. “Chase came in and gave us a real spark against Weir. He got us going when we needed a lift. He played some good varsity minutes for us.” Anthony Saccoccia again will serve as Haney’s top assistant. Phil Casinelli, who worked with the girls basketball squad last year, has joined Haney’s staff this season. Big Red will open its season Friday with a visit to Catholic Central. Several new opponents, including Fort Frye, Cambridge, Morgantown and Hamilton Township, dot the 2019-20 schedule. Haney’s crew will tangle with Hamilton Township as part of the annual Buckeye 8 Challenge, scheduled for Dec. 21 at Ohio University Eastern. Big Red will face East Liver-

Continued from Page 4 pool and Martins Ferry in the Chuck Watt/John Nese Holiday Classic from Dec. 27-28. “Again, we have what I consider to be a very challenging schedule,” Haney said. “We’ll be tested game in and game out.” Even though his team will be in a reloading mode, Haney has no plans to change his coaching philosophy. “We definitely want to get after it defensively, and we want to run,” he said. “Right now, we are working on decision making, especially with our guards. They are young and inexperienced and need to improve their decision making. We have guys who can shoot the three this year. They are probably better shooters than we’ve had in years past. “We still want to push the basketball and put pressure on the defense by attacking the rim. We’ll look to score in the paint when we can. When we run, we want to be under control. We don’t want to just run for the sake of running and throw the ball away.”

the Huskies to a 17-7 mark a season ago, which ended in the district semifinals with a loss to Steubenville, which eventually went on to win the East District title and play in the Athens regional tournament at Ohio University. “We were close, we know that. We had a little bit of unfortunate luck with a guy breaking his arm in the game,” Clifford said. “We have talked about being that close. We were a play or two away, an attention to detail away from being three points to being down six. That’s sports, that’s life. Do we have a chance? Yeah, but we have a long way to go. That said, I like where we are at right now “It’s not about where we are at right now, more about where we will be at the end. Obviously, everybody is saying the same thing right now. We’ll keep getting better and see

what happens.” Outside of Mitchell, the Huskies will need a few guys to step up around him. With the attention opponents will put on the standout junior, there will be a lot of openings for the rest of the unit. “We’re going to need some guys to step up. We only have a couple guys coming back that have played, but we have some guys that have been around a while,” Clifford said. “I know that and the teams we play know that. Some guys are going to have to step up and play and I’m really looking forward to seeing them do that because I’m confident that they will. “It’s absolutely an opportunity for them. We talk about it all the time. Team’s are obviously going to try and stop Kobe, so guys are going to get their opportunities. They are excited. They know (Mitchell)

has confidence in them and we have confidence in them.” On of those players is Cale McAfee, who missed all of last season with an injury. Back in basketball action, Clifford has high hopes for him. “People forget about him because he sat out all of last year with an injury, but he would have played significant minute last year had he not been hurt,” he said. “We’re really excited to have him back.” Some other names Huskies fans can expect to see are John Vermillion, Skylar Mazeroski, Cabot Arbaugh, Jace Madzia and James Brooks. One thing one will notice about that group is that they mostly all are multi-sport athletes. “When you see them playing on Fridays and performing, you know they can perform under the spotlight,” Clifford said.

“That’s why we like them playing multiple sports and doing other things. I’m a firm believer that it helps them not only in life, but in other sports.” A wildcard for the Huskies will be exchange student Alex Flor. “He’s an exchange student that is very, very skilled,” Clifford said. “He is going to help us out, he is just learning the language and learning basketball. It’s tough enough to learn the language, let alone basketball, but he’s going to be alright.”

Continued from Page 13 the year and prepares you for the tournament,” he said. “We will know where we stand by the end of the year, we know that, with our schedule. “We want to make the top 4 in the OVAC and give ourselves the chance to play at (Ohio University Eastern). We want to play for the Buckeye 8 championship in the crossover game. Those are always the goals. If you do that, you have a chance to make a decent run in the tournament. Those things come first, if we’re there, I like our chances.”

Huskies

HIGH GOALS Despite some youth around him, when a team has a player like Mitchell, the expectations are going to be high. Clifford’s are no exception. “We beefed up the schedule a little bit this year. We’ll play you. It prepares you the end of

WHAT IS GOOD The obvious strength of the Huskies is Mitchell. Aside from his dominance, it’s the team mentality that will be a strength. “When you have Kobe, that’s a strength that obviously most See HUSKIES Page 18 ➪


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Riders ways were fortunate enough to be better in February than we were in December. “However, we want to win games early and create momentum to get a higher seed in the sectional and regional tournaments. Then, we’ll see how it goes from there.” Granato lost five members of the 2018-19 team to graduation, and they were the ones who carried a lot of the load. Picking up their diplomas were Luka Haught, Deon Trupiano, Reed Reitter, Jake McCoy and Thomas Buffington. Five lettermen return from that club in Elijah Gillette, Sebastian Spencer, Brodie McUmar, Tanner Mikula and Dakota Nutter. All are seniors. Two other seniors made the team, Drew Curtis and Skylar Jackson. Curtis, a starter at linebacker and running back on the Weir High football team, is out for basketball for the first time since he was a freshman. Granato will blend in juniors Gage Reitter, Jack McCardell and Izaak Riter. But, he said that there is a strong group of sophomores, and

some of them likely will not only dress for varsity games. Some could see a lot of playing time before the season is over. They are Anthony Cross, Tyler Kelly, Jayson Nosko, Myles Rice, Jack Scopel, Trenton Taflan, Carson Yobaggy and Charlie Zagula. “This is a very talented sophomore class, and several of them are battling for varsity playing time,” Granato said. “I look forward to watching these kids compete. I think they are ready to break through. They are very competitive. They’ll get a good look in our scrimmages, and we’ll see what they are capable of doing to compete at the varsity level.” Granato said his seniors have gotten a lot of playing time and varsity experience not only in basketball, but in other sports, too. He calls them a truly veteran group. “We’re not very big,” he said. “It looks like our big kids are coming down the road in our freshman class. Gillette and Nutter are the tallest at 6-feet-2.” A total of 41 players turned out for basketball this year,

one of the largest groups Granato has had in years. “It was difficult making cuts,” he said. “It also was a difficult decision to fill out the varsity roster because so many of these young kids are pushing hard. We have 12 boys on our freshman roster, and they’ll have an 18-game schedule, which should set a good foundation. Some of those freshmen may dress for jayvee games and play back and forth so they can get more playing time. We will have a total of 31 kids playing basketball. Granato said a lot of his upper classmen can play more than one position, so that gives him the flexibility to do a lot of different things. “We’ll have an almost completely different offense with these kids,” he said. “We have a lot of speed, experience and shooters. We have Sebastian Spencer healthy and ready to go in the first game. Last year, he had a hand injury from football that wouldn’t let him play until late December, and even then he wasn’t completely healthy till the last couple of

weeks of the season. He’s the fastest kid in the state. “And, we have some other kids with speed, so we’ll be able to get up and down the floor with anybody. With that speed and experience, we’ll be able to do some pressure things on defense.” Reed Reitter, McCoy and Buffington were the main bigs on the team last year. This year, it will be Nutter (6-2) in the post with Mikula (6-0) and Gillette (6-2) at the forwards. Mikula and Gillette return having each scored about 10 points a game as juniors. “While Mikula will go inside some, he is our best returning outside shooter, but McUmar and Spencer can put the ball in the basket from long range, too,” Granato said. “Anthony Cross, the sophomore, may be one of our best ball handlers, and Nutter has really shown a lot of improvement. He’s learned a lot about playing in the post, including shooting with his left hand. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and is doing it well.” Granato added that McUmar is as tough and gritty

“They were an extremely good group,” Toronto head coach Sean Tucker said. “They were a once-in-a-lifetime group. They are going to be hard to replace. We were able to create a lot of great memories. We had 21 wins, so we had a lot of great highs as a team. We had a lot of great moments together. At the end, it was not the outcome we wanted, but that is how the game is played when you come to tournament time. “We have a lot of great memories. I am grateful to those seniors. They played a big part in changing the culture here in the past three years. They are a big reason why this program is moving in the right direction.” The Red Knights have 18 players in the program this season, including three seniors, who are the team’s only return-

ing lettermen. “All three seniors are returning lettermen, but other than those three seniors we are very young and inexperienced when it comes to playing at the varsity level,” Tucker said. The three seniors are Brendan Matyas (guard), A.J. Clegg (forward/guard) and Lucas Gulczynski (forward). “We have a young team, and we are going to have a young season, but you can’t ask for better leadership than we have from our three seniors,” Tucker said. Gulczynski will be a fouryear lettermen and four-year starter. Clegg will be a threeyear lettermen and a two-year starter and Matyas will be a two-year lettermen. “The seniors bring a lot to the table,” Tucker said. “We are

going to need them if we are to have a successful year.” The Red Knights have a big junior class. “We have a lot of juniors, but we have a small sophomore class and a small freshman class,” Tucker said. “A lot of underclassmen are going to see a lot of varsity time. “We are fighting the injury bug right now. We are looking to get everyone back healthy. It has slowed the process down.” The five juniors are Jay Hanlin, Bryson Anderson, Brant Reeves, Anthony Myslinski and Colby Saylor. Their positions are not yet set because they are going to be playing multiple positions on the court. Three sophomores also are expected to see varsity time this season. They are Shane Keenan, Nathan Joyce and Aiden Mick.

Their positions are still to be determined. “We are young,” Tucker said. “The guys have embraced their roles. That is all we can ask them to do if we want to have a productive season on and off of the floor.” With a young roster, the Red Knights will be heavily leaning on their three seniors to lead the way. “Our three seniors are our strength,” Tucker said. “This year it is possibly going to be a player coached team on the floor. The seniors are providing great senior leadership.” Along with its three seniors, another strength for Toronto this season will be its size. “We have pretty good size,” Tucker said. “Our size is better than our speed. We have some big guys, but we are not

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Continued from Page 5 a guy as one will ever run into, and he brings that out on the court. He’s been the catcher on the baseball team the past three years and, at 5-9 and about 160, he played as hard as anybody on defense for the football team. “I look forward to watching these kids compete,” Granato said. “Each of them is very competitive, and each is doing the things he needs to do to get better every day. We have slashers and shooters. They can get to the basket. We’ll have a high octane team. “This definitely will be a different Weir High team than in the past. We want to spread the floor more on offense and take advantage of our kids going to the basket, and I think we’ll have an impressive team defense. My major concern there is being able to press without fouling a lot. Not only do these kids have speed and athleticism, as a group they have a high basketball IQ. We’re going to do different things this year because they can handle it. I’m looking forward to a fun year. These guys are a good group to coach.”

Continued from Page 12 very fast. Last year, we were extremely quick. This year, we are fortunate to have depth when it comes to size. We have good length.” With a young and inexperienced roster, the Red Knights have had to change up some of the things they have done on the court in the last few years. “We have changed a lot of things up,” Tucker said. “This is not the team we have had the last three years. We have to adapt to the skill level of the basketball players we have out on the floor. We have restructured everything for their benefit. We want to give them the opportunity to be successful.” Toronto has set some team goals for this upcoming season. “We want to get back to the OVAC championship game,” See KNIGHTS Page 18 ➪


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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

Wildcats for them and nerve-wracking for the coaches.” The Wildcats will be relying a great deal on their size. “Our strength is definitely our size,” Moses said. “We have the luxury of having a lot of size. Some kids look like kids, but these kids look like young men. They look their age. They look like seniors. Our strength is definitely our size. We just have to figure out how to get them ball in the post so they can have success. “Our strength is our big guys, and our weakness is our inexperienced guards. Kids are going to have opportunities. They are working hard. We are excited about getting the season started.” The Wildcats will continue to do a lot of the same things they have done in the past, but

they also will do some different things. “We always try to simplify things,” Moses said. “We want to push the ball up the floor. With the size we do have, we are going to look to get them ball in positions where they can have success. We are going to do the same stuff offensively. We are going to get the ball down low and at the high post. “The kids have had to make some adjustments. It is not going to be easy. We always tell them if they continue to work hard that good things will happen. I never have to question their effort. That is the great thing about our kids. You can never fault their effort. They are going to try and do everything you ask them to do. They are going to try their best.” Edison is going to continue

to put pressure on defensively in hopes of generating turnovers. “I always say your best offense is a good defense,” Moses said. “We want to create turnovers which will lead to easy baskets which will help their confidence. In our scrimmages, our defense has picked up. We have been able to create turnovers which led to easy baskets which will help their confidence.” The Wildcats are going to battle every night, and the goals remain the same. “I think the most important thing is we are going to be exciting,” Moses said. “We are going to be an exciting team. We do have some new players. We do have some young players. It is an exciting time. We are going to be exciting. We are young,

but we are going to play hard. “In the short term, we want to get better daily. We want to go 1-0 in our next game. It doesn’t matter if it is East Liverpool or the game after that.” Edison’s schedule is pretty much the same as it has been in the past. “We are going down to Toronto for their holiday tournament over Christmas break,” Moses said. “We are going to see some different teams there. We were supposed to open with Ridgewood, but because they are still in the football playoffs that game got pushed back to January. That will give us a couple of needed extra days. “It is always important to get off to a fast start. It is one of the most important things. We are going to find out where we are at. We want to improve today.

Continued from Page 10 We want to get better every day.” Moses will once again be assisted by Jeremy Matics and Mark Smyth. “This is the third year we have all been together,” Moses said. “Jeremy Matics has been with me for four years. He is a teacher. Mark Smyth has been with me now for three years. “We have been able to keep the staff together each year. That has made things easier. Things have gotten better each year. I am blessed to have the coaches I do have. They are good leaders. They are committed. That has shown. It is nice to have the same coaches on staff. You don’t always have that here. They have shown their loyalty. I am blessed to have had them for the past three years.”

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people don’t have,” Clifford said. “I think this group knows there role and knows what we need them to do. I think in the long run that will pay dividends for us because they are team oriented and teamfirst. We’re excited with the attitudes.”

Continued from Page 15 championship basketball. It’s early, that’s why no one is there yet. We’ll have some issues early, we may do some things to help that out, we might not. I was surprised how we did defensively (in a scrimmage), but we have a long way to go. We’ll have to get better.”

WHAT NEEDS WORK As for what needs to get better to get to those lofty goals, it’s simply summed up with the old saying — defense wins championships. “Defensive and executing in the half court,” Clifford said when asked about what needs to improve. “That’s winning

NEW GYM The Huskies moved into a new school and, likewise, a new gym since last season. “This place is awesome,” Clifford said. “We’re still getting used to it, it’s not the old shooting backgrounds and things like that. It’s first class.”

Tucker said. “We also want to be a 15plus win team, and we also want to advance in the tournament. We want to surprise some teams in the tournament with all of the guys we lost from last year.” The Red Knights have made major changes to their schedule this season. Toronto spent the previous two seasons in the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference, but the school dropped out of the league at the end of the last school year. “We have changed up our schedule,” Tucker said. “The only EOAC team we still have on the schedule is Wellsville.”

Continued from Page 17 The Red Knights and Tigers play twice this season. “It is important to get off to a good start,” Tucker said. “We want to improve every night we step onto the floor. Without some of our guys who are injured, we are going to have to have some other guys step up on the floor until those guys are able to return from their injuries.” Tucker will be assisted this season by Mike Ludewig and B.J. Takacs, who will serve as the head coach of the school’s freshman team. “We are eager to get started,” Tucker said.

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Crusaders Ogden takes over for Mike Holmes, who guided the Crusaders to a 7-16 mark in his only season as the bench boss. Dom Argentine, an All-Eastern District Division IV special mention selection, was the only senior member of that squad. During the 2017-18 season, Ogden worked as an assistant coach with the Central girls team. Last winter, he served on the staff for the women’s program at Franciscan University of Steubenville. The Buckeye North graduate also coached girls basketball in Florida. Ogden has a roster of 22, including several players who saw plenty of playing time a season ago. “The kids are buying in, and they have great attitudes,” Ogden said. “They want to win, and they are willing to work. We’re trying to break some habits, not necessarily because they are bad, but more because they don’t fit into what we are trying to do. “We’ve seen some posi-

tive things. There’s no doubt we still have a long way to go but, so far, the positive things have energized myself and my coaching staff.” Leading the list of returnees is senior 6-foot-1 senior Luca Connor, who averaged a team-leading 9.6 points per game as a junior. Connor earned third-team All-Eastern District honors. Other seniors are Anthony LeFever and Cole Maragos. Vince Carapellotti, Jack Rook and Isaac Hough are the top junior returnees. They all saw considerable action as sophomores. Junior Ryan Gorman, who also was a regular for Holmes, will miss the season, as he recovers from a torn ACL sustained during football. Carapellotti and Gorman received All-Eastern District honorable mention a year ago. Other juniors on the roster are Charles Miller, who recently relocated to the area, and Toby Lesnefsky. Sophomore Ryan Anderson

and freshman Andrew Dorsey also will be looking for playing time at the varsity level. “We have some guys who can bring it every night,” Ogden said. “My job and the job of my staff is to get those individuals in a position where we can take advantage of their skills. Hopefully, that puts us in a better position to win.” Ogden, who is working on putting together a schedule of freshman games, has assembled what he calls “an awesome staff.” Working with him are John Leary, who has been a head boys and girls coach, Mike Barber Jr. and Mike Barber III, who was a standout guard during his playing days for Central. “It’s wonderful to be able to watch them coach,” he said. “I’m learning stuff from them as we go. Going from coaching girls to coaching boys, I need to learn how to adjust. “A good coach learns from his mistakes. A wise coach tries to learn from what other people

already know. I’m just trying to use some wisdom and learn from a great group of guys.” Ogden pointed out his Crusaders will play hard to the end regardless of the score. “Every coach tries to bring his or her personality to coaching,” he said. “So, we want to be aggressive, intense and play hard. We want to go full go the whole game. “How much of that is going to translate into W’s? I can’t predict that. But, if we can play hard for 32 minutes and lay it out there on the floor, then I’m going to be satisfied as a coach.” When it comes to goals, Ogden has established three pretty lofty ones for his squad. “Our goals are win a city championship, win the OVAC and make the final four in the state playoffs,” he said. “Some people may say I am stretching them but, if you’re not stretching it, then you are not trying to achieve things.” The Crusaders will play a

Continued from Page 6 highly competitive schedule featuring the likes of Big Red, Madonna, Barnesville, Toronto, River and Shadyside. “That’s OK,” Ogden said. “We want to play whoever is on the court that night. We’re going to try to bring it. If we do that every game this season, again I will be pleased. The schedule is what it is, so let’s play.” Being the program’s third coach in as many seasons has presented a couple of challenges for Ogden. “My heart goes out to the kids, especially the upper classmen,” he said. “The previous coaches were good coaches and did a quality job. It’s more a matter of coaches wanting to put in their own systems and their own philosophy. “The kids are now learning a third way of what coach wants to do. But, like I said, they have great attitudes and that comes from being from great families. I am excited — I couldn’t ask for a better position.”

dation around which to build,” said Vargo, who left Madonna four years ago to be the head coach of the men’s basketball team at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Vargo had to give up that ambition of coaching at the collegiate level when he suffered a heart attack three years ago and has taken a break from coaching since then. “I have clearance from my doctors, and I’m treating this as if it were my first coaching job,” he said. “I’m trying to approach it that way. We have three starters returning, so that gives us a solid nucleus. We also have a very talented and athletic group of 11 sophomores, some of which likely will either start or see considerable playing time.” Five seniors off the 6-17 Blue Dons of a year ago are gone. They are Gavin Dietrich, Dom Mazur, A.J. Mitchell, Christian Ridgeway and Niko Fuscardo. The returning starters from that team includes 6-foot-4

post player Brennan Secrist, who was a star on the Madonna football team that made it to the Class A playoffs, along with shooting guard Evan Boniti, a dead-eye shooter from 3-point range. Lucky Pulice will be in the starting lineup for the third-straight year. Boniti and Secrist, both seniors, were the leading scorers a year ago, averaging roughly 13 and 12 points, respectively, while Pulice, a junor, averaged about nine a game. “We’ll definitely have some scoring power with those three guys,” Vargo said. “It looks like we’ll have about 12 guys competing for the two remaining starting positions, along with helping us off the bench. I think we’ll have enough talent from this large group of sophomores to go eight or nine deep in games.” Josh Gasvoda, a stalwart on the Blue Don line with the football team, decided to give basketball a try for the first time,

and Vargo said he gives the team a wide body in the paint. Thomas Sessi, who broke a bone in his leg as a promising sophomore in a game late in the season last year, gives Vargo some experience. Sessi, whose leg healed in time for him to star on the football team, has been a starter for the last two seasons. Size will not be a problem for Vargo. In addition to the lanky Secrist, Pulice his 6-1, and several of the sophomores have good size, namely Lennon Diertrich (6-4), Evan Bone (6-3), Santino Arlia (6-0) and Matt Amaismeier (6-0). The remainder of the squad includes sophomores Isaac Burdine, Michael Burdine, Seth Humberson, Coleton Littleton, Peyton Moore, Evan Quering and Mark Pietranton. Luke Amaismeier is the lone freshman that reported when practices began on Nov. 18. “We have a very good sophomore class that should help us a lot this year and for the next

couple of years,” Vargo said. “A lot of them played football and that will help a lot because we know they are athletes.” Vargo feels his Blue Dons will be successful this year because they have height, speed and good ball handlers. “I’m still a little old fashioned, but I think I have kept up with the game,” he said, mainly talking about the 3-point mentality that now is a part of basketball from the NBA down to the high school level. “I told the kids at the first practice that even though I got really used to the old-fashioned game of getting the ball into the paint and working the offense around that, I will give them the green light from the 3-point line, so long as it is the right shot at the right time. “I got to work with these kids a lot during the summer league games, so I think I know what they can do. I also told them we plan to use a lot of the same offensive and defensive sets that

Continued from Page 7 coach (Chris) Blair used last year. Blair was an outstanding basketball player at Madonna and West Liberty University, and he did a great job of teaching the kids. I told them that I want to go with what they are familiar and comfortable with.” Vargo will be assisted by Michael Battista, Phil Rujak and Nathan Mazur. His jayvee team will be coached by Nick Higgins and Jeffery Rice. “I want to run when the opportunity presents itself, but we’ll also use a lot of half court sets with man-to-man and zone,” Vargo said. “We’ll also press, especially against teams that our scouting indicates have difficulty executing against pressure. What we use both offensively and defensively will depend upon the competition. “The other emphasis will be on shooting foul shots and layups. I’m a believer that if you can do those two things in high school basketball, you will have much success.”

Dons


INSIDE THE PAINT

20

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

Redskins kind of like reloading because we have kids ready to step in. These kids are stepping up. Eventually, they’ll be willing to go hopefully sooner rather than later.” Dunlevy’s first priority is finding a starting lineup. All five starters from a season ago graduated, as well as a sixth off the bench. That group finished 9-14 and concluded with a Division II sectional loss at East Liverpool. Those five players are Brennon Norris, Cody Allan, Derrick Eakle, Matt Mamula and Austin Judson. Indian Creek also will be without Brock Lucas after he sustained an injury during football. “I don’t if you can say we have a starting lineup,” Dunlevy said. “We probably have seven or eight kids where it doesn’t matter if they start or not. They’re all going to play. We’ll see how it goes.” The Redskins do have one spot filled, and it’s something Dunlevy has never done before. He will start a freshman at the point guard position to open the campaign. His name is Logan Kuczykowski. “It’s nice because you figure that you’re giving the keys to a car to a kid for four years, and he’s earned it,” Dunlevy said. “It wasn’t handed to him. I’ve started freshmen on occasion

because of injuries and things of that nature. But, this will be the first time we’ve started a freshman at the beginning of the season, especially to a position that’s so important. “He’s from a family that is well known around here for their mental and physical toughness going back to his father and grandfather. He exhibits those same qualities. We always talk about mental toughness. We played three scrimmages, and they got after him pretty good. He hasn’t backed down.” Overall, there are 14 freshmen who went out for basketball, with Kuczykowski being the only one at the varsity level. But, the large number excites Dunlevy. “This freshmen class has always been a big basketball class that likes to play,” he said. “There are some kids that are going to come out of there that are going to be good players. We don’t know how the year will play out. A few of them played with the varsity guys. We’ll see what happens down the road.” Looking to the more seasoned players, Dunlevy will rely heavily on senior Shawn McClurg for leadership. The forward was limited to six games a year ago but made the most of his time.

“McClurg has come right out of football season and was right in the gym the following morning,” Dunlevy said. “He loves basketball, is a good football player and is a leader for us. He got the kids last year after we lost to East Liverpool. He was here the next morning getting on the kids. I wasn’t allowed to do that. He had them here working in the weight room with the kids that were coming back. I was proud of him for doing that. He’s a big, strong, smart kid and does all of the little things.” There are no guarantees for the starting lineup, including McClurg. Besides Kuczykowski, the other four are up in the air. The other guards are junior Michael Kuczykowski, Logan’s brother, and sophomores Mitchell Williams and Jadyn Irazzary. Inside will be McClurg, as well as juniors Jacob Wright and Isaiah Vandine. The rest of the roster features forward Justice Morris, guard Santana Smith, forward James Taylor and Codey Bowman. Assisting Dunlevy are Rob Lucas, Matt Arlia and Mike Furda.

only make a young team stronger, or rather an inexperienced group. “We like our schedule. We changed it a little bit,” Dunlevy said. “We added a couple of games with Toronto and another with Brooke. It’ll be great to play Toronto because Sean (Tucker) is a great coach, and he played for me. He does a great job.”

get going,” Everly said. “We like what we have. We’re expecting big things from them.” Some of those guys will be joining the team later than usual due to the Oak Glen football team’s deep playoff run. Taylor, who was the second-leading scorer on last year’s team, Patterson, Mineard and Taylor are all members of the football team who are expected to play big roles during the basketball season. “We’re not concerned with how we are with it. We’re happy for the players that are involved, the community and the coaching staff,” Ever-

ly said of the football team’s run effect on his team’s preseason. “Those guys put a lot of work in, and they expected success. We expected them to be good. We knew this was a possibility, and they have done their part and done a great job. We’ll make do, and when we get those football players back healthy, we’ll be ready to go. “The guys that are playing football are great kids. They hustle and they are in shape already. They play hard, and they have a winning attitude they are going to bring to this team. There is nothing but

positives that come out of it. We just hope they all come out healthy.” When they do get on the court, there will be an adjustment period, much like Weir High went through last season. Just like a year ago, those teams square off in the season-opener once again. “It will take some time. Weir High experienced that last year when they went to the state semifinals, and it took some time for them to get their legs,” Everly said. “It is going to take some time, a couple of weeks minimum for them to get their legs under

them running on a hard court, to get a feel for shooting and passing and playing with other guys on the court. I would think two to four weeks. We’ll be patient with them and try to do the best we can with it. “That doesn’t mean we are going to take it easy. I like the group that we have here right now. They are working hard. They have done well, they did good in a scrimmage we had and they are ready to get after it.” The football players’ absence has allowed some added attention to be paid to some of the other key members of the

Bears

STRENGTHS Dunlevy believes his team’s biggest strength will be shooting. That sounds simple, but the Redskins have to be consistently solid shooting the ball because of their lack of size. “I think we’re going to be able to shoot the ball. The main thing, and we say this every year, is play good defense and the scoring will come,” Dunlevy said. “We should be able to shoot the ball well, at least from what I’ve seen. “The other thing is we can’t turn the ball over, and we have to play great defense to be in games right now. If you put the time in, that’s how you’re going to be a good shooter.” STICK TO THE SCHEDULE Indian Creek will mostly Looking at his schedule, run a man defense but may Dunlevy likes it for the most switch to zone, depending on part. A strong schedule can who it faces.

Continued from Page 8 Another strength, though it may sound unusual, depends on the game officials. “A lot of what’s going to happen to us is how tight they are going to call a game,” Dunlevy said. “We’re going to get knocked down a lot because we’re only about 115 pounds. That’s just the way it is. If the game’s called with a lot of whistles, that’ll give us a better chance.” WEAKNESSES As mentioned earlier, it’s the inexperience. “Coaches always say basketball is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s the way we’re approaching it,” Dunlevy said. “Sometimes it doesn’t show, but they are getting better every day because they’re hard workers. They’re starting to understand how to put in not just extra time, but the right kind of extra time. I think if you have that combination, as long as they stick to it and don’t get distracted by other things, they’re going to get better. We have some limitations, but they’re going to be fine down the road. “To be honest, we may not be at the top, but it won’t be because of effort because they’re giving it, honestly. I enjoy practice because there are no attitudes or egos.”

Continued from Page 11 team and jayvee squad. “It is an opportunity for some of the other guys, and they have taken it that way,” Everly said. “Some guys that maybe were between jayvee and varsity have really stepped up and are excited about the opportunity to play. They are getting a lot of reps in practice and that is a good thing for us. It’s a smaller practice, so we’re able to do some things with them one-onone that maybe we’re not able to do when there are 20 kids in the gym.” See BEARS Page 41 ➪


INSIDE THE PAINT

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

21

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22

By ED LOOMAN For Inside The Paint

INSIDE THE PAINT

STEUBENVILLE BIG RED

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

STEUBENVILLE — Big Red’s girls basketball team suffered a devastating loss weeks before the 2019-20 season even began, shortly after an offseason full of high expectations. That loss came when junior Makayla Abram, an All-Ohio Division II selection as a sophomore, suffered a knee injury and is expected to miss the entire campaign. “We had high expectations coming into this year with our two leading scorers (Abram and senior Madison Fields returning), along with seven other letterwinners,” said Jeff Lombardo, who is entering his fifth season as head coach at Big Red. “Basically, we were returning the majority of our core from last season. “Makayla has been our leading scorer the last two seasons. She had a reSee STEUBENVILLE Page 35 ➪

Nov. 26................................................. St. John Central, 6 p.m. Dec. 2................................................................ Buckeye Local Dec. 5................................................................... at Weir High Dec. 11............................................................................ Linsly Dec. 16.............................................................. at Indian Creek Dec. 19........................................................................... Brooke Dec. 23........................................................ at Harrison Central Dec. 27................................................................. Toronto, TBA

Dec. 28.................................................... Catholic Central, TBA Jan. 6........................................................................ at Brooke Jan. 9................................................................. John Marshall Jan. 11..................................................at St. Clairsville, 4 p.m. Jan. 16............................................................... East Liverpool Jan. 18........................................................... Fort Frye, 2 p.m. Jan. 20......................................................................at Bellaire Jan. 23...................................................................... at Toronto

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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

By RALPH COX For Inside The Paint

INSIDE THE PAINT

WEIR HIGH RED RIDERS

23

WEIRTON — If Rick Stead, Weir High girls basketball head coach, had a magic wand, he’d very likely point it at some high school girl and command that she be at least 6-feet tall. As he heads into his fifth year at the helm, Stead once again doesn’t have a player that is taller than 5-foot-7, so he’ll use what has worked in the past — pressure defense and transition. The Red Riders go into the 2019-20 season with five letterwinners from the team that posted a 9-15 record a year ago. One of them, Sophia Mikula, will be starting for the fourth year and returns as the leading scorer and rebounder. “We have some experience, and we have Sophia, who is one of the best basketball players in the area,” said Stead, See WEIR Page 44 ➪ Dec. 3................................................................ East Fairmont Dec. 5.................................................................... Steubenville Dec. 7.......................................................North Marion, 2 p.m. Dec. 9.........................................................................Madonna Dec. 11........................................................................Oak Glen Dec. 12........................................................................... Brooke Dec. 18............................................................ at John Marshall Dec. 19......................................................... at Catholic Central

Dec. 27...........................................................at Grafton, 4 p.m. Jan. 2.................................................... at Buckhannon-Upshur Jan. 4................................................... at Burgettstown, 3 p.m. Jan. 9........................................................................ at Trinity Jan. 11........................................................ at Oak Glen, 1 p.m. Jan. 13................................................................ John Marshall Jan. 14........................................................... at Wheeling Park Jan. 16....................................................................... at Brooke

Jan. 23....................................................................at Madonna Jan. 27............................................................. Catholic Central Jan. 30...................................................... at Steubenville, TBA Feb. 1..............................................Fairmont Senior, 1:45 p.m. Feb. 3.....................................................................OVAC, TBA Feb. 6.....................................................................OVAC, TBA All games at 7 p.m. unless noted

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24

INSIDE THE PAINT

CATHOLIC CENTRAL CRUSADERS WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

From staff reports

STEUBENVILLE — Jess Looman will be relying heavily on senior leadership during her sixth season as Catholic Central’s girls basketball coach. Four seniors return for the Crusaders, who went 13-11 a season ago and qualified for the OVAC Class 2A tournament. Leading the returnees is guard/forward Bella Oliver, a four-year starter. As a junior, the 5-foot9 Oliver averaged 11.8 points and a team-leading 11.7 rebounds per game. She earned All-Eastern District, All-District 5 and All-OVAC honors. “Bella worked extremely hard in the offseason and we expect big things from her on both ends of the floor,” said Looman, who has guided Central to a 66-52 record during her tenure and three straight winning seasons. “She played See CENTRAL Page 35 ➪ Nov. 30.................................................... Southern Local, noon Dec. 2.................................................................. at Beallsville Dec. 5........................................................................at Brooke Dec. 6........................................................................at Brooke Dec. 12.................................................................at Bridgeport Dec. 14.............................................................. Oak Glen, noon Dec. 16..........................................................................Toronto Dec. 19..................................................................at Weir High

Dec. 28...............................................................at Steubenville Jan. 4........................................................................ Madonna Jan. 6.......................................................................Carrollton Jan. 8.................................................................... at Oak Glen Jan. 11...................................................... Buckeye Local, noon Jan. 15......................................................................at Toronto Jan. 20................................................................... at Madonna Jan. 25................................................................River, 11 a.m.

Jan. 27......................................................................Weir High Jan. 30.....................................................................Bridgeport Feb. 3.................................................................... OVAC, TBA Feb. 8.................................................................... OVAC, TBA Feb. 10...................................................................Steubenville Feb. 12...................................................................at Tusky CC All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


INSIDE THE PAINT

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

By RALPH COX For Inside The Paint

MADONNA BLUE DONS

25

WEIRTON — Last year, the Madonna girls basketball team advanced all the way to the regional final where it lost in the final minute to Magnolia, a team it had beaten by 20 points during the regular season. It was the deepest a Blue Don team went in the postseason in a few years. Five seniors led that team to a fine 17-6 record, along with the city championship and the Class 1A OVAC regular-season title, but they have graduated. There will be some holes to fill in the 2019-20 lineup, but Rodney Boniti feels he has the talent to do that and, perhaps, even advance further as he heads into his third season as the head coach. “We have a lot of holes to fill because four of our top six graduated,” he said. “That means we need some younger girls See MADONNA Page 36 ➪ Dec. 5.......................................................................at Toronto Jan. 4..........................................................at Catholic Central Dec. 7...................................................................... Beallsville Jan. 8.............................................................. Conotton Valley Dec. 9...................................................................at Weir High Jan. 9..................................................................at Bridgeport IN STOCK Dec. 12........................................................................at Valley Jan. 15................................................................... at Oak Glen Dec. 14..............................................................at Trinity, •noon Jan. 18.................................................... at Caldwell, 1:30 p.m. BIRD SEED Dec. 18............................................................................Valley Jan. 20..............................................................Catholic Cenral Dec. 21............................................... East Liverpool, 1:30• p.m. Jan. 23......................................................................Weir High CRACKED & Dec. 28..........................................................................Toronto Jan. 25....................................................at Charleston Catholic

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26

By JOE CATULLO For Inside The Paint

INSIDE THE PAINT

INDIAN CREEK REDSKINS

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

WINTERSVILLE — The Indian Creek girls basketball team simply played its best basketball at the wrong time last year. The Redskins had everybody talking early on, beginning with a 15-0 record and ranking in the AP top 10. All of a sudden, they lost six of their last eight games, did not win a tournament game and failed to reach the Division II district tournament. They fell to Philo for the second-straight season at home. One of the goals heading into the 2019-20 season, obviously, is to finish stronger. “We didn’t end the season like we wanted to. We’re just focusing on getting better every day and not focus on looking too far ahead,” second-year head coach Steve Eft said. “Whoever See CREEK Page 39 ➪ Nov. 27............................................at Harrison Central, 6 p.m. Dec. 1...................................................... vs. Boardman, 4 p.m. Dec. 5............................................................................ Edison Dec. 9............................................................ at East Liverpool Dec. 12................................................................. Beaver Local Dec. 16................................................................... Steubenville Dec. 19........................................................... at Buckeye Local Dec. 23................................................................ Martins Ferry

Dec. 28............................................................ at Minerva, noon Jan. 2........................................................................ at Edison Jan. 6................................................................ East Liverpool Jan. 9.............................................................. at Beaver Local Jan. 13............................................................... Wheeling Park Jan. 16............................................................... Buckeye Local Jan. 20....................................................................... at Brooke Jan. 22.................................................................. at Carrollton

Jan. 25............................................................. Buckeye 8, TBA Jan. 27............................................................ Harrison Central Feb. 3.................................................... OVAC semifinals, TBA Feb. 6........................................................... OVAC finals, TBA Feb. 10................................................................. St. Clairsville Feb. 13........................................................................... Brooke All games at 7 p.m. unless noted

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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

By JOE CATULLO For Inside The Paint WELLSBURG — Amy Serevicz is very familiar with girls basketball at Brooke, having served the previous seven seasons as an assistant. Heading into the 201920 campaign, she’ll begin her first full season as the head boss, a few months removed from being thrown into the fire. “I think a little bit (will change) but not as much because I have been here as opposed to somebody coming in that’s brand new,” Serevicz said. “If I get two new assistants, that’ll be a transition because the girls have said they’re fine with just me. I don’t miss a summer league game and never have before. I’m with them all summer, so I think they’re all good with me.” Serevicz took over as head coach during the final couple of weeks last year, taking over from the suddenly departed Ryan Sherich. The Bruins ended with a tough loss against John Marshall during the Class AAA sectional semifinal, losing a slim lead with 45 seconds remaining and eventually the contest. “It was a tough way to end the season, but I was really proud of the girls because they worked hard,” Serevicz said. “John Marshall defeated us by a lot more earlier in the year. The girls did everything I asked them

INSIDE THE PAINT

BROOKE BRUINS

to do. “Ryan as a head coach always took my input and let me have say and run things. But, when it’s actually you as the boss, it’s a little different. I would say during the past week I was worried about throwing new plays at them and worried if they’re picking them up and if they’ll be

Dec. 5.............................................Tip-Off Tournament, 6 p.m. Dec. 6.............................................Tip-Off Tournament, 6 p.m. Dec. 9............................................................at Wheeling Park Dec. 12......................................................................Weir High Dec. 14................................................................ Bellaire, noon Dec. 16.................................................................St. Clairsville Dec. 19...............................................................at Steubenville Dec. 23............................................................at John Marshall

ready before our holiday tournament or not. I would say I lost a little bit of sleep, waking up in the middle of the night worrying about these things.” Priority No. 1 for Serevicz will be working around a young group that lost a 6-foot3, 1,000-point scorer in Hope Bowman. The

Bruins also have to live without Chloe Fox and Chrissy Byers, but Bowman is the biggest departure. She averaged 17.7 points, 11.4 rebounds and 6.2 blocks per game. Brooke has two girls who can produce in the near future. They are freshmen Ava Bolen (60) and Bailey Serevicz (5-10). As for this year,

Dec. 30........................................................at Harrison Central Jan. 6....................................................................Steubenville Jan. 9................................................................Wheeling Park Jan. 11............................................................ at Bellaire, TBA Jan. 13........................................................................at Linsly Jan. 16..................................................................at Weir High Jan. 20..................................................................Indian Creek Jan. 22.............................................................at St. Clairsville

27

it’ll be a learning curve for them. “The two freshmen have played together since the fifth grade, so they have good chemistry,” Amy Serevicz said. “They play nice defense and always have each other’s back. They’re best friends. I wouldn’t say this year but, down the road, there’s poten-

tial. The combination of the two could be a good replacement of Hope.” Arguably the best news for the Bruins is the return of the Arca twins, and they account for two of the three seniors on the roster. Ashley Arca returns from a knee injury that sidelined her all of last year, See BROOKE Page 40 ➪

Jan. 23................................................................John Marshall Jan. 27................................................................... at Oak Glen Feb. 3.................................................................... OVAC, TBA Feb. 6.................................................................... OVAC, TBA Feb. 13..............................................................at Indian Creek Feb. 18...........................................................at East Fairmont All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


28

By AARON PETCHAL For Inside The Paint RICHMOND — Rebuilding a program is not easy. For several years, the Edison girls basketball team was one of the top teams in the valley. However, the Wildcats have fallen on some hard times recently, as the team won just one game last season. This season, John Visser takes over the program from Jeff Stone, who spent two seasons as head coach. Visser hopes to return the Wildcats to their glory days under previous head coaches Ron Smyth and Tony Kovalesky. “I have been keeping my

INSIDE THE PAINT

EDISON WILDCATS

eye on the program for the last few years,” Visser said. “I thought this situation might present itself, and that I could become a head coach once again. I have had my eyes set on it.” The Wildcats ended last season with a record of 1-22, including an 80-24 defeat at Bellaire in a Division III Eastern District sectional semifinal. “I didn’t see them play last year,” Visser said. “I looked at their box scores, and I was able to see what was going on. I wanted to be a head coach again, and the opportunity presented itself. “I want to return the team to the tradition that they had

Nov. 26.................................................................. at Wellsville Dec. 2............................................................. Harrison Central Dec. 5............................................................... at Indian Creek Dec. 9................................................................ Buckeye Local Dec. 12...................................................................... at Toronto Dec. 14............................................... Southern Local, 3:30 p.m. Dec. 16........................................................... at East Liverpool Dec. 19................................................................. Beaver Local

in the past. I want to get that done. I see myself as being able to help with that and being able to get the program back to where it needs to be.” The Wildcats lost two seniors in Lauren Ferralli and Kenzi Potkrajac in from last year’s team. There are 17 players on the roster this season. “I believe we are headed in the right direction,” Visser said. “I have 17 really smart, dedicated, hard-working young ladies. They are coachable. They are absorbing everything. We are throwing a lot at them in a short period of time, and they are grasping it. We are seeing progress. “One thing I think will re-

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

ally help is I was able to get coach Smyth to help out and come back. He is the builder of the program. He is the one who made it special. He built the program at Edison High School, and to get him to come back out and help out is big. The girls may not remember him coaching, but they have heard about it. It is nice to have a legend around.” Edison only has one senior, and she is Mikalya Petrisko. “She is the only one in her class to play all four years,” Visser said. “I don’t know what happened. I am her third head coach in four years. I am her new head coach, but it is important that she has bought in.”

Dec. 21.......................................................... Toronto, 4:30 p.m. Dec. 30....................................................................... Wellsville Jan. 2................................................................... Indian Creek Jan. 6............................................................ at Buckeye Local Jan. 11.........................................at Newcomerstown, 2:30 p.m. Jan. 13............................................................... East Liverpool Jan. 15........................................................... at Southern Local Jan. 16............................................................. at Beaver Local

Petrisko is a versatile player and has been asked to do a lot in her previous three seasons. Petrisko will be the team’s starting point guard. “She is pretty aggressive, so we have her in that position,” Visser said. “We gave her the keys. She will handle the ball for us. We have some other girls who can handle the ball, but we are going to give her the first crack at it. I am happy with the progress I have seen from her.” The three juniors are Emma Scott (power forward), Ashley Grafton (small forward) and Trista Furbee (guard). “Emma worked hard all See EDISON Page 44 ➪

Jan. 20..............................................................Conotton Valley Jan. 23............................................................ at Martins Ferry Jan. 25............................................................. Buckeye 8, TBA Jan. 27..................................................................... Cambridge Feb. 3.....................................................................OVAC, TBA Feb. 6.....................................................................OVAC, TBA All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

By JOE CATULLO For Inside The Paint

INSIDE THE PAINT

OAK GLEN GOLDEN BEARS

NEW MANCHESTER — The good news for head coach Scott Wiley and his girls basketball team is most of his roster consists of players who were very successful during the fall season. The bad news, because of the longer seasons, he did not get them until late when practice began on Nov. 18. However, Wiley is keeping his focus on the positive and hopes the winning culture at Oak Glen can carry over to the court. “All of our fall sports teams played so well, so I’m hoping they’ll bring some of that athleticism to help out on the basketball court,” he said. “That’s what I’m hoping for. They’ve tasted it and have been in those high-pressured games. The state tournaments came down to the wire, especially in soccer. The volleyball team was down 2-0. I definitely hope they can bring some of that to basketball. It would be nice.” The girls soccer team was the Class AA/A state runner-up, while the volleyball squad concluded its perfect season with a state championship. The other good news for the Golden Bears is they bring everyone back except for one senior from last year. The bad news is that’s point guard Maggie Kovalcik. “We only lost Maggie,

but she was our leading scorer and also our leader in assists,” Wiley said. “She got hurt in our last regular-season game against East Liverpool and couldn’t play in the play-in game. I was trying to look at it as a plus because you usually don’t get to look at next year’s team. It didn’t end up the way we wanted it to, but at least we got that look. “It’s a big loss, but hopefully we have kids

Dec. 5............................................................... at Brooke, TBA Dec. 6............................................................... at Brooke, TBA Dec. 9........................................................................... Toronto Dec. 14................................................ at Catholic Central, noon Dec. 21.................................................................. at Weir High Dec. 27..................................................... at Petersburg, 2 p.m. Dec. 28....................................................................... at Keyser Jan. 4........................................................................ Wellsville

coming up that will replace some of that scoring. I don’t know if any of them are quicker than her, though.” Kovalcik averaged 12.9 points per game, while collecting 62 assists and 86 steals. She did not particpate in Oak Glen’s defeat to Weir High during the Class AA sectional play-in contest. The Golden Bears also were without Alayna Kranis for the final

game. She was dealing with an injury, too. Kranis enters her junior year after collecting a team-high 158 rebounds last year. She is the tallest Golden Bear, standing at 5-foot-10. “I hate to keep saying I’m young. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to say young again this year, but we’ll probably have to rely on some younger kids to step up,” Wiley said. “Alayna and Reece (Enochs) played

Jan. 8.............................................................. Catholic Central Jan. 13...................................................................... at Toronto Jan. 15........................................................................Madonna Jan. 18....................................................Philip Barbour, 1 p.m. Jan. 20............................................................... East Liverpool Jan. 23................................................................. Beaver Local Jan. 25........................................................... Weir High, 1 p.m. Jan. 27........................................................................... Brooke

some varsity before, so they have some experience. Our seniors have experience. I can’t complain too much because they have some experience.” The two seniors are forward Alexa Andrews and guard Brittney Giorgini. Both are two-year letterwinners and will be in the starting lineup. Sophomore Maddie McKay will start at point guard, Kranis at center and Enochs at the other

29

guard position. The two off the bench will be juniors Brooklyn Loveland and Rory McNutt. As of early December, that’s all on the varsity roster. “We’re trying to keep things simple,” Wiley said. “They’re picking up the offenses better. That seems to always be a stickler with my teams for whatever reason. We try to keep things as simple as possible but they See OAK GLEN Page 45 ➪

Jan. 29....................................................................at Madonna Feb. 3.....................................................................OVAC, TBA Feb. 6.....................................................................OVAC, TBA Feb. 12........................................................... at East Liverpool Feb. 13................................................................... at Wellsville Feb. 15................................................at Philip Barbour, 1 p.m. All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


INSIDE THE PAINT

30

By AARON PETCHAL For Inside The Paint

TORONTO RED KNIGHTS

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

TORONTO — The Toronto girls basketball might be small in numbers, but it still has some experience as well as talent, and the team is hoping to take the next step forward in building the program. The Red Knights finished last season with a record of 10-14. The season came to an end with a 60-20 loss to River in a Division IV Eastern District sectional final on the road. Toronto advanced to that game by defeating Strasburg. 60-59, in double overtime in the semifinals on the road. “Last year, I think we left a lot out there,” Toronto head coach Rusty Hodgkiss said. “There were a couple of games we should have won and put away, but we didn’t. Our goal last year was to get 10 wins, and we were able to do that. We were See TORONTO Page 42 ➪ Nov. 25.................................................................... Bridgeport Dec. 2.................................................................... at Wellsville Dec. 5.........................................................................Madonna Dec. 9.....................................................................at Oak Glen Dec. 11........................................................ at Harrison Central Dec. 12........................................................................... Edison Dec. 14..................................................................at Beallsville Dec.16.......................................................... at Catholic Central

Dec. 18............................................................... East Liverpool Dec. 21............................................................ at Edison, 4 p.m. Dec. 27...................................................... at Steubenville, TBA Dec. 28........................................................... at Madonna, TBA Jan. 6........................................................................ Wellsville Jan. 11............................................................. Caldwell, 1 p.m. Jan. 13........................................................................Oak Glen Jan. 15............................................................. Catholic Central

Jan. 18......................................................... at Leetonia, 1 p.m. Jan. 23................................................................... Steubenville Jan. 30................................................................. Beaver Local Feb. 3.....................................................................OVAC, TBA Feb. 8.....................................................................OVAC, TBA Feb. 10................................................................. at Bridgeport All games at 7 p.m. unless noted

GOOD LUCK

Toronto Red Knights

From Students, Staff & Administration of Toronto City Schools


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

INSIDE THE PAINT

HARRISON CENTRAL HUSKIES

31

By ANDREW GRIMM For Inside the Paint

CADIZ — The Harrison Central girls basketball team has a lot of holes to fill in the coming season. However, as coach Nick Youkovich sees it, it means there are a lot of opportunities to be had for the young Huskies this season. “We lost four starters and probably 90 percent of our offense,” Yourkovich said. “Top 3-point shooter, top inside scorer, two top ball handlers. It has been a rebuilding process so far in the preseason. We’re going to have to look at it as an opportunity for the young girls to be positive. We have eight freshmen on the roster, and at least five of them are going to be looking at high-leverage varsity minutes early on in the season with the girls that we lost from a last year. A couple of girls who didn’t come out this year and a See HARRISON Page 46 ➪ Nov. 25......................................................................Claymont Nov. 27..................................................... Indian Creek, 6 p.m. Dec. 2........................................................................at Edison Dec. 5..............................................................at St. Clairsville Dec. 9.................................................................... Union Local Dec. 11..........................................................................Toronto Dec. 16............................................................at Martins Ferry Dec. 19..................................................................... at Bellaire

Belmont Career Center 68090 Hammond Road St. Clairsville, OH 43950 (740) 695-9130

Dec. 23...................................................................Steubenville Dec. 28...................................................... Buckeye Local, TBA Dec. 30...........................................................................Brooke Jan. 2..................................................................St. Clairsville Jan. 6................................................................ at Union Local Jan. 9................................................................. at Barnesville Jan. 13................................................................Martins Ferry Jan. 16......................................................................... Bellaire

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Jan. 22.....................................................................at Malvern Jan. 25............................................................. Buckeye 8, TBA Jan. 27..............................................................at Indian Creek Feb. 3............................................................................. OVAC Feb. 6............................................................................. OVAC Feb. 13...............................................................at Steubenville All games at 7 p.m. unless noted

Harrison Career Center 82500 Cadiz Jewett Road Cadiz, OH 43907 (740) 942-2148


32

INSIDE THE PAINT

BUCKEYE LOCAL PANTHERS

By ANDREW GRIMM For Inside the Paint CONNORVILLE — The Buckeye Local girls basketball team has some big shoes to fill this season, but head coach Tom Figurski thinks his young group will be up to the challenge. The Panthers lose the the program’s alltime leading scoring in Emily Holzopfel, who

now plays basketball for Wheeling University. She finished her career with 2,007 points, was a first-team AllOhio, All-Disrtict 5 and All-Eastern District selection last year, averging 24 points per game. In her 91 career games, she recorded 627 rebounds, 218 steals, 167 assists and blocked 41 shots, while averaging 22 points per game. On top of her depar-

Dec. 2................................................................at Steubenville Dec. 9........................................................................at Edison Dec. 12...............................................................East Liverpool Dec. 16............................................................. at Beaver Local Dec. 19..................................................................Indian Creek Dec. 21....................................................... at Barnesville, noon Dec. 26......................................................................... Bellaire Dec. 28...........................vs. Harrison Central at Wheeling, TBA

ture, another special talent in Alaire Destifanes — who averaged about 15 points per game — also graduated from the program, along with Adie Sebring, Morgan Donley and Cameron Henry. There’ll just be one or two players to make up for the losses instead, and it will be by depth and committee. “You can’t really replace them. You can only

hope that the younger girls have learned from them,” Figurski said. “We lost five quality seniors last year. Emily and Alaire are unique talents and great ball players, but the other three seniors were, as well. They set a good example, both in practice and in the game, so we’re hoping that carries over with some of the younger girls this year. Offensively, when you give up

Dec. 30..........................................................at Monroe Central Jan. 2................................................................ at Union Local Jan. 6............................................................................Edison Jan. 9............................................................at East Liverpool Jan. 11................................................at Catholic Central, noon Jan. 13................................................................. Beaver Local Jan. 15............................................................at Martins Ferry Jan. 16..............................................................at Indian Creek

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

24 for Emily and 15 for Alaire, that’s 39 points a game to make up. You’re hoping that you can find three or four scorers to do that, and we honestly feel that we have that now. “We have 13 girls dressed for varsity, and any of the 13 can be in the game at any given time. We don’t just have one point guard — we have three point guards. We don’t just have one

shooting forward — we have three. We have two or three sets of post players this year. It’s going to be a revolving door, and the thing is we may rotate five in and five out.” With the losses, the Panthers do have a lot coming back. While teams of the past have lacked depth behind the stars, the depth of this version of the Panthers See BUCKEYE Page 36 ➪

Jan. 22.....................................................................Bridgeport Jan. 25............................................................. Buckeye 8, TBA Jan. 30.................................................................St. Clairsville Feb. 3.................................................................... OVAC, TBA Feb. 6.................................................................... OVAC, TBA Feb. 13................................................................Martins Ferry All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


INSIDE THE PAINT

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

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34

By SETH STASKEY For Inside The Paint

INSIDE THE PAINT

ST. CLAIRSVILLE (BOYS)

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The St. Clairsville Red Devils scored the ball with regularity during the 2018-19 season. St. Clairsville scored more than 75 points a game and eclipsed the century mark twice during the season . That offense helped fuel St. Clairsville to a solid 17-7 record under then first-year head coach Ryan Clifford. But, as preparations began for the upcoming season, Clifford has spent most of the summer and preseason stressing the other end of the court. “If we want to get to where we want to be, we have to guard better,” Clifford said matter of factly. “We were one of the better offensive teams (around) last year. Scoring 75 points a game should be good enough if you guard a little bit. We need to be better defensively.” The Red Devils worked on defensive approach in a physical and mental way. “We’ve done a lot of drills and we want to make games more physical and embrace contact,” Clifford said. “A lot of our guys aren’t just basketball players, but they’re fans of the sport, too. They watch games on TV and we’ve adopted a quote from (Warriors head coach) Steve Kerr that we’re going to use; ‘You must play with competitive greatness.’ We start almost every practice talking about how you can score all of the points you want, but without competitive greatness, you won’t advance.” On top of the efforts on the defensive end of the floor, Clifford pointed out some

other areas in which his team — and himself — need to improve. Clifford, who worked under his father Kim for many years, learned a lot during his first season at the helm, which saw St. C. win the Buckeye 8, play for the OVAC 4A title and advance to the district semifinal. “The thing you learn the most is the daily grind of (the season),” Clifford said. “We really played well early, and maybe my lack of experience of being at the helm, wore us a down a little bit. We treated every game like it was a game 7 situation and maybe we didn’t have the legs we needed at the end of the year. There’s a big difference in going to practice and being handed a practice schedule as compared to being the guy coming up with the practice schedule. It’s a long season and I need to pace myself better.” While the Red Devils will still employ many of the same principles offensively, the players executing the plan will be much different. Gone from last year’s squad are OVAC All-Star Game participants Craig Bober and Matt Busby along with prolific shooter David Lane, three-year starter Justin Heatherington, Greg Norman and Broc Crist. Those players equated to 69 percent of the Red Devils’ scoring a season ago. On top of that, those players helped make Clifford’s transition to head coach relatively “seamless.” “I was lucky having a team that was senior dominated in my first year,” Clifford said. “When you have an older team, you don’t have to

St. Clairsville boys basketball schedule Dec. 3...................................................................Martins Ferry Dec. 6................................................................... at Barnesville Dec. 10................................................................. at Union Local Dec. 13..............................................................Harrison Central Dec. 17....................................................................... at Bellaire Dec. 21...............................................Oak Glen (at OUE), 6 p.m.

say things more than once or twice. They get it and understand what you’re talking about.” Though St. Clairsville is facing the task of replacing those players and breaking in as many as three new starters, Clifford remains upbeat. “We don’t ever feel like we have time to rebuild, per se,” Clifford said. “We owe it to this current group of seniors to do the things we did last year and more. We always want to play with urgency because it’s always someone’s senior year. We won’t use inexperience or youth as an excuse. The guys we have back and are expecting to take over those roles are anxious to prove themselves and erase the bad taste from our (tournament) loss.” The Red Devils began the process of adjusting to the their new cast by playing a lot in the summer against as stiff of competition as they could find. “Our kids put as much time in as anyone in the summer,” Clifford said. “And we couldn’t have had a better summer. We really challenged these kids.” Offensively, the faces may have changed in spots, but the approach remains the same. “We will be skilled offensively and play fast,” Clif-

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

ford said. “We have pretty good numbers on our roster and I attribute some of that to the style to play. Kids want to be a part of it because it’s a fun style.” Another area in which Clifford believes he needs to improve himself is with his substitution patterns. “We’re going to play a bunch of guys and it might be someone different each night (leading us),” Clifford said. “I didn’t sub well enough last year, but we don’t have a lot of difference from players three through nine. We need our guys to be unselfish.” The two Red Devils with the most experience and return to the starting lineup are seniors Brett Vike (6-0) and Nate Harris (5-7). Vike blossomed for St. C. last season, scoring 13.2 points a game, ranking third on the team behind only Bober and Busby. He also knocked down 68, 3-point goals, which is third all time in a single season in St. C. history. “Brett had an outstanding season,” Clifford said. “He did a great job of shooting the ball and we’re now looking at him as more of a leader. He has the ability to be a really good defender.” With Harris returning, the Red Devils’ floor general is back. He scored just over five points a game, but brought a lot of intangibles. “Nate has a million hours invested in the gym and we expect him to score more for us,” Clifford said. “It’s not hyperbole to say I’ve not seen a player who wants to be good as badly as Nate does. He could not have had a better offseason.” Junior Will Balgo (6-1) saw

Decp. 23..................................................................Indian Creek Dec. 30...........................................................................at River Jan. 3...............................................................at Martins Ferry Jan. 7..............................................................................Brooke Jan. 10..................................................................... Union Local Jan. 14..........................................................at Harrison Central Jan. 17........................................................................... Bellaire

limited action a season ago, appearing in 10 games. His role will increase greatly this winter as he’s expected to be a starter and impact player. “Will brings some physicality and he’s very skilled,” Clifford said. “He’s a four man who can play away from the basket. He shoots the ball well and brings a presence that we might have missed last year.” The Red Devils will boast a true center on the floor with sophomore Avery Henry (6-7) roaming in the paint. Senior Cade Wolfe (5-9) is coming off an outstanding soccer season for the Devils and will be looked upon to play significant minutes. Three sophomores will be heavily in the mix for valuable minutes, too. They are Ryan McCort (5-11), Colin Oberdick (5-11) and Drew Sefsick (5-11). Junior Jovahn McKennan (6-1) is a transfer from Martins Ferry, who Clifford believes will be able to contribute as well. “We feel like we have a lot of guys who can make shots, so (playing time) is going to come down to guarding,” Clifford said. “If you can guard, you can play. The guys who separate themselves will be the ones who can lock someone down when we need it.” Juniors vying for time are Braden Roski (6-0) and Robbie Cain (6-0). The balance of the sophomore class, which will be ticketed primarily for jayvee duty are Saul Crist (5-10), Matt Ponzani (5-8), Hayden Smith (5-11), Andy Schmidt (6-0), Carson Woodford (5-11), Joey Balgo (5-11), Jacob Jordan (5-7) and Jacob Saffell (5-9).

Jan. 18................................................................. East Liverpool Jan. 21................................................................. at Steubenville Jan. 24..................................................................John Marshall Jan. 29............................................................. Wheeling Central Feb. 4..........................................................................at Brooke Feb. 11-16........................................................OVAC tournament Feb. 20................................................................. Wheeling Park


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

INSIDE THE PAINT

35

Steubenville ally good spring and summer in AAU ball and was poised to have an outstanding season for us. It just breaks my heart for her and her family that she is not going to play this year.” As a sophomore, the 5-foot10 Abram averaged 16.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game. She was a first-team All-Eastern District pick and a finalist for the Division II player of the year. “The girls and the coaching staff obviously are upset — mainly just for Makayla,” Lombardo said. “At the same time, we all realize it’s time to get to work. There’s no next man up. We have to focus on working together as a group. “We need to find a way to make up for her 16 points, her rebounds and her other contributions. One girl can’t do that alone. It’s going to take a collective effort.” Fields, a 5-10 senior, has been a key contributor for Big Red

since her freshman season. As a junior, she averaged 13.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per outing. She accounted for 11.5 points a game as a sophomore. Fields earned second-team All-Eastern District honors a season ago. “She’s so reliable and such a solid player for us,” Lombardo said of Fields. “If we get the ball to her in the post, she is going to score. “Obviously, having Makayla in the lineup helps Madison. With us not having her, teams might tend to focus more on stopping Madison. So far in our scrimmages, we have done a good job of getting her involved in the offense. She works hard, and she’s going to get her 13-14 points a game.” Other senior letterwinners on Lombardo’s roster are guard Myla Gulan, guard/forward Anaiya Minniefield and post Sydney LaRue. Juniors returning include

Anna Taylor, Mary Marshall and Aubrey Thompson. Other juniors in the mix for playing time are Gianna Hill and Samaria Blackwell. Sophomore Elexis Martin, who scored right around six points per game last year, returns to the fold. Maggie Cucarese, another sophomore, is on the varsity roster along with promising freshman Kylie Maxwell. “We do have some real outside scoring threats,” Lombardo said. “Gulan probably is our best returning shooter. Martin and Taylor are solid shooters, and Minniefield has really improved her shot. Cucarese is a solid addition for us, and Marshall is an outstanding mid-range shooter. Thompson is a threat when she looks to score and the freshman, Maxwell, has a nice outside shot, as well. “The strength of our team this year is going to be our depth. Losing Makayla stinks,

but we still have depth. We are fortunate to have a lot of girls who can play. Now, it’s a matter of figuring out who is going to score. Makayla is a natural scorer — she gets points even without something being designed for her. The coaching staff is working harder now, trying to determine where it can look to generate a little more offense.” A season ago, Big Red posted a 13-10 record. It topped St. Clairsville in a Division II sectional game, before falling to River View in the sectional championship contest. Key losses from last year were guards Leah Ferguson and Makayla Crownover. Ferguson manned the point guard position for Lombardo, and he expects Thompson to take over those duties. “She can handle the pressure,” Lombardo said of Thompson. “She is a true point guard. With her in that spot, it will make running our offense a lot

Continued from Page 22 easier. She definitely can control the basketball.” Lombardo, who again is being assisted by Melissa Bowers, has 20 girls involved in his program. Big Red, a Class 5A program by OVAC standards, has several new opponents on its schedule, including Linsly, Toronto and Fort Frye. “The injury to Makayla doesn’t change our outlook for the season,” Lombardo said. “We still have high expectations. We have a lot of good players with experience. We no longer are that young, inexperienced team. Our core group has lettered now for the last couple of years. The girls are capable of having real success even with Makayla gone. “To do that, we have to be much better defensively. We’ve been working hard in practice on our defense. Our focus is to have our defense create our offense. We really want to push the ball up the court this season.”

AAU ball during the spring and summer and attended a number of camps. She really has improved her offensive game.” The other seniors are 6-0 post Hannah Olszewski, who hauled down 10.8 rebounds per game last season, point guard Carly Fayak and forward Edy Harold. Olszewski and Fayak are two-year starters, and Harold was the first person off Looman’s bench. “We lost two outstanding players who combined for 33 points a game,” Looman said. “During the summer and fall, we really challenged our seniors to step up, provide the leadership we need and fill the point void. In our first three scrimmages and our preseason practices, we have seen our seniors really develop. We need that to continue once the season gets rolling since we will be relying heavily on them to lead the way. “Hannah has the opportunity to be a real force in the paint for us. Carly is our floor general and was second on our teams

in assists last year behind Dombrowski. Edy is extremely aggressive and battles for us under the boards. We need all three of them to become offensive threats, and they’re capable of doing so.” The two players lost to graduation were guards Julia Zatta and Christine Dombrowski. Zatta averaged 18.4 points a game and was named the District 5 Division IV player of the year. She also gained first team All-Eastern District honors and was special All-Ohio. Dombrowski contributed 15 points per contest. She earned second-team all-district honors and was honorable mention on the All-Ohio team. “We have seven returning letterwinners, and we’re excited to see what this season holds, especially for our senior leaders,” Looman said. “The program we believe is heading in the right direction, and the girls want to keep the winning tradition we’ve developed going.” The other returning let-

terwinners are junior guards Morgan Green and Ali Grimm, along with sophomore guard/ forward Katie Zatta. “Morgan and Katie both are capable of filling the fifth starting position,” Looman said. “They both have worked hard to improve their games, and they’ll both have to score for us. Ali provides us with some nice depth at the guard spot.” Others vying for varsity playing time are juniors Kaylee Kirkpatrick and Tina Dong, along with promising freshman Ellen Rohde. They are forwards. “We really have been focusing on three items during the preseason — defense, shooting and conditioning,” Looman said. “We need to be extremely strong on the defensive end, especially until we find our scorers. We need our defense to create our offense. Our goal is to score points in transition. “We spend a lot of time on shooting drills, and we have seen some success in that area during our scrimmages. Since

our varsity numbers will be low, our girls understand the need to be in great condition, and they’ve been working very hard in that area.” Junior Bri DeChristoper, who was being counted on to help in the post, suffered a knee injury in soccer and will miss the season. Central’s roster has 17 players, including eight freshmen. “That’s the largest number of freshmen we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Looman said. “There is some talent in that class and some nice size. The freshmen still have plenty to learn, but they have been working hard and are showing improvement. We’re excited to be able to play full JV games this season.” As is generally the case, Central will play a challenging schedule. The Crusaders will face Big Red, Madonna, Weir High, Toronto and Oak Glen, along with newcomer Carrollton. Looman’s club will again participate in the Brooke tipoff classic in early December.

Continued from Page 24 “Our schedule is tough, no doubt about it,” Looman said. “We’ll face difficult challenges each time we step onto the court. We saw most of our opponents at some point during the summer, and they’ve all gotten better. I think our girls are hungry and ready to succeed as a team. “As far as goals go, we want to again qualify for the OVAC tournament and hopefully reach the championship game. We also want to do well enough during the regular season to earn a home sectional game.” Natasha Canella, who previously served on Looman’s staff, has returned as junior varsity coach. Rachel Rigaud and Ed Looman are staff holdovers. “We’re excited to have Natasha back after a two-year hiatus,” Looman said. “She’s an outstanding teacher and does a good job with the younger girls. “I’m grateful to have Rach and Ed back. We work well together, and they provide me with some very valuable assistance.”

Central


INSIDE THE PAINT

36

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

Madonna to step up quick. Some of them saw considerable playing time at the varsity level last year, and they all played 25 games in the summer league at Wheeling where they held their own against some pretty good teams from a lot bigger schools.” Andrea Alimario, a fouryear letterwinner, was the star of the team last year, scoring at the rate of 15 points a game. She earned second-team allstate laurels when it was over. Also graduating are Rachel Boniti, Rodney Boniti’s daughter (who gained honorable mention all-state), Gia Riccadonna, Gabbie Staffileno and Makalya Virden. “That group last year had something that you can’t coach,” Rodney Boniti said. “They had chemistry, chemistry from playing together six or seven years. They were close friends with each other, and they brought that chemistry every night in practice and

to every game.” Expected to be the scoring leader this year will be senior Kennedy Martin who, at 6-foot1, will be a four-year starter. She, along with Madison Costello, are the only seniors on the squad. Martin was the second-leading scorer a year ago, averaging about 10 points a game and also was the top rebounder. She also was named honorable mention all-state. Junior Jazzy Melnyk returns as a two-year starter, but she missed a good portion of her freshman season with a knee injury. Others being counted on to fill those holes are sophomore Vanessa Alatis and junior Michaela Battista, who will replace Rachel Boniti at point guard. Others who saw plenty of playing time last year are sophomore Anna Backel, along with juniors Marianna Martinez and Alaina Moore. Martinez, who stands at 5-9, and Moore, a 6-footer,

are capable backups for Martin in the post. “All of these letterwinners are very talented. I’m confident that this basketball team will pick up where last year’s group left off,” Rodney Boniti said. “We will be one of the few Class A girls teams that has three 6-footers. We have a freshman, Landry Bone, that also goes 6-feet tall. However, she is injured and probably won’t be able to join the team until late December. Despite Rodney Boniti’s excitement about the size of his team, outside shooting could be a concern. “With our size, most of the teams we play will be defending our bigs, which should leave our guards with open shots from outside,” he said. “We’ve been working hard in practice with the medium-range and long-range shooting, and so far I like what I see.

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“We have challenged the girls to play defense. Our big girls can run so we want to play up tempo defense. I believe that defense wins games.” Costello is returning to the Blue Dons after sitting out the last two years. She played as a freshman. Juniors Brianna Glosser and Adrianna Lenhart are small forwards. Freshman Julia Wingett, daughter of assistant coach Cory Wingett, is working out at power forward and the post. “We believe that this year’s team has the talent to be interchangeable at a lot of positions,” Rodney Boniti said. “Most of them have improved their ball-handling skills and are able to transfer between guard and forward. That should make our team difficult to defend. “Already, some of our veteran girls are providing leadership, and I can see this team beginning to meld together..

Buckeye

might just end up being a strength. “We only have one senior, four juniors, seven sophomores and 11 freshmen,” Figurski said. “Of course, we’re hoping that Brooke Roski returns to form. She’s our only senior. She got hurt in the Buckeye 8 championship game (last year). She’s looking strong this year. Megan Valuska was an integral part of our team last year and, of course, Demetria Christian, a sophomore, was an integral part of our team last year. We’re hoping for them to step up. “We have Landyn Walker, another junior, that played a lot of varsity and did a lot scoring for us. We’re hoping she can step up quite a bit. We have a couple other sophomores and freshmen that will be challenging for varsity time this year.” The influx of talent is something he has seen coming for a while in the program, and it is something that doesn’t appear to be coming to an end any time soon. With that, don’t just expect it to be a rebuilding year — the Panthers are still there to win. “I tell you what, the girls basketball program here at Buckeye Local, even down into the third and fourth grade,

Continued from Page 25 When I took over the program three years ago, the numbers and the morale were down. But, last year and now, we have nothing but great players with great attitudes. They all work together in the weight room and doing their skills and drills. I am very proud of the way these girls put forth the effort in the offseason. Besides Cory Wingett, who coaches the jayvee team, Rodney Boniti has longtime friend and assistant coach Dave Lammers on his staff. “I think they learned that from last year’s team, and they saw it first hand how being in condition can go a long way toward winning games over the long season,” Rodney Boniti said. “I think we’ll have the inside game with Martin and Martinez. The small forwards, I’m just hoping our young guards can step up, and we can find consistency with our outside shooting.”

Continued from Page 32 has talent coming up,” he said. “We don’t look at this as a rebuilding year. We are going to compete this year. Yeah, we are going to have youth, but we have expectations. These girls have expectations for themselves. The bar has been set, so the thing is we want to come out and compete this year, and we feel like we have a good opportunity to. “We have more size. We have more depth than we have really had in the last four or five years. We’re really excited about that.” Last year’s team finished 10-13 after an 8-2 start. It suffered a nine-game losing skid and bowed out to Union Local in the tournament. This time around, Figurski’s expected starting group looks will consist of Christian at point guard, Landyn Walker and Valuska at forward, and freshman Janayah Wither and junior Hannah Crane in the post. Do not expect that to stay the same, though, as it will be a rotation, and players will move positions. “Young but talented is what I like to call this group this year,” Figurski said. “It’s multidimensional, and evSee BUCKEYE Page 46 ➪


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

By JOSH STROPE For Inside The Paint

WHEELING PARK (BOYS)

WHEELING — Wheeling Park will return one starter this season — but he is a pretty good one. Alex Vargo averaged 19.2 points per game last season, while adding 9.2 rebounds. He enters his final season with 967 career points and 441 rebounds. But more than his scoring, he will be asked to be more of a leader this season, something Patriots coach Micheal Jebbia

said has already started. “He has added some weight and the biggest thing is a I think he has improved his foot speed, his ballhandling is even better than it was a year ago,” Jebbia said. “Every year is different and last year we had a big group of seniors. This year we have four seniors that have been with us. Alex’s leadership skills will be a big key for us.” Vargo, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward is coming off a stellar season

Wheeling Park boys basketball schedule Dec. 13..................................................................Meadowbrook Dec. 14........................................................ Buckhannon-Upshur Dec. 17.......................................................................University Dec. 19................................................................... Parkersburg Dec. 27................................................................. at Musselman Jan. 2.........................................................................at Brooke

By JOSH STROPE For Inside The Paint

INSIDE THE PAINT

in which he was first team all-state in Class AAA, as well as an All-Valley first-teamer and selected as the captain of the Big School squad. He has a stellar running mate last season in Keondre King, who graduated and is playing at WVU Tech. Now Vargo will be even more the focus of the offense and how well he is able to get others involved could be key to how the Patriots fare this season. “We lost incredible seniors, good people,

good athletes,” Jebbia said. “Replacing them is going to be difficult. But having Alex, he is one of the best basketball players in the state and a nice piece to build around. “Alex, he is going to draw all kinds of defense and double-teams, and if he can get these other guys some baskets, that will help our team. Some of these guys are looking to step up and help the load. We have four solid seniors to lead the way.” While Vargo is the

Jan. 3...................................................................Chapmanville Jan. 7................................................................. at Steubenville Jan. 11.............................................................at John Marshall Jan. 14..............................................................at Meadowbrook Jan. 17.............................................................at Martins Ferry Jan. 21............................................................................Brooke Jan. 24................................................................at Morgantown

only starter returning, the Patriots won’t be short on experience as the seniors that will step into the starting lineup have seen plenty of playing time. Xavier Morris (61, guard) played a key role off the bench and will get his first crack at being a full-time player. Dustin VanSickle is a 6-4 forward and a big body that will help inside. Travis Zimmerman is tied with Vargo for the tallest player at 6-6. He didn’t play last

37

season, but started nine games as a sophomore and is a solid defender and rebounder. The biggest addition to the lineup may come in the form of point guard D.J. Saunders. A 6-foot junior, Saunders started a number of games last season at Wheeling Central “D.J. Saunders, even though this is his first year, I expect him to have a leadership role at the point guard,” Jebbia said. “He has leadership qualities See BOYS Page 40 ➪

Jan. 28.................................................................John Marshall Jan. 30.......................................................... Parkersburg South Feb. 4........................................................................University Feb. 7.....................................................................Morgantown Feb. 18.....................................................................at Oak Glen Feb. 20.............................................................. at St. Clairsville Feb. 22...........................................................................Preston

WHEELING PARK (GIRLS)

WHEELING — After three-straight trips to Charleston for the state tournament, just getting to the state capital is no longer the goal. Wheeling Park has put itself in the conversation as one of the top girls’ basketball programs in the state. But two straight semifinal exits have left a sour taste in its mouth. Coach Ryan Young says being in Charles-

ton is now the norm. The goals are much higher. “This team has the potential to be good,” Young said. “I say potential because I think we still have a lot of work to do on the defensive end. I think the girls are hungry and they want to get better. They come focused every day. “From a talent standpoint, in my six years, this is the most talent we’ve had. Is that going to translate into us getting to where some

Wheeling Park girls basketball schedule Dec. 5...................................................................John Marshall Dec. 7...................................................................at Park. South Dec. 9..............................................................................Brooke Dec. 11.................................................................... Parkersburg Dec. 13........................................................................ Fort Frye Dec. 19....................................................................at University

of my other teams have been defensively, I hope so, I think so, we will see how it goes. “Our goal is to certainly not just go to Charleston. We need to get to Saturday. This is hopefully four years we get a shot at it. We don’t want to go home on Wednesday or Thursday. We are ready to take the next step.” Leading the way for the Patriots is 5-foot-5 shooting guard Shanley Woods. The senior was

named second team all-state and first team All-Valley last season after scoring 17.8 points per game with 88 3-pointers. She was 46 percent from beyond the arc and a 90 percent free-throw shooter “The thing about Shanley’s numbers last year, not only did she score 18 points per game, but she did it at a really high shooting percentage,” Young said. “She shot over 40 percent from 3, almost 50 percent from the

Dec. 28........................................................................ Shadyside Jan. 7..................................................................at Morgantown Jan. 9..........................................................................at Brooke Jan. 11..............................................................at John Marshall Jan. 13................................................................at Indian Creek Jan. 14................................................................................ Weir Jan. 16.....................................................................Morgantown

floor. She works at her craft. With her size, she knows she has to work to score and we expect her do that. I think we are going to have a little more help with the scoring this year, as well. Kids like Asia Roby, Lindsey Garrison and Bella Abernathy will pick up the scoring and take the pressure off Shanley.” Woods leads a group of four seniors that also features Abby Snedeker (5-6 forward), Kieran Johnson (5-6 forward)

and Daisy Reasbeck (510) center. Woods, Snedeker, Johnson and Abernathy were starters last year, with the only starter not returning being Emily Pavlic. Young is not ready to name starters for this season as he feels any different night, any of his players could open the game. Taking Pavlic’s place on the floor will be a familiar face in Asia Roby. See GIRLS Page 42 ➪

Jan. 18......................................................................Park. South Jan. 22........................................................................University Jan. 24...................................................................at Huntington Jan. 25...................................................... at George Washington Jan. 29.................................................................... at Zanesville Jan. 31...................................................................... Musselman Feb.14.................................................................at Buck-Upshur


INSIDE THE PAINT

38

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INSIDE THE PAINT

39

Creek our next opponent is, that’s our focus. “We’re also looking to get better every single day. Our record will take care of itself, as long as we’re playing the way we want to play and keep getting better every day. That’s what we’ve been talking about all preseason.” Most of the players on the roster witnessed firsthand the bad ending, so experience is key. Unfortunately, the varsity roster is only eight deep. Five seniors picked up their diplomas, and Eft is looking for players to replace them. They are Mackenzie Orban, Tera Parrish (who is an assistant this year), Taylor Scott, Haylie Scott and Kacie Vandeborne. “We had five really good seniors last year,” Eft said. “We’re going to miss all of them because they are great kids that come from great families, and they contributed a lot to the program. They got better every year, and the records got better. We’re grateful for what they gave to the program. We’re really missing them so far with leadership and overall toughness.” Eft’s top returning players are juniors Taylor Jones and Kylie Kiger, who also are the top returning scorers. Kiger, a guard, led with 9.9 points per game, along with 42 assists and 62 steals. She also hit 20 3-point field goals, shot 42 percent

from the floor and 74 percent from the foul line. Jones struggled to begin last season but finished strong. The forward averaged nine points and 7.2 rebounds per contest. “We’re really going to lean on them this year to do a lot of different things. They both put in a lot of time over the summer,” Eft said. “(Jones) had a strong finish to the year, and she had a good offseason. She put in a lot of time in the offseason and has looked strong so far.” Junior Mackenzie Taylor is expected to start at the other forward position. Senior guards Ally Tweedy and Sloan Lewis bring a lot of speed and are looking for starting roles, as well as junior forward Abby Copeland. “Kylie is moving over to the one so we can get her the ball more,” Eft said. “Clark and Tweedy also will help out in that department. All three are interchangeable when it comes to bringing the ball down. We have confidence in all three of them. “Abby Copeland has had a really strong preseason. She’s really pushing for a starting spot. I’m going to have a tough time getting her off the floor. If she ends up the sixth man, you won’t be able to tell because once she gets in, she’s probably not going to leave the floor.” The other varsity players are junior guard Hailey Clark and freshman Abigail Starkey. Two

sophomores and five freshmen make the JV roster. “We’re still struggling for depth right now,” Eft said. “Abigail is a freshman, but she’s earned a spot. She’s put a lot of time in the game. She’s been around this summer, and we think she can really help us out with depth. We’re looking for the younger girls to step up. We only have eight on varsity right now, but hopefully we’ll get to 10 soon. We’re getting there. “We don’t have a whole lot of size. We have length, but we’re not overly big. There will be times where we’re going to have to play small, and our guards are really going to have to put pressure on the ball. We’re going to rely heavily on our ball pressure like we did last year and just cause havoc with our guards.” Assisting Eft will be Parrish and Ron Tweedy.

thers will be their towering size and athleticism. “Even our guards are above 6-foot. Hunter and Luke are 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5. Jacob Moffo is 6-foot-3, Jake Mayley 6-foot2,” Heaton said. “Hopefully, that is one thing we can use to our advantage. We also have a pretty quick team, so size and speed are two things we hope to be able to use. We hope to get the ball out and push it a little bit. We want to pressure some teams and hope to put them in to BIG AND ATHLETIC bad situations and create some The main stengths the Pan- havoc.

“We have some athletes. They like to jump. They like to run around. That is another thing we hope to be able to use to our advantage.”

BEEFING UP Because Eft wants to finish stronger, he beefed up the schedule. He admitted it was what it was last year being his first year as the head boss but has a better grasp. “It’s very competitive, and we made a few changes this year,” he said. “We picked up Boardman, which is a bigger school, Minerva and Carrollton. We beefed up the schedule and probably is the most competitive since I’ve been here.

It’ll be a challenge, but it will get us to be better and stronger for the tournaments. “We just reached a point in the season (last year) where it was a tough stretch of games. We came out on the wrong end of a lot them, unfortunately. We just didn’t play well at the wrong time. Hopefully, we can be more consistent this year. We’ve been preaching consistency the entire preseason. So far in our scrimmages, we’ve played really well at times and played really bad at times.” UNDER PRESSURE A trademark for the Redskins, at least in the previous two seasons, is their pressure defense. When they were winning a year ago, they held opponents to low scoring figures. When the wheels began to fall off, scores were at their highest point. Eft is sticking with his manto-man defense but may switch off to zone every now and then, mainly because he only has eight players on the roster. Changing to zone could help the Redskins stay out of foul trouble. “We prefer to play man-toman and take teams out of their comfort range. We don’t want them to get too comfortable offensively,” Eft said. “We struggled to get stops, especially late in the season. We’ve gone back to the basics with some of

Continued from Page 26 our defensive schemes because we definitely struggled to get stops. We all need to be on the same page. “Rebounding has to be a priority this year. If Jones or Taylor go down or get into foul trouble, everybody has to rebound. All five on the floor have to focus on rebounding. That’s definitely been a point of emphasis.” WHAT NEEDS MORE WORK Defense was not the only reason for the late struggles. Indian Creek had rough times at the foul line. Overall, it was 238 for 430, a percentage of just 55. Besides Kiger, nobody shot better than 63 percent. Eft believes it was a mental aspect more than physical. He hopes it can become an asset in the near future. GOALS Indian Creek’s goals are the same for many high school teams. It wants to win the Buckeye 8, OVAC and its section. Last year, the Redskins failed to win a game in all three tournaments. “These girls have been around and have a lot of varsity experience. The expectations are high with the coaching staff and the players,” Eft said. “That being said, our main focus daily it to get better. We write it down and put it on the bulletin board.”

Panthers two have to offer, as well” Assisting Heaton are Neal McCormick and Cameron McKim. “We’re just going to take it one game at a time. If we can be 1-0 each game, we’ve done our job for that day,” Heaton said. “If we can take it one game at a time, I have all the confidence in these kids that they know the expectation is around here and, hopefully, they can live up to their potential.”

NEEDS WORK One thing that hurt the young Panthers last season was turning the ball over. With added experience, that is something Heaton expects to see make improvements this season. “I hope we can take care of the basketball this year. Turnovers were one of the things that really hurt us last year,” he

Continued from Page 14 knows his team has its work cut out for it. “Schedule wise, we’ve added Steubenville Central for a game, and our schedule is tough with the teams up north — Beaver, Creek, Edison, East Liverpool — and then the Buckeye 8 south teams with Ferry, Bellaire and Union Local. Our schedule is going to be difficult at times,” he said. “Hopefully, we can get out of the gate strong early and get SCHEDULING TOUGH some wins early, get some moPlaying in the Buckeye 8 and mentum and build confidence with additions to the out-of-con- with the kids and keep the ball ference schedule, Heaton rolling.” said. “Being young, you expect that, but hopefully we can clean that up a little bit and rebound the basketball. “Hopefully, we can get quality looks. I think that is one of the things that can make a difference is that we know what a good shot is and what a bad shot is so we can take more good shots than bad shots and put the ball in the hole a little bit more.”


INSIDE THE PAINT

40

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

Brooke while Jordan Arca is back after taking a year off. Both are guards. “(Ashley Arca) has a nice drive to the basket, and we kind of lacked that last year,” Amy Serevicz said. “She’s a true ball handler, and Chloe (Fox) was forced to go from the two to a one. Ashley can get free on the press. She’s quick and has that to go along with the hands. She had the opportunity to play travel ball this summer to get the opportunity to adjust. The injury hasn’t hindered much so far. “Jordan played her freshmen and sophomore years, varsity time both years. She’s a hustler and can definitely contribute. Jordan plays a little more aggressive on the boards than Ashley, but Jordan’s more on the defensive end, while Ashley’s more on the offensive. So, they do compliment each

other in that aspect.” Ashley Arca will be starting, while Jordan Arca is up in the air. In fact, everyone on the roster has a chance for starting minutes. “I don’t have a set starting lineup,” Amy Serevicz said. “Ashley definitely will be the point guard, but I don’t have anything set right now. I’ve been working by myself. I don’t have any assistants right now, as well as five or six girls that never played basketball before. I’ve been trying to put the varsity and jayvee teams together, and it’s been trying. I’m hoping I’ll have at least two assistants before the season starts. I live at this school and inside this gym.” Besides the Arcas, the other senior is Natalie Ryan, who is one of two Bruins that is a returning starter. “As the year went on, she

really shined and upped her game,” Amy Serevicz said. “She’ll be a team leader on the court, as well as off the court. The younger girls really take to Natalie. She’ll give you everything she’s got every game.” There are five juniors on the roster, and they are Lydia Buchmelter (the other returning starter), Adeyah Frazier, Brenna Weir, Ana Cecilia DeCastro and Haylee Orban. Amy Serevicz expects a lot from Buchmelter, as well as improvement from Weir and Orban. “Lydia’s another kid that’ll go out there and give you everything she has,” Amy Serevicz said. “She was kind of thrown into a starting position last year and handled it very well. She’s just an athlete. She’s a good soccer player, too. She’s that type of kid you’re going to find in the gym and on the soccer field during the offsea-

D O O G LUCK

Continued from Page 27 she is leading her team in a new direction, mainly to overcome Bowman’s absence. “The plays have all changed. We’re moving into new plays they have never done before, but they’re picking them up very well,” she said. “I know we’re kind of known in the valley for not running set offenses. Well, that’s because we had kids we could run the offense around. This year, everybody’s going to be in on the offense.” On the other side, expect to see different defensive schemes. “In the past, we always ran a 2-3 defense. You’ll probably see that again, but we’ve also been working on man defense,” Amy Serevicz said. “We’ve lacked at that in the past, but with all of the littles that I have CHANGING THINGS UP and the speed, I think I have Although Amy Serevicz has the man power to run the man spent a lot of time at Brooke, this year.” son, and nobody told her to be there.” Out of the four sophomores on the squad, the two who stand out are Madison Platt and Emilee Knorr. Both earned a letter last year. “(Madison) is a nice two guard and has a nice 3-point shot,” Amy Serevicz said. “Not a bad little defensive player, but she adjusted well to the speed of the game last year. I expect the same this year. “Emilee can handle the ball and play defense well. She’s also a hustler and can rebound.” Besides Bolen and Bailey Serevicz, the other freshmen are Angelina Lippoli, Izabella Jordan, Emily Stowell and Hannah Buterbaugh (a transfer during the summer).

Boys Continued from Page 37

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you can’t teach. His passing skills are very good. “He has gotten along well with the guys. He likes playing with them. He went to Triadelphia Middle School with a lot of them so has been friends with them for a while.” Shaheed Jackson (5-8, junior guard), Sincere Sinclair (6-0, junior forward) and Beau Heller (5-9, junior guard) will also look to play some key minutes this season. Other candidates for the varsity team include juniors Jack Lewton (6-1), Ron-nell Chatman (6-1), Nate Hairston (6-3) and sophomore Dorian Smelley (6-1). “We are losing close to 103 3-point baskets so we may be a team that doesn’t shoot as many 3s, but we are a little bit bigger and longer,” Jebbia said. “Xavier Morris is fully capable of scoring baskets. We have Travis and Dustin inside. Beau Heller and Sincere Sinclair and will come off the bench and provide a spark. “We are going to look a little different with some newer guys, but they are athletes and they can play.” Jebbia, entering his 14th season

(214-106), is assisted by Gene Ammirante, Jerry Ammirante and Terry Payne. Shaun Black and Josh Yost are the freshman coaches. Sarge Cordery is the equipment manager. Wheeling Park plays its usual brutal schedule, including two games against defending Class AAA champion University, as well as Class AAA foe Morgantown. The Patriots opened the season in the annual Sam Andy Classic with Meadowbrook and return to WesBanco Arena to face defending Class AA champion Chapmanville (52-game winning streak against West Virginia opponents) in the Cancer Research Classic.


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

INSIDE THE PAINT

ST. CLAIRSVILLE (GIRLS)

By KIM NORTH For Inside The Paint

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The St. Clairsville girls basketball program has played for the OVAC Class 4A championship in two of the last three seasons, losing both times by a total of four points. “So close, but yet so far,” veteran Red Devil head coach Stacey Agnew said. “We need to learn how to finish games. We need to be able to finish.” St. Clairsville has qualified for the Final Four in three of the past four seasons. If Agnew and the Red Devils are going to keep that trend alive, they will have to do it with a youth movement. Of the five returning letterwinners, only two are seniors — Katie Strama (5-7) and Keri Klinkoski (5-8). The others are junior Macy Malin (5-5) and sophomores Shae Brookover (5-5) and Alexis Thoburn (5-7). “We’ve got a nice nucleus of girls coming back. It seems like we’re lettering freshmen every year now, so that gives us a lot of experience back, which always helps,” he said. “Experience always comes in handy. “Those younger girls got a lot of game experience last year. Alexis even won a game for us at the buzzer.” Strama is the Red Devils leader when she

is healthy. The two-year letterwinner missed her freshman season with an ankle injury and was sidelined late last year when she injured her knee. “Katie was playing fantastic before she got hurt,” Agnew said. “She still earned honorable mention all-state. She’s probably about 60 percent right now, but she’s improving every day. She’s the motor that makes us go. The last four games before she got hurt she was averaging around 20 points, 8 rebounds and 5-6 assists. “She really came a long way from her sophomore year to her junior year. We’re looking for her to raise her game to another level this season. She’s a strong player. She has the intangibles that you can’t really teach.” Klinkoski will provide the Red Devils with some much-needed inside production, but she’s also capable of stepping out and knocking down a shot. “Keri does a nice job. She’s lanky and has been playing for four years now,” Agnew said. “She’s starting to pick up the inside moves, but she can also shoot the 3.” She averaged 12 points a season ago. Malin, who was a standout in soccer, will handle the point guard duties this season. “We’re looking for Macy to handle the ball

St. Clairsville girls basketball schedule Nov. 26................................................................... Barnesville Dec. 5............................................................. Harrison Central Dec. 9............................................................. at Martins Ferry Dec. 12..........................................................................Bellaire Dec. 16....................................................................... at Brooke Dec. 19............................................................... at Union Local Dec. 28..........................Barnesville (at Harrison Central), noon Dec. 30................................................................ John Marshall Jan. 2......................................................... at Harrison Central Jan. 6................................................................. Martins Ferry

more this season. She was a leader for the soccer team, so hopefully that carries over to basketball. That happens a lot of times in sports,” he said. Agnew said Malin will also be counted on to guard the opponent’s top player. “She will be our top defender,” Agnew said. “She’s a hard-nosed player who loves to compete.” Thoburn started a majority of last season and provides a quality outside shot. “She’s a shooter,” Agnew said. “She needs to work on her feet, but they all do. We’ve got quite a few soccer players. I wished they all played soccer because it makes your footwork really good.” Brookover also was a spot starter a year ago. “She will be another ballhandler for us,” Agnew said. “She is also a good outside shooter. We’ll need her to rely on that outside shot this season.” Rounding out the varsity roster will be seniors Emma Haley (5-10) and Olivia Robinson (5-5), along with sophomores Sydney Miller (5-6), Annie Stroud (5-5), Kadaira Fordyce (5-6) and Mylie Gardner (5-4); and freshman Megan Malin (5-7). “Emma is going to supply us with some inside strength,” Agnew said. “Olivia is a spark-

plug. She’s worked hard and played a lot of JV ball last year. “The five young girls are going to have to step up when they are called upon,” he continued. “They are all talented, but they are also young.” Lost to graduation were Rileigh Simpson, Maria Vincenzo and Kassidy Stephens. The Red Devils finished 14-8 last year and, according to Agnew, a “challenging schedule” awaits his squad. “There are a lot of good teams out there this season,” he said. “We’ve picked up Brooke for two games and we’ve also got John Marshall on this year. “We’re not very big, but we are quick with a lot of guards. Our outside shooting will be a key and our team defense, as a whole, should be better.” Ticketed for JV action are sophomores Brooke Chamberlain (5-6), Emily Thompson (5-5) and Tionna Alexander (5-4), along with freshmen Maddie Sadler (5-7), Gianna Nardo (5-6), Lacy Tuttle (55), Jocelyhnn Zucco (5-6), Katlyn Gray (5-9), Abby Simmons (5-6) and Juliana Unterzuber (5-8). Agnew is once again assisted by Tom Sliva and Chelsey Maxwell. Irene Powell leads the 7th grade, while Moriah Agnew coaches the 8th grade.

Jan. 9.......................................................................at Bellaire Jan. 11................................................................... Steubenville Jan. 13................................................................. at Cambridge Jan. 15................................................................... Union Local Jan. 20............................................................ at John Marshall Jan. 22........................................................................... Brooke Jan. 25.....................Buckeye 8 Championship at Buckeye Local Jan. 27.......................................................... at Monroe Central Jan. 30........................................................... at Buckeye Local Feb. 3-8.........................................................OVAC tournament Feb. 10.............................................................. at Indian Creek

41

Bears Continued from Page 20 RETURN TO OVACs Despite what the Golden Bears lost from a season ago — and the late start for some key members — the goal is still to get a third-straight OVAC tournament appearence. “The OVAC tournament is absolutely a goal again. It is every year,” Everly said. “We’ve seen that we can do it. We stepped up to the challenge, and I think with our schedule, if we string some wins together, it will help us OVAC points.” THE STRENGTHS Despite limited time in the gym with his whole team, Everly has a handle on what he thinks the team’s biggest strengths will be. “We’re always pretty good at shooting,” he said. “We like to shoot. I think that is a big part of the game. We have some guys that can jump a little bit. Jacob Clark was the OVAC 4A player of the year in soccer. He can jump out of the gym. Blake Perez is going to be a strength for us at point guard.” NEEDS WORK As is the case for a lot of teams, the key to success will be finding ways to get better on defense, according to Everly. “Playing defense is something that we’ve focused on a little bit more this year,” he said. “You always want to improve defensively. I think that is part of who we are trying to become, playing better man, playing better zone, mixing them both in and making the guys realize how important it is to play defense — and I think they are buying in. It’s a great group to coach.”

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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

Toronto able to play in the sectional finals last year, but that didn’t go too well. We lost to a really good River team. “I think the thing with last year — and it has been the case ever year I have been here — if we think we are the better team, we play well. But, if we think the other team is the better team, we take a good beating. We have to find a way to compete whether we are the better team or not. We have to find a way to compete in every game.” Toronto lost four seniors, as well as some underclassmen. The four departed seniors are Jo’Zaeyah Jordan, Bianca McDonald, Kiara Smith and Madisson Roach. The Red Knights have only 13 girls in the program, and only one of those is a senior. Nearly half of the players on the roster are returning lettermen. “We have six returning lettermen, and three of those have two letters,” Hodgkiss said. Injuries have not been kind to the Red Knights as the season is about to get underway. First, Isabelle Leasure (post) broke her hand in the team’s first scrimmage. Leasure is the team’s lone senior. Then, junior Kendal Thomas broke her wrist Nov. 13. “Kendal was going to do a lot of things for us,” Hodgkiss said. “She was going to handle the ball a lot. She was going to play in the post. She was going to see time at off-guard. We are

going to have to some girls help us pick up the slack.” Thomas is one of seven juniors on the roster. The other six are Maddie Anderson, Riley Kinsey, Kennedy Cottrell, Jensyn Jackson, Kianna Beckwith and Abby Grimes. Anderson and Kinsey are two-year lettermen, while Thomas, Cottrell and Jackson are one-year lettermen. Beckwith is the lone post player among the seven juniors. The other six girls are all guards. Abby Liddick is the lone sophomore on the roster. The guard picked up a letter last year. The four freshmen are Maryn Donnelly (guard), Jenna Anderson (post), Brianna Burruss (guard) and Ariyanna Joumaa (guard). “I think we have a tight bunch,” Hodgkiss said. “They are very tight. They are together off the court, and they are together on the court. They had a players-only breakfast (on Nov. 16). They had a players club breakfast. They are positive. The older girls are doing a good job of leading the way and helping the youngers girls out.” Hodgkiss has had to change his plan for his starting lineup due to the injuries his players have sustained. “We kind of had our starters in mind until last Wednesday,” Hodgkiss said. “We are going to have to see until we get Kendal back in there. We want to find a group of five that work together.”

The younger girls are learning the offense and the defense. “They are picking it up,” Hodgkiss said. “They are learning what I want to do. They are starting to get it. The hardest part is learning where to be. Basketball is a tough sport to play. You have to make split-second decisions and see the whole floor while you are sprinting. It takes a while for things to slow down. It takes time for things to slow down. You can see it. Their eyebrows are going up. The lettermen are helping the younger girls get it. They just need the reps to do it.” Toronto will continue to do a lot of the same things it has done in the past, but it will have some wrinkles this season. “We are going to have some change ups,” Hodgkiss said. “We have started working on some changes. We do have an experienced group. We do have some younger kids. Some of the kids have been around for three years. We are going to start throwing in some wrinkles. “We going to do what we do. It is going to be hard with the numbers we have this year. In the past, I could sub in a new group of five every three minutes and keep pressing. We are not going to be able to do that this season.” With a small roster, the Red Knights will not be able to play full JV games this season. At this point, the game will consist of just two quarters instead of

a full four. “I wish we were able to play more,” Hodgkiss said. “The younger kids are working hard every day They are running the same number of sprints. They are lifting weights. I wish they were able to go out and play a full game.” The Red Knights like to pressure and get after team’s on the defensive end, and that defense will be Toronto’s strengths again this season. “I think our strength is our defense,” Hodgkiss said. “We are loaded with juniors. This is their third year playing the same defense. They have been working on the same scheme. I think we are set with our defense. “We have played really well defensively in our scrimmages. We have shot the ball better too, but we are going to hang our hat with our defense.” The Red Knights schedule will look a lot different this season that it has the past two years. Toronto spent the last two years as a member of the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference, but the school dropped out of the league. “The names are different, but the challenges are still the same,” Hodgkiss said. “When we were in the EOAC, we played some really good teams. We still play two EOAC teams this year in Wellsville and Leetonia. We played teams in the EOAC last year like Columbiana, Lisbon and East Palestine. This year, we play

Continued from Page 30 Madonna, Big Red, Beaver Local, Catholic Central, East Liverpool, Oak Glen, Bridgeport, Harrison Central and Edison. We play a tough schedule.” Toronto was hurt by its inability to convert from the free-throw line last season. Converting from the charity stripe can make a big difference between winning and losing, especially in close games. “We shot 52 percent as a team last year,” Hodgkiss said. “We have to do better than that. I would like to see us shoot 60-64 percent. I would like for us to shoot 80 percent, but realistically I would like to see us shoot over 60 percent. If we shot better from the line, we could have won some of those close games last year. We have to shoot better at the line this year.” The Red Knights have set some goals they would like to achieve this season. “The kids have set goals,” Hodgkiss said. “They want to win the OVAC’s. That is not going to be easy. The want to improve on the 10 wins. One of the numbers I was was they want to win 15 games. We had each kid write down some goals. The biggest number I was was 15 wins. They want to get another shot at a sectional title. That is not going to be easy.” Cathie Thomas is once again the varsity assistant, while Tommy Anderson and DeeDee Anderson are the junior high coaches.

The 5-7 junior guard was ticked to be a key player last season after a solid freshman campaign, but an ACL injury in the preseason sidelined her. “Asia is our smartest player, she is our floor leader, she is everything you want out of a basketball point guard,” Young said. “She is starting to get over the hurdle mentally with her injury, getting more comfortable and brings so much to the table. She is

our coach on the floor and we need that.” Abernathy, a 5-10 junior center, was second on the team in scoring last season with 10.7 points and added 5.2 rebounds. She is joined in the junior class by Roby, Garrison (5-5 guard) and Maggie Stakem (5-6 forward). Two sophomores who got some minutes that Young is really high on are Zariah Marling (5-7 guard) and Jai’lah

Walker (5-11 center). The two were key components of the undefeated jayvee squad last season. “We have a lot of kids back and we are going to have a deep rotation for sure,” Young said. “We are going to be leaning on our seniors for sure. Shanley Woods, Kieran Johnson, Abby Snedeker have a lot of experience. They have all played in a state tournament.

“Daisy Reasbeck is our other senior and is a great leader. She was a star on the soccer team and she brings a lot to our team. “We have a lot of offensive-minded kids that slowly, progressively have gotten better defensively. If we have games like we had in the state tournament last year where we only score six points in the first half, we are able to stay in those games if you can

Continued from Page 37 do it on the defensive end. I think you can control more on the defensive end. We just have to get that mentality. We have girls that are tough in the middle like Bella and Kieran and I think our guards can apply pressure. We have really athletic kids and we can do different things.” Young, entering his sixth season, is assisted by Jack Kaniecki, Katelynn Hackathorn and Lucy DeFruscio.

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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

Edison summer to improve her game,” Visser said. “Ashley is going to play an important part for us. Trista gives us all she has got. She is going to see a lot of reserve time.” There are five sophomores on the roster, and Visser believes they will be the ones to turn the program around in the future. They are Alysea Fiedorczyk (shooting guard), Savanna Ankrom (shooting guard), Alayna Meadows (point guard/small forward), Gracie Fox (guard) and Jenna Swickard (forward). “We are blessed to have Alysea Fiedorczyk back,” Visser said. “Savanna has come back from the Christian school. She is pretty talented. Alayna can do stuff inside, and she can handle the ball. Gracie has come a long way. She is quick. I like how she plays the game. Jenna will see time on the reserves, but she will be pushing for varsity time.”

The biggest group is the freshmen class comprised of eight girls. They are Olivia Huff (forward), Pam Johnson (point guard), Livi Fankhauser (shooting guard), Zoe Shell (shooting guard/point guard), Nadia Lysle (guard/forward), Sophia Smith (forward), Jadyn Nicholson (forward) and Bayleigh Gump (guard/forward). Huff is expected to make the biggest impact of the group, as she is penciled in to be one of the team’s starters. Her older sister Kayla is one of the top players in the history of the program. “She is going to be a starting forward,” Visser said. “I would say it is in her blood, but it is in her heart. You can tell she is going to be a junkie. After (one of) our scrimmages, her and her dad worked on things on the court. She absorbs everything. I know she may not have anticipated being a start-

er when she came in, but she has been in our top five since Day 1. In another situation, we may have been able to bring her along, but she really has made a lot of progress. It is awesome to see. She is going to improve.” Edison’s starting five will be Petrisko, Scott, Fiedorczyk, Ankrom and Huff. “We don’t have a lot of size,” Visser said. “We are more guard oriented, but I am happy with the girls we do have in the post. They have worked hard. They are getting better.” The Wildcats will have a new look on both ends of the court this season. “It is a big difference,” Visser said. “We have worked a lot on our conditioning. I hope to improve our defense. That is the most important thing this year. We have to do a better job defensively. We have to be able to slow teams down. “Our goals will always be

win our next game, win the Buckeye 8, win OVAC Class 4A, win our sectional and then go from there. A large portion of Edison’s schedule will be against teams from the Buckeye 8. “We play Harrison Central once, and we play Martins Ferry once,” Visser said. “Then, we play two games against Indian Creek, East Liverpool, Beaver Local and Buckeye Local. We have picked up Cambridge. That should strengthen our schedule. They are bigger than us. I think it is a good pick up. “I know more about the Buckeye 8. I have coached at Harrison Central. Beaver Local is strong. Indian Creek will be very strong again. We are looking to compete with them.” Assisting Visser this season will be Madison Richards, Lynsey Morrison, Sara McGee and Smyth. Richards was a

Continued from Page 28 good player for Harrison Central during her career. “I got her into coaching four years ago at Harrison Central,” Visser said. “She was coaching, and then she took last she off.” Morrison is a former player for Edison. “Lynsey will be a huge assist for us,” Visser said. She has taken over the junior high program this year. She is going to continue to help with the varsity. She has a major role. It is awesome that she is willing to do both. She is going to help me improve the program and get it back to what it once was here at Edison. It is great that she is going to do both. “I feel like we have all bought in. We all have similar goals. We want to bring respect back to the Edison girls’ basketball program. We want to get it back to what it once was.”

nior Olivia Bernola. Aperfine was in the starting lineup, and Nutter was a part-time starter a year ago. Maley started two years ago as a freshman but sustained a knee injury in one of the first practice sessions last year, forcing her to sit out the entire 2018-19 season. Stead believes Mikula, Aperfine, Maley and Nutter will be in the starting lineup for the first game. He added that in the early practices it looks like Bernola and two freshmen (Reagan Hoover and Sophia Aperfine) are battling for the fifth spot. “The two that don’t become the fifth starter will certainly be the first off the bench,” he said. The remainder of the varsity squad is comprised of four sophomores (Marissa Howard, Taylor Haught, Montana Lough and Paige Davis). Howard and Haught are moving up from the reserve squad of a year ago, and both probably also will start at the jayvee

level again this year, at least in the early part of the season. Stead said Davis and Lough both transferred into Weir High this year — Davis from Southern Local and Lough from Wheeling Park — when their families moved to the Weirton area. They both have shown athleticism and played either freshman or jayvee basketball at their respective schools. In regard to freshmen, for the first time in his tenure, Stead said he is working on setting up a freshman schedule so seven other girls will have a chance to play regularly. They are Kiara Palavis, Kendall Drobish, Elena Mastrantoni, Savannah Moore, Adelyn Lawton, Rachel Ogboma and Brianna Swain. “We try to get them as many games as we can,” he said. “There aren’t many schools that have freshman teams these days, but these girls have talent, and I want them to develop at their own

pace playing against girls their own age. Some of them may end up playing up on our reserve team. We’ll just have to see what happens during the season.” Stead’s jayvee team will start out with Howard, Haught, Lough, Davis, Katie Shea, twins Serena Smith and Maleah Smith, and Allison Ringer. All are sophomores. “We are confident that Mikula will once again lead the varsity unit,” Stead said. “She is a hard worker and last year came into her own as a shooter, so we’re counting on her. She starts on the Weir High volleyball, basketball and softball teams and excels at all three. “Because we don’t have a really big girl in the middle, we’ll do like we have done the last couple of years — run, play pressure defense and try to score as much as we can in transition. I think we’ll be okay in the half court sets, too, but with Maley missing a full

Continued from Page 23 year and others stepping into starting roles full time, it may take us a while to get our ball handling techniques to where we want them. We’ll see how far that takes us.” Stead’s coaching staff returns. Jessica Naughton will be the junior varsity, and freshman coach and Ray Case is varsity assistant. The Red Riders open the season with six straight home games. “Our goals are to be a better team than we were last year, and I think that will happen,” Stead said. “We want to play in the OVAC finals but, because we’re one of the smaller enrollment schools in Division 5, that’s a difficult task. And, we want to win our section. “Another goal is that we want to see turnouts like we have this year where we have full complements of kids from freshman through varsity so we can give any girl in the school an opportunity to play and develop.”

Weir who greeted 30 girls at his first practice in November. “She averaged about 14 points and close to 10 rebounds a game last year. “With that said, we know other teams will be marking her with box-and-one defenses and double teams, so it is imperative that a couple of the other experienced kids step up.” Stead got scoring help from a group of four seniors that picked up their diplomas at the Weir High graduation ceremonies last May. They are Julia Gianni, Gia Fuscardo, Tresure Elmore and Alexis Fuller. Gianni and Fuscardo were starters and did a lot of the ball handling. That means Stead is looking for some help with ball handling, along with scoring and rebounding. He is hoping that extra help will come from the other letterwinners in juniors Isabella Aperfine, Leah Maley and Taylor Nutter, along with se-


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Oak Glen don’t always get it. It seems like this year, they’re starting to remember it. Hopefully, they’ll see things that are similar.” Andrews was the third-leading scorer, averaging 9.1 points per outing and collected 148 rebounds, which was second best. Giorgini contributed 5.9 points per game. McKay was one of three players to collect more than 100 rebounds (144) and averaged 6.3 points per contest. The Golden Bears originally had eight at the varsity level but are already down a player. Junior Izzy Barganski tore her MCl during gym class and will not play. Wiley will miss her talent the most on the defensive end.

The sophomores on the jayvee roster are Sophia Arner, Ashton Crago, Ally Severs and Makayla Zoellers. “Arner has been playing well in practice. Severs is a good shooter. Zoellers has size and hope she can get playing time,” Wiley said. The rest of the JV roster features five freshmen that Wiley is excited about. They are Carson Barr, Sarah Brown, Sydney Brown, Alexus Greenlief and Lizzie Kell. “Those five freshmen we have, they won the BMC last year. We’re hoping that’ll translate to the high school level,” Wiley said. Assisting Wiley this sea-

son are Ashley Tharp, Rachel now she’s driving a little more. Wright-McKay and Jeremy We’re excited to see how much Krzys. she’s improved.” Last year, Enochs averaged BREAKING RECORDS 9.8 points per contest, while reEnochs enters the season cording 70 rebounds and 31 asafter a memorable soccer cam- sists. paign. She broke the single-season school record with 48 goals SPEED KILLS this past season and already Because of Oak Glen’s lack owns the career mark with 107. of size, Wiley will look to rely For her efforts, she was select- on speed and quickness on the ed as captain of the Class AA/A defensive end. all-state girls soccer team, as “We try to run as much man selected by the West Virginia as we can,” he said. “We have Sports Writers Association. enough quickness to do that. “We’ve seen her back in the What hurts us is our size. We summer time and, so far these flip flop and will play zone if we first couple of weeks, she is need to. We try to run them as getting stronger,” Wiley said. much as we can, but that can be “She was an outside shooter, but difficult. We want to try and get

Continued from Page 29 as many kids in there as we can to get experience.” The same can be said on the offensive side of the court. “We’ve been working a lot with shooting,” Wiley said. “We always seem to have trouble putting the ball in the hole. If you don’t practice it, it’ll never happen. We’ve been emphasizing it during practice.” EASING UP When looking at Oak Glen’s schedule, teams like North Marion, Fairmont Senior and East Fairmont are not on there but not accidentally. Wiley decided not to schedule them and will worry about them if the time comes later on down the road.

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Harrison couple of girls who are injured, we’ll be waiting to get back. “It is an opportunity for them to come in and show us what they are made of early. Sometimes it’s hard for a freshman to come in and recognize the speed of the game right away, but we have no other choice so we are going to roll with it.” The Huskies finished last season 7-16 and lost to Sandy Valley in the sectional round. The key is going to be confidence, which is something Yourkovich hopes his group can find early in the season. “Confidence is going to be key. We have to make sure they don’t get down with that tough schedule,” he said. “We are going to have a lot of tough competition that maybe will throw some things at us that we may not be ready for. We have to make sure that we keep our confidence up and not go with every single turnover we have or every single missed shot. We have to realize it’s a long game and a long season and the goal is to get better with everything that we do. I think if we do that, we’ll be pretty competitive by the end of the year.” That being said, don’t just expect the Huskies to be happy with keeping games close. The objective is still to win. “We’re not just going out to play people close, we’re go-

ing approach every game as if we can win,” Yourkovich said. “That has been the mind set here. if we’re playing them, we think we can beat them. We have to get that in the girls’ heads from the get go. We’re not just showing up to just play well or get better, we’re showing up to win. That said, anytime you play well, or individuals play well, it is a confidence boost. Even if we would happen to lose, they take that and move in the right direction.” Playing in the Buckeye 8 and keeping a tough out-of-conference schedule, it certainly won’t be easy. That said, the objective is to be ready come tournament time. “The schedule is not going to make it easy. I never do us any favors in that category,” Yourkovich said. “I try to play the better teams in the area and face good competition to get us ready for the end of the year. It just so happens that our league schedule is going to be pretty tough as well. On our side of the Buckeye 8, Martins Ferry returns everybody, Union Local fared really well during the summer and are going to cause a lot of people problems, Bellaire is going to be really good and St. Clairsville returns a lot of their pieces, too. Then we go out and we schedule Creek, Steubenville. We’ll play them, it

eryone has a role. But, they can also fill different roles. “We’re excited. We’re going to grow together and learn together.”

motto this year. With more depth we can do a few more things defensively. We can play more pressure defense, and that is what we are really looking to do this year. Defense is going to be one of our strengths. “If we hold teams under 50 points, I think over the last two or three years we’ve lost maybe four games. That’s our goal to hold teams under 50. I think we’re capable of scoring anywhere from 40-50 points.”

Buckeye

FOCUSED ON DEFENSE While it was the scorers who made headlines in years past, the focus this year is keeping the opposition from putting up points. “I think defensively teamwise we’re going to be better,” Figurski said. “The girls are really hustling, being aggressive and buying into offense wins games, defense wins championships. That is our

makes us better.” VERSATILE LINEUP With a young group, Yourkovich is still trying to figure out where the pieces will come together. “We’re still trying to figure that out,” he said. “We have 13 girls on the roster, we’ll probably have three or four post players and the rest we’re going to put outside. A couple of our post players can play outside. We have a lot of interchangeable parts. We don’t have a designated point guard yet, we’re waiting for someone to step up. We’re hoping that we develop two or three of those so we can have them on the court at the same time to be a little more dangerous offensively. WHO IS BACK It’s not often a team’s most experienced player coming back is a sophomore, but that is the case for the Huskies, as Yourkovich and company will lean on McKayla Dunkle. She averaged 6.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game last season as a freshman. “Experience wise, it’s going to be McKayla Dunkle. She’s a sophomore, but she may have started every game for us last year,” he said. “She is our most versatile player. She can play inside, she can play outside, she

tough schedule, nothing will come easy. “Lets face it, girls basketball competition with who we face around here is tough,” he said. “Beaver Local didn’t lose anybody. East Liverpool is going to be stronger.Big Red is a quality opponent. You go down the river, and Martins Ferry is returning four or five seniors. St. Clairsville is going to have a nice squad. Indian Creek is going to be strong again. We don’t shy away from competition. We have to adjust to it TOUGH SCHEDULE and compete. Girls basketball While he likes his team, in the valley is going to be a Figurski knows that with a lot of fun this year.

has worked hard on her outside jumpshot this year. She can get to the basket pretty well. She’s our returning scorer from last year. We are going to lean on her a lot early to take the pressure off of everybody else.” Another returner that looks to play a key roll is Lexi Carter, who is a senior but has limited varsity experience. “Lexi Carter is our only senior. She is going to have to take a big jump in production from last year,” Yourkovich said. “She was primarily a jayvee player last year. She is going to have to play a lot of minutes and provide us with productive minutes if we’re going to compete. “That is something we preach in this program, sometimes you just have to wait your turn. She is a prime example. For three years, she’s been behind some pretty good guards that have started a lot of games for us. Now it’s her turn to step up and show everybody what she’s learned. She’s been a leader in the offseason, so hopefully she takes it and runs with it.” Also back are Britton Positano (2.8 point per game) and Audrey Corder (2.3 points per game).

Continued from Page 31 ing in a new gym, as the district has moved into a brand new school with new, larger home court. “It’s big, I’ll tell you that. We’re hoping we get a crowd here, we’re hoping it’s loud where the atmosphere is good,” Yourkovich said. “We’ve got the end zone back there, hopefully the students fill it up. It’s exciting. I love the floor and I love the facility.”

THE GOAL With the lack of experience, it’s hard for Yourkovich to know what to expect from his young group. “We just want to get better every day,” he said. “I don’t know what to expect with this group yet. We’ve had some scrimmages and they’ve gotten better, we’ve seen some good things and some bad things. For us to be competitive at the end of the year we have to get better every day. With this group, I don’t think we can put a win total on it. “Obviously if you win more than you lose everyone will think it’s a good year, but with this group I don’t think you’ll be able to judge by our record. I think it is just going to be how they look now, compared NEW GYM to how they look by game 24 The Huskies will be compet- or 25.”

Continued from Page 36 Panthers. “We always want to compete for the OVAC 4A championship. We always want to compete for the Buckeye 8,” Figurski said. “It’s been a while since we’ve won a sectional game. With our depth this year, I think it makes us a little more formidable for all of those things because we’re not wearing girls out throughout the season. It’s a long season, 22 games and all the practices we go through and GOALS things like that. We’re hopWith the added depth and ing with the depth, we can cut versatility, the goals are set down on minutes and share high for this version of the the wealth.” “Steubenville is one of our teams we play outside of the Buckeye 8. Barnesville returns a nice squad this year. We picked up Steubenville Catholic Central and Monroe Central. We know what coach Jess Looman and her dad (Ed Looman) do up at Steubenville Central. They always have a quality basketball team. When you go out to Monroe Central, there’s a lot of talent out there as well.”


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

INSIDE THE PAINT

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INSIDE THE PAINT

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4, 2019

Profile for Herald-Star

Inside The Paint 2019-20  

This is a special publication of the Steubenville Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. Inside, prep basketball teams are profiled for...

Inside The Paint 2019-20  

This is a special publication of the Steubenville Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. Inside, prep basketball teams are profiled for...

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