Although they lose a quality senior class, Wauseon boys basketball looks to carry on its winning in 2018-19.
“We lost seven seniors to graduation that won a total of 72 games over the past three seasons,” said head coach Chad Burt. “We have a lot of new faces in new roles. We have a group of kids that are eager to compete and establish themselves at the varsity level but are inexperienced as a whole. They are a very coachable group and will continue to grow and develop as the season progresses.”
Last season, the Indians rolled to an unbeaten regular season (22-0), with their only loss coming to Lexington in a Division II regional semifinal. This was after making a run to the state title game in 2016-17.
Their most notable loss will be the departure of center Austin Rotroff. Now playing at Duquesne, Rotroff was first team All-Ohio last season to go along with multiple player of the year honors.
Also gone for the Indians is Brooks Gype who was first team All-Northwest Ohio Athletic League, first team in District 7, second team all-district and honorable mention all-state. He averaged nine points per game and four rebounds a season ago. Owen Newlove (second team District 7, honorable mention All-NWOAL), Dawson Rupp, Dalton Rice, CJ Moser and Everett Bueter also depart for the Indians.
“We graduated seven 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 on potential 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. Rebounding at both ends is a major concern as well. Our perimeter shooting will need to get better as the season progresses.”
However, they do get back two of their top scorers from last season. Trent Armstrong was first team District 7, second team all-league, and honorable mention all-district. Levi Seiler returns after being named first team District 7 and second team all-league.
Seiler notched 9.5 ppg and almost five (4.8) rebounds per contest, while Armstrong posted 9.2 ppg.
Other returnees for the Indians are Trevor Rodriguez, Sean Brock and Noah Tester. Newcomers are Tyson Britsch, Dylan Michael, Jared Richer, Connar Penrod, Jonas Tester, Garrett Smith, Zac Carroll and Isaac Wilson.
“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.”
Burt feels rival Archbold is the top dog in the NWOAL. He then has Evergreen finishing second, his Indians coming in at third, Bryan fourth, Swanton fifth.
“Overall, the league will be as balanced and competitive as it has been in a long time with a number of teams capable of winning the league title,” explained Burt. “Archbold has tremendous guard play and many returning athletes. Bryan and Evergreen return arguably the top talent in the league. Swanton made great strides last year and have kids that will compete. 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.”
Wauseon is at Archbold Saturday in a non-league contest.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010