1. Will Versailles fill up gyms with Ohio State recruit Justin Ahrens playing his senior season?
The answer probably is yes and no. Having one of the best players in the state will bring a few more fans out to watch the Tigers’ games. But they play in the Midwest Athletic Conference, so the gyms are already full or close to it.
2. Can Ottawa-Glandorf contend for the Western Buckeye League championship and make a tournament run after Jay Kaufman, the Titans’ leading scorer and rebounder a year ago, suffered a torn ACL last spring?
The 6-foot, 4-inch senior was the Western Buckeye League Player of the Year and second-team All-Ohio last season when he averaged 18.5 points and 9.2 rebounds a game. O-G has five returning players from last season’s 21-3 team who averaged between 7.5 points and 18.5 points a game.
3. With a talented roster that includes several juniors who have played varsity since their freshman season, is Crestview poised for a big season?
The Knights won 17 games last season, were runner-up to Spencerville in the Northwest Conference and were district runner-up to state semifinalist Delphos St. John’s. They’ll get a late start because of the football team’s success, but that’s nothing new.
Javin Etzler was a first-team All-NWC player last year and has offers from four NCAA Division I schools.
4. Can Perry win its fourth consecutive Northwest Central Conference championships?
The Commodores were a state semifinalist a year ago and have won 22, 18, 18 and 24 games the last four seasons. But they will have to replace two first-team All-NWCC players (Jakoby Lane-Harvey and Kobe Glover) and two second-team All-NWCC selections (Orion Monford and Plummie Gardner).
5. What are some intriguing non-league match-ups?
The Lima Senior-Middletown rivalry has a storied history and the Spartans get to make some more history on Dec. 9 when they will be the opponent for the first game in Middletown’s new gym.
On Dec. 27, two of the most successful basketball programs in the state will play a rare regular-season game against each other when Kalida plays at Lima Central Catholic.
The Lima city bragging rights will be on the line again when Lima Senior plays at LCC on Jan. 23. And when Delphos St. John’s goes to Fremont St. Joseph on Dec. 1, it will be the start of the 100th season of basketball for the Blue Jays’ program.
6. What is an intriguing league game for an unusual reason?
Fort Jennings and Ottoville share a corner of southwest Putnam County three miles apart. The two towns will share something else this season because Ottoville’s coach, Keith Utendorf, was Fort Jennings’ coach last season, which should add a little extra to their two games against each other. The league match-up between the two Putnam County League teams is on Jan. 26.
7. Is there a team that could catch fire during the season and go all the way to the state tournament like Delphos St. John’s did last year?
The Blue Jays were 3-3 six games into last season but won 18 of their next 19 games to reach the state tournament.
8. Will there be a noticeable effect from the Ohio High School Athletic Association using its competitive balance numbers to make basketball division assignments for the first time this season?
For the record, Cleveland Lutheran East and The Wellington School, who beat Delphos St. John’s and Perry in the Division IV state tournament last season, are in Division III this year.
9. Is offense making a comeback in high school basketball?
After years of defense having the upper hand, there seemed to be just a little more offense in high school basketball last season. Was that the start of a trend or just an aberration?
10. What’s being done about lopsided tournament games?
There will be a running clock in tournament games when a team takes a lead of 30 points or more in the second half. The Ohio High School Athletic Association approved this because of a large number of one-sided games in sectional tournaments.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.