Experience and confidence will be key this season for the Shekinah Christian boys basketball team.
The Flames return the majority of its roster from a year ago. With so many players back, you can understand why big things are being expected from coach Keith Lambert and his squad.
“We return four starters and nine players with varsity experience from last season,” he said. “In total, eight of the 14 players in our program are seniors.”
The old saying is you’re only as good as your seniors and the Flames have plenty of them.
Two of them, center Austin Lynn and point guard John Michael Hershberger, have been starters since their sophomore years.
“We return 80 percent of our scoring, 80 percent of our assists and 90 percent of our rebounding from last year’s team,” Lambert said.
With those loft numbers the squad should be in good shape to compete for a league title as well as a D-IV district crown.
“Team expectations are very high,” he said. “We are hoping to get off to a fast start with all of our experience.”
The members of the team will include Hershberger (5-9) and Lynn (6-5), joining them in the starting lineup will likely be junior guard Ben Hershberger (5-10), sophomore guard Kent Gingerich (5-10) and senior forward Tucker Beachy (5-10).
Other team members include junior guard Anthony Conte (5-11), sophomore guard Joel Headings (6-1), senior forward Cole Gingerich, senior guard Eli McKee (5-11) and senior guard Stephen Byars (5-11).
A year ago Shekinah competed in a league (Mid-Ohio Christian Athletic League). This season the coaching staff expects its players to be better prepared for the intensity that comes in playing league games.
“Our first team goal is to compete for a MOCAL championship,” Lambert said. “Last year we had some highs and lows adjusting to conference play after previously being an independent, but I am hopeful we have adjusted and can up the intensity for those important conference games.”
Also the postseason will definitely have a different look to it.
“Now that Wellington, Harvest Prep, Afrocentric and Newark Catholic have jumped to Division III due to the new competitive balance realignments, we are striving to make a run in the District Tournament,” the coach said.
Injuries and illnesses really took a toll on the Flames last year. With a small roster, missing even a couple of players has a big impact.
“We have already had some tough injuries that will leave our team shorthanded to begin the year,” Lambert said. “Hopefully our players learned how to deal with this type of adversity last season and we can still be successful until the return.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.
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