Wauseon boys basketball lost an experienced core after last season, but they will look to reload for the 2019-20 campaign and continue their winning ways.
“We have a lot of new faces in new roles,” said head coach Chad Burt of his team. “We have won 18 or more games for 8 years in a row and have a group of kids that are eager to compete and establish themselves at the varsity level. However, we are very inexperienced as a whole. They are a very coachable group and will continue to grow and develop as the season progresses.”
The most notable returnee is Sean Brock who was honorable mention All-Northwest Ohio Athletic League and in District 7, all while averaging nine points per game and six rebounds. Also back are Noah Tester (5.5 points per game, 2 rebounds), Connar Penrod (2 points per game, 3 rebounds), Jonas Tester (2 points per game), Isaac Wilson and Tyson Britsch.
Newcomers looking to contribute will be Owen King, Noah Sauber, Easton Delgado, Kolton DeGroff, Jacob Hageman, Clay Stump, Carson Burt, Krue Powers and Matthew Shaw.
“We have a group that is very hard working and athletic overall,” said Burt on the strengths of his team. “They are eager to follow up on success from previous years and have been really competing hard in practice.”
However, they will have to replace three players who received all-league and all-district honors last season.
Gone for the Indians is Levi Seiler who was tabbed player of the year both in the NWOAL and District 7, as well as being named first team All-Northwest District and third team All-Ohio.
Trent Armstrong departs after he was first team all-league and District 7, plus third team All-Northwest District a season ago. Trevor Rodriguez – who also graduated – was honorable mention all-league and honorable mention District 7.
Garrett Smith, Zac Carroll and Dylan Michael graduated as well.
“We graduated six seniors that made significant contributions on the court, but more importantly they were leaders in the locker room,” stated Burt. “This will not be easy to replace. 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, as we lack overall height. Our perimeter shooting will need to get better as the season progresses.”
Wauseon finished last season 18-5 overall and 6-1 in the NWOAL, which was good enough for second place.
Burt looks for his team to finish in the middle of the league this season. His top four consists of Archbold, Evergreen, Bryan, and Wauseon.
“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,” he said. “Archbold has tremendous athletes and tradition. Bryan and Evergreen return arguably the top talent in the league. Swanton has outstanding talent and have kids that will compete. Liberty Center is very athletic. 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 opens the season at Fairview Saturday, Dec. 7.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010