MIAMI COUNTY — Brett Kopp returns as Bethel coach.
Coach name: Brett Kopp
The Bees return three key players at the guard position.
They include senior Ethan Rimkus and Mason Brown and junior Casey Keesee.
Rimkus averaged 11 points and four rebounds last year.
“Ethan Rimkus has the ability to play inside and out,” Kopp said. “He’s had huge games in our biggest games the last 2 years. Mason Brown is a returning letter winner who has the ability to hit the three and has relentless effort on the defensive end. He had a tremendous football season as our quarterback and hoping he can extend that to this winter.
“Casey Keesee has been a deep threat for us as a sophomore (8 3’s in a game) He has really developed his overall game. Excited to see him expand his game.”
Key post players include junior Will Reittinger and senior Zach Gross.
“Will Reittinger is long and athletic,” Kopp said. “He has the ability to guard all five positions. Zach Gross has great length, has a knack around the rim, Will be a huge part of the rebounding for us this year.”
Newcomers include sophomores Jace Houck and Jason Brown and juniors Eli Mutlu, Nicol Golden and Nolan Flomerfelt.
“Jace Houck will be a primary ball handler for us, he plays really hard, and is a willing and skilled passer,” Kopp said “Jason Bowen is an incredible athlete, really good leaper. He has a solid mid-range game, and working to develop on the perimeter. Eli Mutlu is another athlete we are excited to see his development over the lay off. Has the ability to contribute some minutes on the perimeter. Nico Golden is another long athletic player who can play inside and out. He will be big for our rebounding ability this year. Nolan Flomerfelt is a big body than can really move, Goalie on the Soccer team last few years. Excited to see his step up to varsity.”
Kopp sees the conference as strong.
“National Trail, Arcanum and Tri-Village bring back experience and talent will be a solid group each, and a challenge for the league,” Kopp said. “Miami East has a lot of young talent coming up and as our rival, is always a battle and exciting game.
“Our guys will play as hard as anyone night in and night out. We will need to use our athletic ability. We want to compete for a CCC title (as our last year in the league) and put ourselves in a position come tournament time that we can make a district final appearance.”
Jay Hall took a big first step in his opening season with the Railroaders last year and looks to build on that.
Bradford snapped a 45-game losing streak last year, going 2-21.
“Bradford hasn’t had a winning season in 30-plusyears I’m told,” Hall said. “Losing is losing, but if we can clean up the turnovers and continue improving our shooting, we will be improved this year.”
Sophomore Parker Davidson is back after averagin 16.4 points as a freshman to lead the guards, along with senior Taven Leach and sophomore Landon Monnin.
Key post players will be freshman Hudson Hill, Landon Wills and Tucker Miller.
Hall sees Tri-Village, National Trail, Miami East, Bethel and Arcanum as the teams to beat and wants to continue building upon the improvements from last season and this summer and fall.
Matt Gibbins takes over as Covington coach.
Covington’s key guards will be Wes Gooding, Jake Hamilton, Jaden Barhorst, Cooper Jay and Grant Humphrey and junior Owen Boehringer.
The key post players will be senior Jack Ballard and Tyler Alexander, while top newcomers include senior Avery Rench and Tyler Owens and junior Landon LaPoint.
“There are a lot of really good teams and any of them could get hot and take the conference,” Gibbins said. “There are some teams that return very good players and some young but talented teams. National Trail is the defending conference champ and they return the CCC player of the year.
“We have three main goals. Our first goal is to get better every week so that we are playing our best basketball at the end of the year. We aspire to win a conference championship. Most importantly we are looking to use basketball to teach these young men how to be successful in life beyond high school.”
Justin Roeth returns for his second season as Miami East coach.
Key returners at guard will 6-2 senior Sam Zapadka and 6-2 junior Noah King.
Zapadka led the team in scoring (13.8 points per game) and assists (45) and was first team All-CCC.
King will be returning as a guard and presence around the basket. He provides a lot of defense and good shooting ability.
“We will be inexperienced at the post position, returning Adam Bensman (6-4 senior) and Ian Smith (6-3senior) who both saw limited varsity time last season,” Roeth said. “Both Adam and Ian could contribute solid minutes in the post this season as true big men on our team.”
Roeth expects some newcomers to make an impact.
“Miami East will have several young players looking to prove their way at the varsity level this season,” Reoth said. “Nick Prince (6-1 sophomore guard) comes to Miami East from Graham. As a freshman at Graham, he played a significant role at the varsity level while averaging just under nine points per game.
”Several other underclassmen are working their way up to the varsity level. It will be interesting to see how well all our underclassmen can compete and prove themselves this winter.”
Roeth expects Tri-Village, National Trail and Bethel to be the top teams in the CCC.
”We are going to be a young team, but bring back Sam Zapadka, our leading scorer from last season as well as Noah King (junior) who returns as a threat from the 3-point line,” Roeth said. “We want to compete to win our conference and have a mindset of playing hard each night trying to improve every day.
“Although we return very little experience, we are seeing lots of growth in a short amount of time in our program. We will be a young team, but will be a team full of players ready to make their impact and continue a winning tradtion at Miami East.”
Gavin Spitler returns for his fourth season as coach.
The top guards for Newton will include senior Andrew Whittaker and Ross Ferrell, juniors Chandler Peters and Quentin Smith and sophomore Hudson Montgomery.
Key post players will be seniors Mitchell Montgomery and Dawson Hildebrand and sophomore Harold Oburn.
Key newcomers include senior Amorie Maxwell and junior Clark Yoder.
Newton looks to improve upon last year finish in the top half of the conference.