A strong nucleus of returning talent should have the Swanton girls basketball team competing near the top of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League this season.
The Bulldogs, who finished second in the league last season, return eight letter winners, including four who received All-NWOAL honors.
Guard Haley Nelson leads the way for Swanton after averaging 13.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game as a junior. She also finished third in the league scoring race. The three-year letter winner was first team All-NWOAL and first team District 7.
Senior Sidney Taylor (G/F) was second team all-league and honorable mention in District 7. She averaged 11.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per contest and was fifth in the league in scoring last season.
Senior Cydney Christensen (F/C) was honorable mention all-league and District 7 after averaging 8.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game last year. Senior forward Ally Hendricks was also honorable mention all-league last season.
Senior Kirsten Truckor (F), and juniors Abby Arnold (F), Madison Pettit (F) and Bridget Harlett (G/F) also return.
Third year coach Eric Oakes said “returning a veteran core of seniors and leaders with good experience” would be one strength for the Bulldogs, who were 15-9 overall and sectional champions last season. He also pointed to the team’s defense and good overall speed and height.
Oakes said the team will need young players to step up and gain experience. “We were not real deep last year off the bench which hurt us in games. Scoring can be a problem at times for us, at times we would have a 2-3 minute lull in games.”
A bevy of newcomers will be looking to possibly make an impact. They include Adrianne Wood, Jayla Bartolet, Grace Oakes, Aricka Lutz and Averie Lutz among others.
” (We) hope to be very competitive, (I’m) very excited about our potential,” said Oakes. “Won a lot of close games last year. (That) should carry over and help this season with a veteran group.”
Oakes thinks defending champion Archbold and Bryan will be among the top teams in a competitive NWOAL.
“I think the league will be balanced as far as talent and will have very competitive games all year,” said Oakes. “Any league team can beat another on any given night.”
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010