The Archbold boys basketball team will attempt to make its second straight trip to the state tournament after finishing the 2016-17 season with a 22-6 record and an appearance in the Final Four.
Doug Krauss returns for his 33rd straight year as head coach of the Blue Streaks. He has compiled a 541-215 record, and after seven straight Northwest Ohio Athletic League titles, his team finished second last year with a 6-1 record.
The Streaks returned to the Division III state tournament last year for the first time since the 2005-06 season. They lost to Cincinnati Roger Bacon in the semifinals.
Returning are seniors Kaiden Bedsole (5-11, 8.5 points per game, 2.3 rebounds per game); Cash Gericke (6-2, 2.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg); Eli Miller (5-9, 9.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 4.9 assists per game); Bryce Williams (6-3, 14.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg); Caleb Wooley (6-2, 5 ppg, 2.2 rpg).
Juniors back are Rigo Ramos (6-5, 10.6 ppg, 5 rpg); and Jeron Williams (5-11, 2.4 ppg).
Former junior varsity players who will compete for varsity spots and provide depth are Hunter Beaverson, Cory Erbskorn, Mitch Grosjean, A.J. Mahnke, Austin Wiemken, Travis Ziegler, and Elijah Zimmerman.
Lost to graduation were Austin Welch and Toby Walker.
“We expect our returners to be our leaders at both ends of the court,” said Krauss.
“Eli Miller, Bryce Williams, and Kaiden Bedsole all had solid junior seasons.
“Eli has been a three-year starter at point guard, and he runs the show. He has good quickness and will get after people defensively. We expect him to continue his fine play at both ends of the court.
“Bryce is a three-year letterwinner and loves to play the game. He is a tough matchup with his ability to shoot and to get to the rim. We look for him to be a major contributor on the glass and defensively, as he’s worked hard to get stronger.
“Kaiden was one of the top three-point shooters in the area a year ago, and we expect him to continue to add that dimension to our offense. We also expect him to use his athletic ability on the defensive end.
“Cash Gericke and Caleb Wooley will give us some size in the post, and we expect them to improve both defensively and on the glass.
“Rigo Ramos made great strides last year. He is a hard matchup with his ability to shoot, and we look for him to continue to improve his rebounding, defense, and inside moves.
“Jeron Williams received quality minutes last year, and we expect him to use his quickness to his advantage at both ends. We also are looking for him to be another offensive threat, as he’s a very good shooter.
“Competition for playing time will be keen as we’re looking for guys to compete, make plays, and play with great passion and energy.”
“Last year we held teams to 47 points per game, and we are looking to improve defensively,” said Krauss.
“Our opponents shot 42% from the field. We must continue to do a better job of contesting shots.
“We feel that we have the personnel to be able to put good pressure on teams, particularly in half-court.
“We forced 15 turnovers a game last year, and we need to continue to be aggressive defensively. We also need to convert them into points.
“We will be as good as our defense.”
“We will not outsize people or out-physical our opponents, but we’ve had a good off-season in the weight room,” said Krauss.
“It’ll be important for us to be fundamentally sound and check out on the glass.
“Rebounding will be an issue for us. We’ll need to emphasize that all five guys on the floor need to understand the importance of checking out and being tough. We have to find guys that want to do the dirty work!
“We shot 67% from the free-throw line as a team last year, and with our shooters that needs to be improved.
“We need to continue to stress the importance of going to the line and concentrate. Those are huge points at all stages of the game.
“We need to step up to the line with confidence.
“We averaged 58.4 points per game offensively, and we are planning on playing a faster pace this year and getting some easy buckets.
“We hope to have great balance and have the ability to have a number of guys scoring each night. We will need to share the ball, have good spacing and good ball movement to cause defenses problems.
“We’re always looking to become a team, one that plays together and works well together, which is something we really believe is important for success.
“It will be important for our guys to understand the spot they have earned and be ready to play when called.”
“Being outsized, we will need to work hard to keep our defensive intensity up and compete.
“With this team, playing with energy, passion, and intensity each night will give us an opportunity to be successful. I feel we have a good mixture of players who will demonstrate the ability to play hard and play together.
“With our experience, we should be able to realize that team chemistry is important, and that being able to accept a role on the team is key.
“We have some key personnel back, but we’ll need some guys to step up and lead. We’ll also need to be disciplined enough to take care of the ball offensively, tough enough to guard on each possession, and smart enough to check out on every shot.
“The NWOAL looks to be competitive. Wauseon (the defending champion) looks to be the best on paper, while we expect to compete for the top spot.”
Archbold opens its season, Saturday, Dec. 2, at Wauseon, for a non-league contest.