Three letterwinners– all seniors– return for Joe Frank, AHS head boys basketball coach, who is starting his second year at the helm of the program.
The Streaks finished 23-1 last year, and were Northwest Ohio Athletic League champions with a 7-0 record. They finished the regular season undefeated, but lost to Coldwater 35-34 in the Division III district semifinals.
Some players got a late start at practices because they were also on the football team, which advanced to the regional finals.
Returning seniors are Elijah Zimmerman, 6-1 guard, 9.7 points per game average, 3.8 rebounds per game, 2.7 assists per game, honorable mention All-NWOAL, honorable mention District 7; Ethan Hagans, 6-4 forward, 3.0 ppg, 3.4 rebounds per game; and Noah Cheney, 6-2 guard, 2.1 ppg.
Newcomers include juniors Trey Theobald, Noah Gomez, Kobe Kennedy, and Austin Roth; sophomore DJ Newman; and freshman Alex Roth.
Lost to graduation were Austin Wiemken, Rigo Ramos, Jeron Williams, and A.J. Mahnke.
“We have high-character young men who are willing to work to become a highly competitive team,” said Frank. “This team is eager to leave its own mark on the Archbold basketball program.
“Last year we held teams to 43.1 points per game, and we are looking to continue to play solid defense.
Our opponents shot 39% from the field, and we are hoping for similar results.
“Finally, each possession on the defensive end finishes with a defensive rebound. We will continue to emphasize checking out and going after the ball.”
As far as weaknesses, “We graduated six seniors, including four starters, which means there will be opportunities for several players to play meaningful minutes,” Frank said.
“It may take some time to define roles for this team, but they are all eager to contribute to a successful season.
“We do return four players who played a role in the team’s success last year.
“I think we could struggle, at times, on the offensive end. Finding consistent scoring could be a challenge, as well.
“We are going to really focus on rebounding, since we will be much smaller this year. Checking out and being aggressive in going to get the ball will be emphasized in the pre-season.
“We will look to Elijah (Zimmerman) to be our vocal leader, but I see several others who potentially could become leaders as well.
“Like always, the key to our season will be our defense. Our ability to guard and rebound the basketball to finish possessions will go a long way in determining how successful we will be.
“We have some key personnel back, but how each player adjusts to his role will be huge.”
Frank sees several teams competing for the NWOAL title.
“Evergreen, Wauseon and Bryan should be in the hunt,” he said. “I also feel that there is more parity in the league this year.
“We feel that we also will compete well in the NWOAL this season.”
The traditional season opener with Wauseon was moved to Thursday, Jan. 2, at Wauseon because of both teams’ deep runs in the football playoffs.
Archbold now opens the season tomorrow, Thursday, when the Streaks host Edgerton.