Two letterwinners return to a Pettisville boys basketball team that was the Buckeye Border Conference champion with an 11-1 record last year, and was 18-7 overall.
Brian Leppelmeier is starting his fourth year as head coach of the Birds, where he is 49-22.
Returning are Graeme Jacoby, senior center, First Team All-BBC, Second Team District 7, 11.3 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game; and Mitchell Avina, senior guard, 4.4 ppg, 1.2 assists per game.
Promising newcomers include seniors Isaac Reynolds, Jaton Zuver, and Payne Reiniche; juniors Max Leppelmeier, Josh Horning, Jake King, and Dominic Heising; and freshman Cayden Jacoby.
Lost to graduation were Detric Yoder, Sam Rychener, Canidate Vickery, Logan Rufenacht, Eli Grieser, Austin Horning, and Caleb Keim.
“Even with only two returning letterwinners from last season, our new group of players have been very coachable,” said B. Leppelmeier. “Throughout the pre-season, the returners have been good leaders as we progress with this new team.
“We graduated a solid group of seniors that were responsible for over 60% of our offense. Of the seven seniors lost to graduation, four were starters, led by our leading scorer and area assist leader, Detric Yoder.
“Our challenge to begin this season for our newcomers to the varsity level is learning and accepting the new roles for this team.”
The coach predicts the BBC will be balanced and competitive this year.
Justin Rufenacht is varsity assistant coach. Michael Schrock is junior varsity coach, and Zach Pursel is the freshman coach.