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Boys GMC Basketball Preview

November 27, 2012
Colerain High School/WeAreColerain.com


Lakota West

Coach: Sean Van Winkle (97-76, 38-28 at Lakota West)

Last season: 15-7 (11-3)

What's New: Expectations – The Firebirds finished second last season in the GMC, but this team has its top three scorers back and will be expected to finish at or near the top.

Key Players: Junior guard Tyler Williams, senior guard Ali Barnes, senior guard Monty Boykins, junior post Tyler Bowling, junior guard Malik Grove, senior post Zach Moo Young, senior wing Zach Hicks, senior guard Ethan Thomas.

Outlook: The Firebirds have a trio of experienced guards back that were the top three scorers last season in Williams, Barnes and Boykins. That has league coaches expecting big things from this team. “We’ve got a lot of key contributors from last year’s team back – the great majority of them, to be honest with you,” Van Winkle said. Boykins scored 16.6 points per game during the regular season last year and added a team best 6.2 rebounds per game with 1.9 assists. Barnes scored 13.9 points per game with 2.2 assists and Williams added 10.9 points and 2.3 assists. “Obviously we’re cautiously optimistic because of what we have returning. But obviously there’s a lot of work that we need to do. 

Lakota East

Coach: Wally Vickers (255-215, 121-97 at Lakota East)

Last season: 8-13 (5-9)

What's New: Senior guard Stedman Lowry, who led the Thunderhawks in scoring before a season-ending injury, will be back on the court.

Key Players: Senior guard Stedman Lowry, senior guard Rob Harpring, senior guard Austin Emrick, senior center Zac Panzeca, sophomore guard Dylan Lowry, sophomore forward Myo Baxter, sophomore guard Alex White.

Outlook: Stedman Lowry is a third-year varsity player who averaged 14.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in five games last season before going down. He’ll be joined in the backcourt by Harpring who scored 10.4 points per game during the regular season and Emrick who added 4.3 points per game. Panzeca will be the force down low. The senior center scored 6.2 points and grabbed 3.2 rebounds per game last season. “We have good experience, size, and leadership,” Vickers said. “(We) must improve defensively in order to contend in the GMC.”


Coach: Mike Anderson (18-5)

Last season: 18-5 (10-4)

What's New: Senior guard Deiontay Walters joins the Vikings after transferring from Colerain where he started at point guard for two seasons.

Key Players: Senior guard Dorian Jordan, senior guard Darius Hilson, senior guard Eric Tivis, senior center Mac Bosel, senior guard Deiontay Walters, junior guard Ryan Bricking.

Outlook: Jordan is the top scorer back for the Vikings and Anderson said he is the best point guard in Southwest Ohio. Jordan scored 10.3 points per game, grabbed 3.1 rebounds and led the GMC with 5.8 assists per game during the regular season. Tivis scored 7.8 points per game and Hilson added 6.7. Bosel only played five minutes per game last season, but Anderson expects the senior to be a key guy this season. “We’re expecting huge things from him in the middle,” Anderson said. “He can do a lot of things.” Walters won’t run the point at Princeton, but his ability to get to the basket will help the Vikings, and he is a defensive stopper, Anderson said. “What we would like to do is take 22 games to prepare us for the end of the season,” Anderson said. “We have to learn how to play together and that could take time. What I do love is the fact that I have a hard working group.”


Coach: Josh Andrews (100-24, 20-6 at Middletown)

Last season: 20-6 (12-2, first place)

What's New: The Middies are the defending GMC champions for the first time since 1995.

Key Players: Senior guard Jalin Marshall, junior forward Vince Edwards, junior center Chance Sorrell, senior forward Mark Fayne, senior guard Ryan Smith.

Outlook: Edwards has college offers from Purdue, Dayton and Xavier, Andrews said, and he is the top returning scorer after averaging 15.4 points and grabbing a team-best 12.4 rebounds per game during the regular season as a sophomore. Also back for the Middies is Ohio State football recruit Jalin Marshall, who added 8.6 points per game. Sorrell is the only other returning starter. “We’ve got several high-level athletes and enough quality kids surrounding them that we can be really dangerous, especially by the end of the season,” Andrews said. Sorrell and Fayne will be the forces down low, but Sorrell has been limited during the preseason while coming back from a football injury. Andrews also expects Smith to be a key player. “I hope we can compete for the league title again this year,” Andrews said. “It’s going to take us some time, and we’ve got a very demanding schedule. We bring back a good nucleus of guys who know what we’re about and what we want to get done.”


Coach: David Moss (60-74, 19-45 at Sycamore)

Last season: 5-15 (2-12)

What's New: Experience. “This is my fourth year and we’re trying to get away from new stuff,” Moss said. “We’re trying to have some stuff that we know. We should be one of the more experienced teams in the league this year.”

Key Players: Senior center Mason Morgan, senior forward Isiah Brown, senior guard Joey Gruden, senior forward Joe Vaught.

Outlook: Morgan, Gruden, Brown and Vaught are among eight returning players from last year’s team, six of whom were heavy rotation guys. Morgan is a third-year varsity player who averaged 6.3 points and a team-best 6.8 rebounds per game last year, and Gruden is the top returning scorer at 7.7 points per game. “We’re pretty established as far as personnel,” Moss said. “I think we can be an interesting team. We have the capabilities of surprising some teams this year. We’re trying to be a dark horse.” The Aviators hope the experience will mean taking better care of the ball. Continued problems with turnovers this season would hurt Sycamore’s chances of improving in the standings. “One of our biggest problems last year was limiting turnovers,” Moss said. “We turned over the ball a lot, and part of that was we were playing sophomore and junior guards who didn’t have a lot of experience.”

Oak Hills

Coach: Mike Price (302-186)

Last season: 7-14 (5-9)

What's New: Three football players will be new to the Highlanders roster. Senior Liam Sallquist will join junior Demarco Ruffin, who played briefly as a freshman, and senior Zach Leftenant, who did not play for two years due to injury.

Key Players: Senior Jake Richmond, senior Cody Herbig, junior Matt Elliott, junior Ben Laumann, junior Andrew Chisholm.

Outlook: Richmond led the Highlanders with 13.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game during the regular season last year, so Price has his best player back. “I think we can be pretty good,” Price said. “I think we’re going to shoot the ball pretty well, and we’ll have good leadership with Jake Richmond. We have some underclassmen who really have improved. “The one who really has improved a lot, and we really needed him to, is Chisholm. He’s made a lot of improvements, and I think he is going to help us quite a bit.” Laumann is the second-leading returning scorer from last season with a 5.0 points-per-game average. Herbig, Elliott and Chisholm should also play big roles, but the new players from the football team could prove valuable. 


Coach: Greg Richards (238-128)

Last season: 18-4 (11-3)

What's New: The players on the court will be new as the Rockets lost seven seniors from last season’s team to graduation.

Key Players: Senior guard Drew Matula, senior guard Conner McVey.

Outlook: The Comets have had two winning seasons in a row and tied Lakota West for second place last season, but will need to replace the top four leading scorers and rebounds from a season ago. Each of the five starters from last season have graduated. Matula averaged 3.5 points and McVey added 3.4 points off the bench. Don’t confuse an inexperienced roster with the Comets looking at a down year, even in a strong GMC. “Coach Richards is such a masterful coach, so I don’t think there is such a thing as Mason ever being down. He’s going to coach his guys up to being superb anyway,” Princeton coach Mike Anderson said. McVey and Matula are two of 10 seniors of this season’s team. The other eight seniors played on the Comets’ 17-3 junior varsity team last season.


Coach: Kevin Higgins (91-104, 55-56 at Colerain)

Last season: 10-12 (3-11)

What's New: Although Walters moved on to Princeton, Higgins believes he has the experience players to compete in the GMC.

Key Players: Senior guard Bryan Porter, senior guard Milton Davis, junior guard Kiere Bennie, senior forward C.J. Reed, junior forward Trevon Hudson.

Outlook: Guard play will be the strength of this team with Davis, the Cards’ leading scorer last season, back for his senior season. Davis scored 11.9 points per game during the regular season last year and added 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists. Also returning to the backcourt is Porter, who scored 8.5 points and grabbed 4.6 rebounds per game, and Bennie, who added 3.9 points. “We believe our strengths to be our guards and that we have several players with extensive varsity experience,” Higgins said. Reed scored 3.6 points per game last season, and he will be joined on the front line by Hudson, a newcomer who starred on the Cards football team this fall. “We feel we can play with every team on our schedule and our looking forward to the season,” Higgins said.


Coach: Tim Austing (42-29)

Last season: 21-6 (9-5), Division I Final Four

What's New: The lineup will be new this season for Austing with only junior point guard Timmy Fleming returning much varsity experience, Austing said.

Key Players: Junior guard Timmy Fleming, junior guard Herman Brunis, junior guard Nick Braun.

Outlook: An experienced Indians team came together last season in the tournament and stormed to the Final Four with a run that included upsets of then-defending state champion La Salle and GMC champion Middletown. Fairfield will have to come together quickly this season to even start thinking about a similar run because there won’t be much experience on the roster. “(It is) very up in the air,” Austing said. “Maybe eight to nine guys vying for those spots.” Fleming averaged 4.1 points per game last season and started 24 of 26 games he played. Other likely contributors will be Brunis and Braun, along with other juniors and sophomores. Austing said even freshmen could get varsity time. “The young group has had a great offseason,” Austing said. “There is a lot of excitement and energy from last year and we are excited about our prospects.”


Coach: Tim Robinson (21-64)

Last season: 4-17 (2-12)

What's New: Young players. “We may have a couple freshmen on the varsity,” Robinson said.

Key Players: Junior guard Christian Jones, junior guard Quintin Bailey, senior forward Marcus Oliver.

Outlook: The Big Blue will have Jones, Bailey and Oliver back as the three returning starters. Bailey is the top returning scorer back with his average of 7.4 points from last season. Jones added 6.8 points, and Oliver scored three with five rebounds per game. “We also have some good young players that hopefully can get with what we’re doing early,” Robinson said. “Hopefully we can get them into midseason form pretty quickly.” Obviously, the big goal will be to advance in the standings from Hamilton’s last-place finish in each of the past two seasons. “With our league it’s always tough,” Robinson said. “We’d like to finish in the middle to the top half of the league. We’ve got to win the games we can win and play with the teams that are favored against us. It’s such a tough league that we just have to keep trying to get better each game.”

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