BUCYRUS – The Bucyrus Redmen made school history last year – it could happen again in 2015-16.
Last season marked the first time in 47 years the Redmen put together back-to-back 10-plus win seasons. If they do it again this year, in will be the first time since 1954 Bucyrus has witnessed three 10-win seasons in a row.
But if the Redmen want to make history, they will do it with a completely new cast of players. The 12-12 2014-15 Redmen saw 10 players graduate leaving just two returning letter winners.
Keith Smith and Gavin Lewis return as the lone letter winners. Between the two, they have a total of 10 varsity points and eight games of experience. Coach Tony Rose and the Redmen have an uphill battle.
Rose has been at the helm for two years and has already helped the Redmen make school history.
“We will get better as we gain experience,” Rose said. “Ten wins is goal No. 1 so that we can break that 62 year drought.”
There are major question marks heading into the season. Aside from Smith and Lewis, junior Isaiah Johnson is the only other player on the roster who has a varsity point. The 6-foot-4 post is the tallest member of the Redmen squad. But the Redmen faithful will see some familiar faces they did not see last season.
Seniors Zane Richardson and Keegan Sims are back on the hardwood after taking the year off. They both played major minutes on the junior varsity team as sophomores. Senior Austin Tackett transferred in to play for the Redmen, but he will not be available until game 12, a home game against Galion.
“We have above average speed so we should be able to push the ball up the floor but we do not have a true point guard and no returning scorers,” Rose said. “So, the big question is who is going to score for us on a consistent basis?”
The Redmen have a lot of young talent. Five sophomores will be looked at to contribute at the varsity level — a year after winning the Northern 10 championship as freshmen. Gram Dick and Kade Slagle both saw brief varsity time as freshmen. Slagle could have cracked the starting lineup and been the true point guard but suffered a torn ACL during football and is likely out for the season.
Dick played in one varsity game for less than a minute. Ryan Evans was a starting guard on the freshman championship team and is likely to see varsity action. Noah Johnson and Clinton Carr will be looking to crack the varsity lineup.
Juniors Haden Johnston and Braxen Spears both played major minutes at the JV level and will look to make an impact. Spears in a 6-foot-3 forward and Johnson is a 5-9 guard.
“Our speed will allow us to press teams with weaker guards,” Rose said. “We do not have much height in the post so boxing out is a must. Big post players will give us trouble if we do not box out.”
Rose provided his outlook for the N10.
“Upper Sandusky has to be the heavy favorite with almost everyone returning,” Rose said. “Buckeye Central and Colonel Crawford should be strong as well. We hope to compete every night and be in the middle of the pack or better.”
The Redmen kick off their season on Saturday as they host Northmor in the first game of the winter season in The Kish.