SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP — Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy is in good shape to knock heads with the upper echelon of the Miami Valley Conference this season.
The Eagles return seven lettermen from last year’s district runner-up squad. All-MVC Scarlet performers Erik Kohlan and Blake Southerland return as leaders of the team.
“Those two have led by example in the past, and they are doing it again this year,” coach Andy Keimer said. “They were outstanding in the summer and have been great in the weight room. They are doing everything right.”
Cory Combs, Cody Shiver, Tanner Southerland and Matthew Kadnar, among others, all could be key contributors for CHCA this year as well.
Every day in practice, Keimer is challenging his players to be the one who steps up and helps the team. He is hopeful that attitude carries over into the season. The Eagles play a tough schedule of MVC games and have contests against teams such as Alter, Elder, Mason and Milford.
“We hold ourselves accountable in everything we do,” the coach said. “The kids are excited about the year.”
The Sycamore Aviators are out to break a skid of two losing seasons as they try to get back to their league title form of 2012-13. The 2014-15 team struggled to a 4-19 record (3-13 Greater Miami Conference), but they do return four starters.
Back are 6-foot-4 sophomore Tate Goodyear, 6-foot-3 senior Kevin Cochran, senior Vince Logsdon and sophomore Christian Kelly.
As a freshman post player, Goodyear averaged 6.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game against tough GMC competition. Logsdon was third in the league in steals, averaging nearly two a game. He led in total number of steals and is closing in on a school record in that category.
Helping the Aves this winter will be 6-foot-9 junior Jaden Sayles, a transfer from Kings. He already has an offer from Bowling Green and is attracting other Division I interest. Also back from our nation’s capital is Jack Gruden. As a sophomore, Gruden averaged 5.6 points per game for Sycamore two seasons ago.
“We had a long, hard season last year and our guys worked hard in the off-season,” Sycamore coach Dave Moss said. “We’re an interesting team, as we have a little bit of size, shooters and athleticism. Our success will be contingent on our ability to play as a unit and make shots.”
Sycamore starts the season with a non-conference game with Milford Nov. 28. The GMC slate begins Dec. 1 at home with Middletown.
With several experienced players returning from a team that shared the Greater Catholic League-South championship with Elder and La Salle, Moeller High School returns a deep basketball roster for 2015-16.
Playing without injured center Nate Fowler (now at Butler), the Crusaders were 18-9 (4-2 GCL-South) in their 15th straight winning season under Carl Kremer.
Moeller returns senior guards Trey McBride and Nate Georgeton and junior 6-foot-5 guard Riley Voss as starters. McBride averaged 11.1 points per game and 6.5 rebounds and was first team GCL, second team all-district and honorable mention in Southwest Ohio.
Georgeton was second team GCL, averaging 7 points per game while dishing out 5.6 assists. Voss as a sophomore was second team GCL averaging 6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Adding depth are 6-foot-7 senior forward Sam McCracken, senior shooting guard Kenny Wead and 6-foot-5 junior guard Keegan McDowell.
“We have a team with considerable experience and great leadership,” Kremer said. “If we continue to grow collectively, we can be a very good team.”
Moeller starts the season Nov. 27 at Taft and then hosts Kings in their home opener Dec. 1. Dec. 26-31 they will participate in the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Crusaders feature several college prospects.
“Nate Georgeton is signed with Division II Northwood,” Kremer said. “Trey McBride and Sam McCracken are still involved in the recruiting process, primarily with DII and NAIA schools. Underclassmen Keegan McDowell, Riley Voss and Isaiah Payton (sophomore) all have offers from DI or DII programs.”
The upside of Indian Hill High School’s Division IV football playoff loss to Clinton-Massie was that none of coach Tim Burch’s basketball players were hurt.
Burch was at the football games this season making sure the various multi-purpose athletes that also grace the hardwood remained safe. Like Tony Arcuri’s football team, they have the talent to win the Cincinnati Hills League, something they haven’t done since 2010.
Last year’s team was 14-11 overall (8-6 CHL). Among players that started at one point or another last season are Nick Heidel, Colin Shaw, Matteo Fiore and Reed and Dawson Aichholz. Shaw made CHL first team as a freshman with a 15.2 scoring average for fifth in the league, while Fiore was honorable mention as a sophomore.
Nick Heidel was third in the CHL in scoring at 16.8 points per game and second in steals and blocks as a junior. He was also the team’s leading rebounder. The Aichholz twins combined to average about nine points and nine rebounds combined as sophomores.
The Braves are still young with Heidel being the only senior out of that five.
“We bring back a lot of youthful experience, great guard play and add transfer student George Davis which should add depth,” Burch said. “If we can get the football players back into basketball shape, we should be very competitive with a very tough schedule.”
Heidel, Shaw and the Aichholz brothers just hung up the football pads and Matteo Fiore was on the Indian Hill soccer team.
Indian Hill starts their non-conference schedule off at Anderson Nov. 28. They jump right into the belly of the fire in the CHL Dec. 4 by hosting Wyoming. The Braves eliminated the Cowboys in the tournament last March after losing twice to them during the regular season.
Players to watch
Tate Goodyear, Sycamore – 6.9 points per game and 5.6 rebounds as a freshman post player last season.
Jaden Sayels, Sycamore – 6-foot-9 transfer from Kings attracting Division I interest. Already has an offer from Bowling Green.
Erik Kohlan and Blake Southerland, CHCA – All-MVC Scarlet performers return as leaders of the team.
Trey McBride, Moeller – first team GCL, second team all-district and honorable mention Southwest Ohio for the Crusaders.
Nate Georgeton, Moeller-second team GCL and committed to Division II Northwood.
Riley Voss, Moeller-second team GCL 6-foot-5 junior evaluating DI and DII offers.
Colin Shaw, Indian Hill – CHL first team as a freshman averaging 15.2 points per game.
Nick Heidel, Indian Hill – shooting threat who led the team in points (16.8) and rebounds.