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Veteran Rockets look to make noise in the WSC

Varsity boys basketball previews 2012-13

By Ryan Kaczmarski

The BAY boys basketball team is prepared to best its 2011-12 record of 10-13 (7-5 in the West Shore Conference) and go deep into the postseason with eight returning lettermen, all seniors.

“Almost everyone is back this year,” Rockets head coach Jason Frolo said. “We graduated two seniors, one of them being our best player and leading scorer last year, Bryan Lowrie, who was first team All-WSC.”

The key returning players are seniors Scott Rapps (9.1 points per game), Ryan Voiers (8.4 points per game), Sam Strauss (6.2 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game), Craig Linder (5.3 points per game) and Terry Carras (3.0 points per game).

Rapps, Chris Kazanas and Voiers are the team captains this season.

“They lead by example through their hard work, day in and day out,” Frolo said.

The key newcomers are junior Jack Aleksandrovic and sophomore Rex Sunahara.

The biggest games this year are the two games against rival Rocky River, WSC newcomer Lakewood and Sandusky’s Perkins High School.

Frolo looks to his team’s inside play, transition game and outside shooting to give the Pirates an edge in the conference, but he also feels the team needs to work on its free-throw shooting.

The Rockets will travel to Orlando, Fla., this December for a holiday tournament.

ROCKY RIVER is coming off a 2011-12 season in which the Pirates went 15-8 (8-4 in the WSC),and graduated 10 seniors.

“We return one starter, Ryan McCrone,” Pirates third-year head coach Michael Murray said. “We expect to continue to grow and develop during the early part of our season. I expect to be a much better team during the second half of the season.”

The key returning players are McCrone (11.5 points per game, 46 3-point shots made, 3.5 rebounds per game, 2.1 steals per game), Ricky Bremkamp, Thomas McNamara and Patrick Connors.

The other key players this year will be freshman Eric Jones, who could see a lot of time on the court; juniors Bernard Frohnapple and Alex Theiling; and seniors Michael Dickey, Alec Hallal, Alex Schade and Kevin Hervey.

“We will be a little quicker and more athletic than we were last year,” Murray said. “I expect Ryan McCrone to be one of the best players in our conference.

“With only three returning letter winners, we do not have a lot of players with varsity experience.”

LAKEWOOD is looking to make a good impression in its first season playing in the West Shore Conference. The Rangers are coming off its last year playing in the Northeast Ohio Conference, in which they were 6-4 (12-10 overall).

They will be without the services of Jay Andreani, who averaged 9.0 rebounds per game last year in his senior season, and Conor Mabry, who had the ability to score from anywhere on the court.

The key returning players are Peter Nelson Jr. (the school record holder for career 3-pointers and 3-pointers in a season), Jacob Schmidt (three-year letterman at point guard), Shawn McDonald, Tyshawn Goolsby and Cameron Silver.

“Peter commands a lot of attention due to his shooting capabilities,” Rangers head coach Alex Cammock said. “We also expect him to rebound, because of his physical stature.

“Jacob is able to handle pressure very well,” he added. “He has worked tirelessly to shoot the basketball well, and has made great strides as a consistent shooter. His ability to drive to the basket and finish really separates him as a solid guard.”

Cammock will look for his three juniors, McDonald, Goolsby and Silver, to be leaders on the court this season.

“Shawn McDonald has improved his game tremendously,” he said. “We expect him to contribute with his ability to score the basketball in a variety of ways, as well as his ability to defend.

“Tyshawn should provide a versatile threat for us this year,” Cammock added. “His height and wingspan, coupled with his ball handling capabilities, should provide matchup problems for opponents. Cameron has good touch around the basket and his height should help us rebound.”

Other returning players are seniors Aaron Donahoe, Zach Fehrenbach, Andrew Steele, Yusaf Suleiman and Ben Toole.

“Quickness is our biggest team strength, followed by our ability to shoot the basketball,” Cammock said. “These are things we emphasize and to which we are committed.

“We need to work on a number of things, ranging from half-court offense to weak-side boxouts,” he added. “We work consistently on improving our weaknesses as well, and solidifying our strengths.”

According to Cammock, there are wide-ranging goals for his team this season.

“Every season, our goal is to get better every day,” he said. “By the end of the season, we are trying to be better in everything we do, from basketball, to school, to home.

“We would like to achieve Lakewood’s first conference championship since 1974,” he added. “We have put in a great deal of work, and we would like to see results.”

WESTLAKE is looking to match the success of last season, in which the Demons went 19-3 overall and were Southwestern Conference co-champs, along with Brecksville.

If they are to repeat in the SWC, they will have to do it without many of the starters from the class of 2012.

“Grant Gase was our inspirational leader, our best defender and one of our toughest players, mentally,” Demons second-year head coach Shawn Hood said. “Ezzet Assad was our great on-ball defender, and Andrew Guirguis was one of our best scorers.”

The key returning players are Shawn Turk, Bryan MacKenzie, Jamie Lackner, Danny Strodtbeck, Brian Guzik and Gavin Skelly, a junior who already has 10 Division I college scholarship offers.

The key newcomers are Aaron Wargo, Makis Beach, Josef Hadib and Conner Meek.

Hood looks to the team’s depth and experience as its strength this year. The Demons will have to work on their overall speed and quickness to achieve their goal of repeating as SWC champions.

NORTH OLMSTED is looking to improve on last season’s disappointing record of 7-14 (5-9 in the SWC).

The returning lettermen for the Eagles are Billy Lucien and Sean Needles. Newcomers to watch out for are senior Jordan Wolfe; junior Brando Dickey; and sophomore Jordan Burke.

Eagles head coach Joe Smith will rely on rebounding and defense to carry the team while the boys gain varsity experience.

OLMSTED FALLS also is coming off a disappointing 2011-12 campaign, in which the Bulldogs went 7-15.

“We lost only two seniors from last year’s squad (Jared Kurz and Eric Meehan), but they made up a lot of our scoring” Bulldogs head coach Chris DeLisio said. “Eric also did a ton of rebounding for us as well.”

The key returning players are seniors Steve Johnson, Kenny Hanna and Brandon Friedrich; and juniors Adam Asadorian, James Sabatka and Sam Lombardo.

“Steve, Kenny and Brandon are all going to be starting their third season of varsity basketball, and they bring experience and leadership to our group,” DeLisio said. “Steve should be one of our top scorers this season.”

Key newcomers to the team are Alex Mitchell, Nick Fritz, Ryan Sosic and Pat Hynes.

“We are a deep team and will shoot the ball well,” DeLisio said. “But we are very small and have a hard time rebounding and stopping people in the half-court, because of our lack of size.”

FAIRVIEW is coming off its first winning season since the 2003-04 campaign (11-9 overall, 8-8 in the Patriot Athletic Conference in 2011-12).

The key returning players are John Miles (three-year starter and two-year captain) and Brian Arnold.

“(Miles) is the school’s all-time leader in 3-point shots made and attempted, for both a single season and career totals,” Warriors head coach Pete Maienknecht said. “He is a very intelligent basketball player, who has expanded his game this summer.

“Brian saw significant varsity action in the second half of (last) season,” he added. “He is an athletic, versatile power forward, and will be a key contributor to a very young and inexperienced team.”

The other returning players are seniors Dan Kolcan and Zach Jones. The key newcomers are seniors Zach Swain and Mike Rodriguez; juniors Bryce Johnson, Matt Mears and Richard Feldtz; and sophomores Kevin Kerchenski and Jack Wilkins.

According to Maienknecht, both Kerchenski and Wilkins are competing for starting spots.

“(We have) an extremely hard-working group of young men, who have shown excellent team chemistry thus far,” Maienknecht said. “All players are coming off winning seasons at various levels of the program (freshman through varsity). Our depth could be a positive; we have some versatility and a lot of interchangeable parts on this team.”

LUTHERAN WEST had a down year last season, with its overall record of 8-15 (4-12 in the PAC), but the Longhorns started tojell late in the season, winning the Painesville sectional.

The returning lettermen are Dan Hillenbrand, Chris Ranc, Chris Scott, Kyle Masek, Kameron Bremer, Greg Kunze and Peter Koza.

The key newcomers coming up from junior varsity are Brad Warnkin, Sam Shick, Andrew O’Hara and Joe Peters.

“We will have a good mixture of both youth and experience,” Longhorns head coach Alan Januzzi said. “Hillenbrand was our leading scorer and rebounder from last year’s sectional championship team, and point guard Chris Scott holds the single-season school assist record.

“Our strengths include athleticism and depth; weaknesses include overall basketball handling.”




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