Once again the Wauseon boys basketball team is poised to have a successful season. The Indians have won or shared four of the last five Northwest Ohio Athletic League titles, and this season they are coming off a year in which they were state runner-up in Division II.
Wauseon hopes to make a return trip to state in 2017-18.
“We have a group of kids that are eager to compete and build off of last year’s successful season,” said head coach Chad Burt, heading into his ninth season in charge of the program. “They are a very coachable group and will continue to grow and develop as the season progresses.”
The Indians will miss honorable mention all-state performer and three-year starter Carter Bzovi, but they still have a lot back.
Their most notable returnee is 6’9” Austin Rotroff, who was second team All-Ohio in Division II a season ago. Rotroff was also the NWOAL Player of the Year, first team District 7, and first team all-district as a junior.
The recent Duquesne University signee averaged 13.3 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per game last season.
Other returning letter winners for the Indians are Brooks Gype (second team All-NWOAL, second team District 7, honorable mention all-district), Owen Newlove (honorable mention District 7), Dawson Rupp, Dalton Rice, CJ Moser, Everett Bueter, Trent Armstrong and Levi Seiler.
Gype averaged 12.6 ppg and 4 rpg during his junior campaign, while Newlove averaged 5 ppg and 4 rpg.
They will also have to replace starting point guard Brendan Britsch, who was honorable mention All-NWOAL and District 7 a year ago, along with bench player Logan Hines.
“We have a group that is very hard working,” said Burt on the strengths of his team. “They are eager to follow up last year’s success and have been really competing hard in practice. We should have a good combination of inside/outside scoring.”
Looking to add to the roster are newcomers Trevor Rodriguez, Sean Brock and Noah Tester.
“We graduated 3 seniors that made significant contributions on the court, but more importantly they were leaders in the locker room. This will not be easy to replace,” said Burt of his team’s weaknesses. “Team ball handling will be a point of emphasis and a major concern. We will need to continue to develop our perimeter skills to be successful offensively. Our perimeter shooting will need to get better as the season progresses.”
Although many on the outside might have the Indians winning the league, Burt doesn’t see it that way. He has his team finishing second to rival Archbold. After that he has Bryan at third, Evergreen fourth, Liberty Center fifth, Swanton sixth, Patrick Henry seventh and Delta eighth.
“Overall, the league will be very balanced and competitive,” said Burt of the NWOAL. “Archbold has tremendous guard play and many returning athletes off of last year’s state tournament team. Bryan and Evergreen return a very good nucleus of athletes. With the great coaches in the league, this should be a fun year in the league. Teams will have to be ready night in and night out in the league to make a run at the title.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010