The Jonathan Alder boys basketball team will have a different look in 2016-17, but the way coach Brent Cahill sees it the Pioneers chemistry will be key to the team’s success.
The Pioneers have a collection of players with skill sets and attitudes the coach believes will work well together.
“I think our guard play will be pretty good,” Cahill said. “We’ve got a good mix of seniors and younger players. I like our chemistry. I really think we’ll continue to get better and better as the year goes on.”
Alder will once again lean on senior Andrew Koenig to provide leadership and be the driving force behind an Alder attack that’s going to be more guard-oriented than it was a year ago.
Andrew Koenig (6-3) and younger brother sophomore Jacob Koenig (5-10) should provide the biggest scoring punch. Andrew has been a starter the last three seasons and was the Pioneers leading scorer a year ago, Jacob provided a perimeter element to the Alder offense a year ago.
The coach is also expecting big things out of junior guard Cameron Androw (6-0).
The Pioneers will not have the services of All-District standout Trey Pugh. The 6-5 forward signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at Northwestern University and will be graduating in December and enrolling with the Wildcats in January, leaving the team without his rebounding and scoring ability.
The Alder coaching staff will turn to senior Colton Swick (6-4) and senior Matt Seimer (6-4) to provide depth and strength on the interior. Others who will fight for playing time in the front court include include junior Oscar Ose (6-5) and freshman Henry Walker (6-4).
The rest of the varsity roster includes seniors Cal Duckworth (5-11) and Trey Mast (5-10), juniors Kyler Taylor (6-0), Jason Wheelbarger (5-9), sophomore Mike Ferrito (6-0) and freshman Jackie Santa-Emma (5-7).
Alder is the defending champion in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division and enters its last season in the conference before a move to the Central Buckeye Conference.
Cahill expects Marion Harding and Pleasant to be among the top teams in the MOAC, he figures Buckeye Valley will once again be competitive, but he also thinks his squad has enough to compete as well.
“I really think two or three losses in the league wins it,” Cahill said. “Nobody’s going to go undefeated in the league. If we continue to work hard and improve I think we can be in the mix at the end of the year.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.