TRC Boys Basketball Preview

Jack Brooks takes over as the Bethel boys basketball coach.

Returning letterwinners from last year’s 9-11 team are seniors Casey Keesee, Will Reittenger and Nolan Flomerfelt and junior Jason Bowen.

Keesee, a 5-5 senior, 5-10 freshman Mike Halleg and 6-2 senior Reittinger will lead the guards.

“Casey Keesee is a great shooter and defender,” Clark said. “He has great court vision and has high court awareness on both sides of the ball. He will slide to his natural position of shooting guard after spending a season at point guard. Mike Halleg is a great ball handler going both directions.

“He can knock down threes consistently, is a solid defender and understands the game well despite his youth. He is a competitor. Will Reittinger can play guard and post positions and can defend guard and posts. He is a consistent shooter and provides plenty of experience and leadership in our locker room. He can go off for 20 and any given night.”

The post will include Flomerfelt, a 6-2 senior and Remi Brannen, a 5-11 freshman.

“Nolan Flomerfelt is tough to guard going left,” Clark said. “He is a great passer for a post player. He is wide and solid, so taller players don’t move him as well. He is developing a solid middle game. Remi Brannen is athletic and strong and can score inside and defense any team’s best player. He has solid inside, out vision for his youth.”

Bethel will run a different offense.

”Offensively, we run a unique offensive system relying heavily on guard movement around two post players,” Clark said. “The idea is to get great looks inside for our post players while also using those post players as active screeners to get our guards open looks, or driving opportunities.”

Defensively, Bethel will mix things up.

”We will throw a lot of different looks at people,” Clark said. “We want to make people uncomfortable. Our defensive battle cry is to “Make them hate us”. This means we want teams to be exhausted from playing offense against us. We want to take away ball handler comfort, vision, angles and options.”

Bethel has joined the Three Rivers Conference.

“The Three Rivers Conference is going to be fun to watch this season,” Clark said. “There are a lot of really young players to watch and some solid upper classmen as well. It is a very athletic league. What makes this league so scary, is that we have all this talent that is really well coached. You better be ready to go every night, or you’re going to get beat…and even then, it may not be enough.”

COVINGTON

Matt Gibbins returns as coach.

The Buccs finished 7-16 last year and are joining the Three Rivers Conference this year.

Returning letterwinners include Tyler Alexander, Britton Miller, Mic Barhorst, Garret Fraley, Gavin Fraley, Carter Maxson, Cam Kirker and Zeke Benedict.

The guards will include senior Owen Boehringer, sophomore Miller and junior Barhorst.

The top post players will be seniors Alexander, Kirker, Maxson and Garret Fraley.

“We will run both a four out and one in offense and a traditional three wing, two post offense,” Gibbins said. “We are looking to force defenses into helping then we can find the open player. We also are looking to push the ball in transition more this year.”

The Buccs will look different on defense.

”We are looking to play more man defense this year than last,” Gibbins said. “ Last year we mostly played a 3-2 matchup zone, so we still have it in our back pocket.”

Gibbins looks forward to playing in the TRC.

“The conference is new and playing teams twice in the same season will present a new challenge,” he said. “We have a few familiar opponents from the old conference but are excited to become familiar with the new teams.

“I think this conference will be a strong basketball conference year in and year out. Whoever wins the conference this first year will have definitely earned it by having to play well every night.”

LEHMAN CATHOLIC

Pat Carlisle returns as t Lehman boys basketball coach.

The Cavaliers were 16-5 a year ago and return senior Michael McFarland, juniors Justin Chapman and James Larger and sophomore Donovan O’Leary.

The Cavaliers are coming off a second-place finish in the NWCC and join the TRC this season.

“We are looking to follow three straight banner years,” Carlisle said. “We will have the strength of four returning players, as well as some new players. Our goal is to get the best of them every night. This is our first year in a much bigger league.”

MIAMI EAST

Justin Roeth returns for his third season as coach and the Vikings were 14-9 last season.

The Vikings return four sophomores who started as freshman a year ago.

They include 6-1 Jacob Roeth, 6-1 Wes Enis, 6-2 Connor Apple and Devon Abshire, who is currently out with a back injury.

Roeth averaged 16.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.0 steals.

Enis had his season cut short last year by injury, but averaged 11.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.6 steals.

Apple returns as a three-point threat.

“Connor’s length as a guard is really good and he has the ability to stretch a defense out with his shooting ability,” Justin Roeth said. “Devon Abshire will be returning, but is currently battling a back injury and his return is questionable.”

The Vikings will be guard oriented.

“We will be inexperienced at the post position and really won’t be a team full of a bunch of height around the basket,” Roeth said. “We plan to utilize our quickness, transition and use our team’s strengths this season by getting up and down the floor playing a faster paced style of game.”

Miami East will have several young players looking to prove their way at the varsity level this season.

They include 5-9 sophomore Camren Monnin, 6-2 sophomore Andrew Crane, 6-1 junior Mitchel Kemp and 6-5 junior Matthew VanPelt.

“Camren Monnin can shoot the three well and plays solid defense coming off a very successful summer,’ Roeth said. “Andrew Crane has really improved as a post/wing and does a great job making hustle plays around the basket. Mitchel Kemp and Matthew VanPelt are quick and athletic and will provide some athletic ability around the basket for us this season as well.”

Three freshman to watch are 6-0 Bryce Haught, 6-0 Adam Lawson 6-2 Vincent Crane.

“There are three freshman who will all get minutes as they continue to improve this season,” Justin Roeth said. “Several other underclassmen are working their way up to the Varsity level too. It will be interesting to see how well all our underclassmen can compete and prove themselves this winter.”

Roeth looks forward to playing the TRC.

”Milton-Union, Troy Christian are very well coached and bring back a lot of players from their successful teams last year,” Roeth said. “There will be multiple other teams in the new conference who have a lot of potential. Northridge, Bethel and Lehman all of lots of talent and can also be in contention. The new league will definitely be a toss-up in my opinion as there are several teams who will be able to compete each night. Should make for a fun winter in the new TRC league.”

Justin Roeth looks for the Vikings to continue to progress in his third season.

“We want to compete to win the new Three Rivers Conference and have a mindset of playing hard each night trying to improve every day,” he said. “When we look at our team dynamics there is no hesitation to say we are going to be young with the majority of our team being sophomores and freshman. However, we feel that age really is a number in this circumstance and we are ready no matter what age of players we have the floor to compete each day.

”We will be a young team, but will be a team full of players ready to make their impact and continue a winning tradition at Miami East.”

MILTON-UNION

Rusty Berner returns as Milton-Union coach.

The Bulldogs were 12-9 a year ago.

Returning letterwinners include 6-0 senior Shane Ullery, 6-0 senior Nathan Thompson, 5-11 senior Landon Bechtel, 6-2 senior Ray Copeland, 6-1 junior Blake Brumbaugh, 6-5 junior Connor Yates and 6-3 junior Cooper Brown.

Brumbaugh will lead the guards after averaging 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.2 steals a year ago.

Also seeing time at guard will be Cooper Brown, Thompson, Bechtel, Tyler Kress and Carson Brown.

Ullery averaged 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds a year ago, while Yates averaged 3.6 rebounds.

Joining them in the post will be Cooper Brown and Copeland.

Milton will run variable offenses including transition half-court sets and half-court continuity.

The Bulldogs will also mix it up on defense with man-to-man, zone and presses.

Berner sees the TRC as very competitive.

” It is extremely balanced across the board,” he said. “Multiple teams battling for the inaugural league championship. Every league game will be extremely tough and will be a battle.”

TROY CHRISTIAN

Veteran coach Ray Zawadzki returns after a 14-9 season a year ago.

The Eagles are making the move from the Metro Buckeye Conference to the Three Rivers Conference.

Returning letterwinners include 6-0 senior Chase Dohme, 6-1 senior Lucas Day, 6-2 senior Connor Frye, 6-4 senior Isaiah Martin, 6-3 junior Ben Major, 5-10 sophomore Parker Penrod and 6-2 sophomore Alex Free.

Penrod, Dohme, Day and Frye will lead the guards.

Penrod scored 9.3 points a year ago, Day averaged 5.8 points a game last year and Dohme averaged 5.2 points.

Martin, Major and Free will lead the post players.

Major added 9.5 points and 4.0 rebounds a year ago, while Free averaged 5.3 points and 5.0 rebounds.

The Eagles will be patient on offense, looking to find the right shot. They will be selective, patterned and disciplined.

They will continue with their stingy man-to-man defense after giving up just 43 points a game last year.

Zawadzki expects the TRC to be very competitive.

“Northridge and Milton-Union will be the top dogs,” Zawadzki said. “The remaining six schools are all on equal ground.”