The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022

County boys’ cage teams ready to play

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports

It’s time to hoop it up!  The 2016-2017 boys high school basketball season tips off this weekend for Lincolnview and Van Wert, and next weekend for Crestview.

Lincolnview (27-2 8-0 Northwest Conference champions, sectional, district and regional champions, lost in state finals to Cornerstone Christian) lost a wealth of talent to graduation, but head coach Brett Hammons is hoping to reload.

Lincolnview Lancer logo 4-2015Hammons said with so many new players, he’s still trying to figure out a starting lineup. But for now, his projected lineup will consist of the only returning letter winner — 5-9 junior guard Kaden Ringwald, along with 5-9 junior guard Chayton Overholt, 6-1 senior guard Ryan Rager, 6-2 senior forward Ethan Kemler and 6-2 junior forward Isaac Bowersock.

Key reserves will include 5-9 sophomore guard Logan Williams, 6-foot guard Alek Bowersock, 6-2 sophomore forward Zane Miller, 6-foot junior forward Tristin Miller and 5-10 senior forward Dylan Lee.

Lincolnview’s varsity roster also includes 6-foot sophomore guard Kyle Wallis and 6-2 senior guard Nick Motycka.

“What I like so far is that the kids are working hard, competing, and learning about what I want them to do at the varsity level,” Hammons said. “We are getting better every day.

“If we can continue to get our players to develop and play with consistency on both ends of the floor, I feel we could have a successful season,” Hammons added.

Offensively, the Lancers will utilize the motion offense, and will be man-to-man defensively. As far as the NWC race, Hammons believe it will be competitive from start to finish.

“I feel that the conference is going to be very balanced from top to bottom,” Hammons said. “I feel if we play to the level we can we could put ourselves in very good position to contend in the conference.”

The Lancers’ season begins Saturday at home against Van Wert.

The NWC opener will be December 16, at Spencerville.

Much like Lincolnview, (7-17,1-8 Western Buckeye League), Van Wert lost a lot of experience to graduation, but head coach Mark Bagley has a number of talented players on the roster.

Cougar head logoBagley’s top six players include three letter winners — 5-8 junior point guard Jacoby Kelly, 6-foot senior guard Dylan Lautzenheiser, and 6-foot senior wing Nick Gutierrez. 6-3 sophomore Drew Bagley, 6-1 sophomore Nate Place and 6-5d Blake Henry are also vying for starting duties.

Other promising newcomers include 5-10 junior Brice Klausing, 6-1 sophomore Austin Sudduth, 6-foot junior Jonathan Lee and 6-3 senior Matthew Reichert.

“This is the fastest and most athletic team we have had in several years at Van Wert,” Bagley said. “We have more size than in the past, and we plan to run hard early to shoot layups and pound the ball inside.”

“The versatility of the team should make for some tough matchups by using depth, size and quickness.”

Van Wert’s schedule offers a number of challenges. Along with the always tough WBL, the Cougars will play a number of top notch non-league teams, including defending Division III state champion Lima Central Catholic, Wayne Trace, and Carroll, a Division I team out of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The scheduled season and home opener against Crestview has been moved to January 7, 2017. The Cougars will now open the season Saturday at Lincolnview, with the WBL opener December 16 at St. Marys. The new home opener will be December 23 against Lima Perry.

“All players in the entire program have worked hard in the off season to become better athletes, better basketball players, leaders, and are anxious to begin the basketball season,” Bagley said.

Due to the success of the football team, the Crestview Knights (17-5, 6-2 NWC) are playing catch-up. Head coach Jeremy Best said the team just recently began practicing full squad.

Crestview Knights logo 1-2011“Football playoffs set us back and we will just have to be patient,” Best said. “This team will come together in due time.”

Best also said because of the delayed start, he’s still working on a final varsity roster, and he’s not sure on his starting five.

But he has six returning letter winners to choose from — Spencer Rolsten, Braden Van Cleave, Derek Stout, Javin Etzler, Drew Kline, and Wade Sheets.

The Knights also have four promising newcomers: Grant Schlagbaum, Trevor Gibson, Caleb Bagley, and Brett Schumm.

“Replacing production lost from last year will take time,” Best said. “Health is a concern right now, so developing depth will be large.”

While focused on his team, Best said he believes the NWC title will be up for grabs.

“The league took a large hit overall due to graduation from last year,” Best said. “However, the most experienced teams with senior contributors should be Spencerville, Delphos Jefferson, and Allen East.”

Crestview was scheduled to begin the season Friday at Van Wert, but that game has been moved to January 7, 2017. The Knights will open the season December 10 at Parkway. The NWC opener will be December 16 at Columbus Grove, and the home opener is now scheduled December 20 against Fort Jennings.

POSTED: 11/30/16 at 8:37 am. FILED UNDER: Sports