After leading a complete turnaround in just two seasons at Wyoming, head coach Matt Rooks departed for Lakota West. His successor, Tim Edmonds, inherits a squad coming off of a 22-win season.
When this year’s seniors were freshmen, the Cowboys varsity team won just two games. The program is in much better shape entering the 2014-15 season, which heightens expectations for the upperclassmen.
The Cowboys will be led by junior Mason Rogers and seniors Walker Lewis and Hudson Rogers. Sophomores Jake Edmonds and Lonnie Grayson should take a leap after gaining valuable varsity experience as freshmen.
“We have a good combination of experience and youth,” said Tim Edmonds, a former head coach at Turpin and CHCA and assistant at Moeller and Wyoming.
Last year’s squad earned a share of the CHL title, Wyoming’s first since 2007. The Cowboys will need a go-to scorer to emerge, but should begin the season with a balanced offensive attack.
Wyoming opens the season on Dec. 5 against Mt. Healthy.
Coming off a dismal 3-17 season, Princeton High School would very much like to move on – with some wins.
Just one starter returns, senior Jordan Bradley, who averaged 8.9 points per game last season. The Vikings have one major benefit going into the season – seniors. Along with Bradley, there’s Sean Cook, Deshannon Lewis, Kevin Rainey and Mody Guisse (all seniors).
“We will play an uptempo style that will be fun and challenging,” said Princeton coach Jamal Walker.
Princeton, which competes in the Greater Miami Conference, will open its season on the road against Mason Dec. 9.
Moeller returns just one starter from last season’s 24-2 squad that advanced to the regional final. The Crusaders will build around 6’9″ senior forward Nate Fowler, a Butler University commit. He averaged a double-double as a junior and is closing in on Bobby Brannen’s career rebounding record, which has stood for 20 years.
Last season ended on a disappointing note for the top-ranked squad, as it let Trotwood-Madison rally for a fourth quarter comeback in the regional championship. After graduating the majority of varsity contributors, Moeller will need former role players and junior varsity starters to step up into much bigger roles this season.
“We are a very inexperienced team who will be challenged early in the season,” said head coach Carl Kremer. “If we develop chemistry, we will have a chance to be very competitive.”
At least the Crusaders have upperclassmen who have been around the program and know that the expectations are high. Seniors Grant Pitman, Kevin Kerley, Brad Munz, and Kurtis Hoffman, the program’s other four seniors, will join classmate Fowler in the starting lineup to begin the year.
Moeller will be tested over winter break at the Battle at the Villages tournament in central Florida. If they can enter 2015 with a settled starting five, the Crusaders can again make a deep run in the postseason. The key will be finding enough support to prevent teams from focusing on shutting down Fowler.
Moeller opens the season on Dec. 5 against Ryle.
Roger Bacon High School should find out fairly quickly if they’ll be able to replace all five starters from last season’s Greater Catholic League Coed Central Division championship team that finished 22-5.
Youth and inexperience can be difficult to overcome, but with them also comes excitement and energy, said ninth-year coach Brian Neal.
Neal pointed out that he likes the eagerness of his young guys and their desire to learn and compete.
Bacon’s new faces include all underclassmen. Juniors William Greene and Elijah Fulton, as well as sophomores Craig McGee, Justin Johnson and James Johnson are the players to watch.
Size won’t be an issue with both Johnson’s and Fulton all topping out at least 6-foot-4.
The Spartans are at home winning. This season, they’ll be shooting for their seventh consecutive winning season when they take the floor in their home and season opener Dec. 5 against Finneytown.
Coming off a 9-13 season and going winless in the GCL South, St. Xavier High School will have a lot to play for this season. Of course, the Bombers play in one of the more difficult conferences in the state which means there’s not a whole lot of room for error.
St. X returns just one starter, senior guard Jack Westerfield who averaged 4.2 points per game and led the team in free throw shooting (87.5 percent) and 3-point shooting (40 percent).
The Bombers will have to find a way to replace Roderick Mills who led the GCL in scoring last season (18.9).
Look for James Heskett, Sam Martin, Henry Keuchly and Hunter Lampley to step into integral roles this season.
The Bombers open at home against Turpin Dec. 5.