Archbold boys basketball looks to dethrone Wauseon in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League this season.
The Blue Streaks return six letter winners off last year’s squad that came just shy of making back-to-back trips to state.
“This year, like always, the key to our season will be our defense,” said new head coach Joe Frank. “Our ability to guard and rebound the basketball to finish possessions will go a long way in determining how successful we will be this season. We have some key personnel back, but how each player adjusts to the role they are given will be huge.”
Frank, who served as the junior varsity coach the past 34 seasons at Archbold, takes over for longtime coach Doug Krauss who retired after last season. The Streaks were 22-4 in Krauss’ final season.
Notable returnees for the Streaks are Rigo Ramos (honorable mention All-NWOAL, second team District 7), Austin Wiemken (honorable mention All-NWOAL, District 7), and Jeron Williams.
Ramos averaged 11.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last season, while Wiemken notched 10.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Jeron Williams was at nearly 4 (3.7) points per game and posted 52 assists off the bench for the Streaks.
Other returning letter winners are Elijah Zimmerman, Travis Ziegler and AJ Mahnke.
“We expect our returners to be our leaders at both ends of the court,” said Frank. “Rigo is back for his third year of varsity basketball and we are expecting him to contribute heavily on both ends of the floor. Jeron received quality minutes last year, and we are looking for a big year from him. He has lettered twice as a back-up but now it’s his turn to shine. Austin had a nice season for us last year and has worked hard in the off-season to improve his game. He will be improved in all areas of his game from last year. Elijah played off the bench last year and logged valuable minutes for us. We are expecting him to make a big impact this year.”
Newcomers for the Streaks will be Andrew Hogrefe, Matthew Gladieux, Ethan Hagans and Noah Cheney.
Frank will stress defense first, above all else. “Last year we held teams to 42.5 points per game, and we are looking to continue to play solid defense,” he said. “Our opponents shot 39 percent from the field last year and we are hoping for similar results. Finally, each possession on the defensive end finishes with a defensive rebound. We will continue to emphasize checking out and going after the ball.”
Archbold will have to replace some key players from the 2017-18 squad. The most notable loss is Bryce Williams who received first team honors in the NWOAL, Northwest District and District 7, along with being named special mention All-Ohio.
Also gone are Eli Miller (first team All-NWOAL, first team District 7, honorable mention all-district), Kaiden Bedsole (honorable mention All-NWOAL, District 7), Cash Gericke and Caleb Wooley.
“We graduated five seniors who accumulated 17 letters in basketball,” stated Frank. “We do return four players who played a lot of minutes last season but will need to develop some depth from first-year varsity players.
“We graduated some tremendous leaders and will be looking for some players to step in and fill the role of leader for this team.”
Archbold, after watching rival Wauseon take the league title outright each of the past two seasons, would like to move back to the front of the pack this season.
“The NWOAL looks to be competitive, as always, and I see several teams competing for the title,” said Frank. “Evergreen, Wauseon, Bryan, and Swanton should be in the hunt. We feel that we also will compete well in the NWOAL this season. All NWOAL teams have some key people back from last year, so it should be a dogfight to the end this year. We are hoping to be playing our best ball at the end of the season and to make a nice tourney run.”
The Streaks and Indians square off in Archbold for a non-league tilt this Saturday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010