With the pandemic causing problems for all sports programs, Archbold boys basketball has not been immune as they are trying to get ready for the 2020-21 season in a preseason that is anything but ordinary.
Nevertheless, they are looking to alter their offensive philosophy this season and hope that having four returning senior letter winners will aid them in the transition.
“Our first priority, as is always the case, is going to be on the defensive end,” said head coach Joe Frank. “We are still emphasizing defense even though we may give some shots up that we normally wouldn’t see our opponents take. We are going to try and play at a faster pace this year to take advantage of our quickness and hopefully, our depth. There may be a few bumps in the road as we adapt to this new style of play but we are committed to playing faster and having more possessions in each game. Our schedule, as usual, is going to be a difficult one. We look forward to competing with each team on our schedule, knowing that we will have to be ready to go each night.”
Experience is a key strength for the Blue Streaks this season, as they return a total of six letter winners. Other strengths, according to Frank, are overall team speed, having a hard-working group eager to prove themselves, and seniors that lead by example.
Notable returnees include senior Trey Theobald, second team All-Northwest Ohio Athletic League and honorable mention All-Northwest District; senior Noah Gomez; senior Austin Roth; senior Kobe Kennedy; junior DJ Newman, honorable mention All-District 7; and sophomore Alex Roth.
Of note, Theobald averaged 5.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game a season ago, Gomez 6 points per game, Newman 6.3 points and 3.9 rebounds, and Alex Roth 5.4 points per game.
Newcomers for the Streaks are juniors Tyler Hurst, Ashton Kammeyer, Brady Johns and Gavin Bailey; plus seniors Kenny Williams and Jayden Schulze.
“Identifying and playing roles could be an issue with not having an off-season and competing with other schools,” said Frank of a weakness for the season.
He has some other areas that concern him as well.
“Developing a mindset, as well as physical conditioning, that is required to play a faster pace this year,” Frank said.
“Scoring, especially when we are forced to run half-court offense/sets.”
The Streaks will also have to replace a pair of key pieces off last year’s team, a group that finished 18-7 overall and second in the NWOAL behind Evergreen.
Departed are Elijah Zimmerman, first team All-NWOAL/District 7 and third team All-Northwest District, and Ethan Hagans, honorable mention All-NWOAL.
Archbold will have winning a NWOAL title on their minds when league play begins. If they are able to capture it, it would be the program’s 29th overall.
“The NWOAL should again be very competitive with many teams capable of winning on any given night,” said Frank of the league. “Several teams have key returnees and it will be interesting to see how the NWOAL unfolds. Our goal, as always, is to be playing our best basketball at tourney time and to advance as far as we possibly can.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010