Western Buckeye League boys basketball previews


Division: II

Coach: Sean Powell (second season)

2021-22 overall record: 8-16

2021-22 league record: 2-7 (tied for seventh)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 43-32 to Bluffton in Division III in sectional finals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Mitch Barr (Sr.), Drake Craddock (Soph.), Cole Craddock (Soph.)

Others on varsity roster: Zach Welsh (Fr.), Trey Crawford (Jr.), Joe Mosley (Jr.), Eli Jesko (Jr.), Zavier Tickle (Soph.), Jaxon Foster (Soph.), Drew Pester (Fr.), Brennon Ryan (Jr.), Logan Markley (Fr.)

Coach’s analysis: We return two players that saw significant time on the floor from last year’s ball club. We have a unique group this year that gives us an opportunity to play position-less at times. The ability to defend in the WBL is our center of interest as we build day by day a winning culture. Mitch Barr is our lone senior. We look for him to lead this young Wildcat group. We have the Craddock twins back for their sophomore season. Drake and Cole will look to be our floor generals. Junior Trey Crawford and Sophmores Jaxon Foster and Zavier Tickle will be key contributors in their first year at the varsity level.


Division: II

Coach: Adam Johns (third season)

2021-22 overall record: 8-16

2021-22 league record: 2-7 (tied for seventh)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 52-28 to St. Marys in sectional finals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Braylon Gabes (Jr.), Caleb Gabes (Jr.), Landen Ackley (Sr.)

Others on varsity roster: Grant Duncan (Jr.), Carter Altstaetter (Jr.), Nate Bye (Jr.), Nathan Rammel (Sr.), Kaiden Werntz (Soph.), Jake Knapke (Jr.), Ethan Bryant (Jr.), Isaac Rasawehr (Sr.), Dalton Chilcoat (Soph.), Stephen Warner (Sr.)

Coach’s analysis: Figure out who we are as a team. Playing our best basketball come tournament time.


Division: II

Coach: Matt Tabler (second season)

2021-22 overall record: 3-20

2021-22 league record: 0-9 (10th)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 58-42 to Napoleon in sectional semifinals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Tori Thomas (Sr.), Brice Engle (Sr.), Jackson Covault (Jr.), David Etzkorn (Jr.), Seth Sharp (Jr.), Zori Island (Soph.)

Others on varsity roster: Camden Howard (Sr.), Tanner Roberts (Jr.), Travis Adkins (Jr.), Eben Jackson (Soph.), A’Mari Wash (Fr.), Isaiah Judkins (Sr.), Parker Crim (Fr.)

Coach’s analysis: Although the last season did not turn out the way we wanted, a lot of young players gained varsity experience. Only graduating two seniors and returning many players will help the program to experience success. In order for us to be successful we need to take care of the basketball and shoot the ball at a higher percentage, while playing defense at a high level.


Division: II

Coach: Ryan Miller (second season)

2021-22 overall record: 4-17

2021-22 league record: 2-7 (tied for seventh)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 36-34 to Celina in sectional semifinals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Tyson Lawrence (Sr.), Colby Quay (Sr.), Seth Manns (Sr.), Ethan Yoder (Jr.), Gavin Payne (Jr.)

Others on varsity roster: Blaine Bushong (Fr.), Carson DeLong (Soph.), Dawson Miller (Soph.), Parker Rarey (Sr.), Steven Piper (Soph.), Manny Wilson (Sr.), Jayson Dyer (Sr.), Cohan Cook (Jr.), Bill Wilkinson (Soph.)

Coach’s analysis: We are pretty athletic and like to run. We also like to pressure the basketball in the full court. We will look to increase our shooting percentage as well as decrease our number of turnovers each game. I’m very excited to coach this year’s group of guys. We had an excellent off-season and many of the guys spent a lot of time in the gym. I really look for this group to be successful. We were very inexperienced last season. That is not the case this year. Our experience should help us to be more competitive.


Division: III

Coach: Tyson McGlaughlin (14th season)

2021-22 overall record: 25-3

2021-22 league record: 9-0 (first)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 48-45 to Cincinnati Taft in state championship

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Colin White (Jr.), Theo Maag (Sr.), Hunter Stechschulte (Sr.), Caden Erford (Jr.)

Others on varsity roster: Ty Buckland (Sr.), Grant Schroeder (Jr.), Alex Wagner (Jr.), Conner Kitchen (Jr.), Brad Maag (Sr.), Levi Unterbrink (Sr.), Ryan Ross (Sr.), Grady Tousmazos (Soph.), Dave Westrick (Jr.)

Coach’s analysis: We have some great length and multiple guys that can score the basketball. Rebounding is an area we hope to be a strength for us and we hope to use our athletes to play a fun style of basketball. We lost a group of seniors last year that were very intelligent basketball players and a group that brought tremendous leadership. We need to continue to develop chemistry and work to develop a well-balanced team. The WBL has multiple teams this year that return almost their entire roster from last year. As always, the WBL will be a gauntlet and tough night in and night out.


Division: II

Coach: Mark Triplett (10th season)

2021-22 overall record: 17-8

2021-22 league record: 6-3 (tied for third)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 59-44 to Napoleon in district semifinals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Toby Freiberger (Sr.), Will McBride (Sr.), Austin Miller (Sr.), Zach Noonan (Sr.), Keegan Wilson (Sr.), Dominic Lynch (Jr.), Nick Pasion (Jr.)

Others on varsity roster: Boston Barker (Sr.), Chase Beery (Sr.), Sage Ebling (Sr.), Brady Gabes (Sr.), CJ Schnipke (Sr.), Alex Goldsberry (Jr.), Noah Williams (Jr.), Caleb Miller (Soph.), Beckett Bertke (Fr.)

Coach’s analysis: We bring back seven letter winners from last season, and get a returning starter back from injury. We have a group of competitive kids with high expectations and standards. Our three biggest keys will be rebounding the basketball, sharing the basketball, and getting our leaders to push us to get 1% better each day. If those things happen, we feel like we will have a chance to compete in every game.

St. Marys

Division: II

Coach: Daniel Hegemier (fourth season; previously coached St. Marys from 2009-15)

2021-22 overall record: 18-8

2021-22 league record: 6-3 (tied for third)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 62-35 to Gilmour Academy in regional finals

Varsity roster includes: Jaden Lotz (Sr.), Noah Payne (Soph.), Heath Dilsaver (Sr.), Cobain Owens (Jr.), Lennon Cisco (Jr.), Brayden Sullivan (Sr.), Noah Dixon (Soph.), Alex Hoenie (Soph.), Jace Turner (Jr.), Brennan Steger (Soph.), Evan Angstmann (Jr.), Austin Parks (Sr.)

Van Wert

Division: II

Coach: Ben Laudick (fourth season)

2021-22 overall record: 16-7

2021-22 league record: 6-3 (tied for third)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 56-53 in overtime to Wauseon in sectional finals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Aidan Pratt (Sr.), Garett Gunter (Sr.), Carson Smith (Sr.), Luke Wessell (Sr.), Nate Phillips (Sr.), AJ Proffitt (Sr.)

Others on varsity roster: Kaden Shaffer (Jr.), Conner Campbell (Jr.), James Welker (Jr.), Colin Haggerty (Jr.), Rylan Miller (Jr.), Gage Stemen (Jr.)

Coach’s analysis: The Van Wert Cougars return six letterman from last year’s 16-7 team. The Cougars will once again have a late start to the season as the football team is still playing (Regional Finals) and many of our players are still actively involved with the football team. The positive side to this is we have a lot of experienced players coming back so once we get our basketball legs underneath us, we look forward to competing each Friday night in the always tough WBL as well as a very competitive non-league schedule. Aidan Pratt (First Team WBL) and Garett Gunter (Second Team WBL) return as three year starters so their leadership and experience will be valuable early on in the season as well as fellow seniors Carson Smith, Nate Phillips, Luke Wessell, and AJ Proffitt who were key contributors to last year’s 16-7 team. Van Wert lost four seniors to graduation (Ethan Brown, Nate Jackson, Ty Jackson, Trey Laudick) but in addition to the six returning seniors, the Cougars have a solid group of juniors who will be called upon to help fill the void of graduation as the Cougars start the season.


Division: II

Coach: Trey Elchert (third season)

2021-22 overall record: 15-8

2021-22 league record: 5-4 (sixth)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 54-45 to Shawnee in sectional finals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Jackson Courter (Sr.), Grant Bauer (Sr.), Nate Metzger (Jr.), Zac Niekamp (Jr.)

Others on varsity roster: Deacon Retterer (Sr.), Jordan Schneider (Sr.), Logan Crow (Sr.), Cash Schadl (Jr.), Logan Healy (Jr.), Ryan Sadler (Jr.), Crew Allen (Jr.), Caleb Moyer (Fr.), Ryan Richardson (Fr.), Kaden Page (Fr.)

Coach’s analysis: As always, the goal will be to compete at the top of the extremely competitive WBL. We graduated four starters from last year’s squad and will need a number of individuals to step in to new roles. To compete and win on a regular basis, we will need to defend and rebound at a high level. The WBL has five first team players returning this year and I would expect of a lot of dogfights on Friday nights in the league.

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