Putnam County League boys basketball previews

Columbus Grove

Division: III

Coach: Chris Sautter (seventh season)

2021-22 overall record: 17-8

2021-22 league record: 4-3 PCL (tied for third), 5-3 NWC (fourth)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 64-45 to Ottoville in Division IV district finals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Bo Birnesser (Jr.), Zach Reynolds (Jr.), Tadd Koch (Sr.)

Others on varsity roster: Landon Best (Fr.), Trenton Barraza (Soph.), Kylan Mayes (Soph), Kyle Hopkins (Soph.), Evan Sautter (Jr.), Keegan Bame (Jr.)

Coach’s analysis: We are looking to replace four starters and 80% of our scoring lost to graduation and injury. We will be young and inexperienced, but we have guys that are willing to work to get better and will compete night in and night out against the high quality teams we have on our schedule. We hope to be playing our best basketball going into tournament time.


Division: IV

Coach: Scott Keck (third season)

2021-22 overall record: 7-16

2021-22 league record: 1-6 (eighth)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 47-46 to Ottoville in sectional semifinals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Konner Knipp-Williams (Sr.), Rhenn Armey (Sr.), Carson Etter (Jr.), Mason Rayle (Jr.), Jonathan Etter (Jr.)

Others on varsity roster: Brady Thomsen (Fr.), Monty Rayle (Fr.)

Coach’s analysis: We have two returning starters (seniors) with three juniors to fill out the starting lineup. We are not very deep this year as we only have two freshmen coming off the bench. We do have a lot of size. Both Konner and Brady are 6-feet-4. We lost some kids that played very hard and were able to defend last season to compete. With what we lose on the defensive end, hopefully we make up for that on the offensive end. Our three juniors are good shooters from the outside which we lacked last season. We will lean heavily on Konner inside, but there is no doubt in my mind we will have to make a lot of shots outside to win games. Armey is a four-year starter, and we expect him to lead this team. Our ultimate goal is to be able to compete each and every game, giving us a chance to win each night.

Fort Jennings

Division: IV

Coach: Todd Hoehn (third season)

2021-22 overall record: 6-17

2021-22 league record: 2-5 (tied for sixth)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 60-49 to Patrick Henry in sectional semifinals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Jaret Maag (Sr.), Chase Neidert (Sr.), Jarron Swick (Soph.), Ian Howbert (Soph.), Brandt Menke (Soph.)

Others on varsity roster: Ethan Koester (Jr.), Owen Calvelage (Soph.), Adam Hoersten (Soph.), Calvin Menke (Fr.), Sam Bube (Fr.), Ian Stechschulte (Soph.), Braden Knippen (Soph.), Evan Ellerbrock (Fr.)

Coach’s analysis: We will strive to compete with all our opponents, and our schedule is filled with very good teams and coaches so it will be a challenge every night. We will always try to get better.


Division: IV

Coach: Ryan Stechschulte (seventh season)

2021-22 overall record: 12-13

2021-22 league record: 4-3 (tied for third)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 50-42 to Columbus Grove in district semifinals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Jaden Smith (Sr.), Drew Fersch (Sr.), Evan Stechschulte (Sr.), Ethan Warnecke (Sr.), EJ Miller (Sr.)

Others on varsity roster: Joel Horstman (Sr.), Brady Fersch (Jr.), Aiden Killion (Jr.), Carson Remlinger (Jr.), Jacob Siebeneck (Soph.), Grant Fortman (Soph.), Braylon Smith (Soph.), Logan Kerner (Fr.)

Coach’s analysis: This is a very unselfish group who does a great job of sharing the basketball. We will need to use our athleticism to create advantages on both ends of the floor. We will have to continue to work to be better shooters, stronger athletes and the best teammates we can be. Creating continuity with this group will be an emphasis for us early on. It’s going to be important for our team to get better every single day we touch the floor in order for us to be where we want to be at the end of the season. Getting some help off our bench to create much needed depth will also be a key to our success. The PCL and Division IV in Northwest Ohio will once again be full of very good teams. Our goal is to be one of those teams. A team capable of winning a league championship and making a deep tournament run.


Division: IV

Coach: Devin Mangas (first season)

2021-22 overall record: 14-9

2021-22 league record: 4-3 PCL (tied for third), 4-4 NWC (fifth)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 41-31 in overtime to Kalida in sectional finals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Paul Maag (Sr.), Caleb Ellerbrock (Sr.), Trent Siefker (Jr.), Quin Schroeder (Jr.), Estevan Carrillo (Jr.),

Others on varsity roster: Hayden Hiegel (Sr.), Jacob Scheckelhoff (Jr.), Mason Rader (Jr.), Ty Lammers (Soph.), Jayce Brecht (Soph.), Connor Guevara (Jr.), Nick Schroeder (Soph.), Diego Lomeli (Jr.), Tavis Bejarano (Soph.).

Coach’s analysis: Competitive, give ourselves a chance to win every game we play by using our length and athleticism on defense.

Miller City

Division: IV

Coach: Ross Kaufman (fifth season)

2021-22 overall record: 11-12

2021-22 league record: 2-5 (tied for sixth)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 53-42 to Pandora-Gilboa in sectional semifinals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Thomas Weis (Sr.), Silas Niese (Jr.), Ethan Barlage (Jr.), Owen Tobe (Jr.)

Varsity roster: Grant Palte (Sr.), Connor Hermiller (Sr.), Aaron Schnipke (Jr.), Zach Gerten (Jr.), Lane Pester (Jr.), Andon Ruhe (Jr.), Brendan Barlage (Soph.), Jude Otto (Soph.), Will Otto (Soph.)

Coach’s analysis: Strengths are depth and lengthy defenders. Working on chemistry with so many new guys.


Division: IV

Coach: Keith Utendorf (sixth season)

2021-22 overall record: 17-10

2021-22 league record: 5-2 (tied for first)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 59-45 to Tiffin Calvert in regional semifinals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Kellen Schlagbaum (Sr.), Carter Horstman (Sr.), Trey Landwehr (Sr.), Grant Leis (Sr.), Noah Sellers (Sr.), Alex Suever (Sr.), Michael Turnwald (Jr.)

Others on varsity roster: Keaton Schnipke (Jr.), Jace Langhals (Jr.), Adam Brinkman (Jr.), Andy Moorman (Jr.), Garrett Trentman (Soph.), Landon Horstman (Soph.)

Coach’s analysis: We have several returners and starters for the year and should have a good mix of experience and leadership and youth. This group has enjoyed success this fall in both soccer and golf. We hope and believe in those sports can be transferable and with the right work ethic, our goals can be obtainable. These guys have played together for many years and are an extremely close knit group that is excited to get started. Our non-league schedule is competitive and challenging which we hope will prepare us for the always competitive PCL schedule. The PCL is always contested, and night in, night out is one of the better leagues in small school Northwest Ohio. We hope to compete and be a factor throughout the season ahead.


Division: IV

Coach: Mike Lee (fourth season)

2021-22 overall record: 16-8

2021-22 league record: 5-2 PCL (tied for first); Blanchard Valley Conference 9-0 (first)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 44-31 to Ottoville in sectional finals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Colin Harris (Jr.), Aiden Harris (Jr.), Aidan Morris (Jr.)

Others on varsity roster: Derek Maag (Sr.), Andrew Suter (Jr.), Owen Huffman (Jr.), Nate Walker (Soph.), Carson Meyer (Jr.), Zach Neuenschwander (Jr.), Tanner Liechty (Jr.), Nate Maag (Jr.), Jake Maag (Sr.)

Coach’s analysis: We will need to develop depth and maintain our consistency defensively. An overall lack of size is a concern in the rebounding areas. We are looking to be more uptempo offensively and will need to find more proven scorers. Our kids are looking forward to competing and continuing a standard of getting better each and every week.

Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.