COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – Heartland Christian will look to move on without six seniors that included four of their top five scorers a year ago.

The loss of an elite player like Jonathan Bertovich will not be an easy task to replace. Bertovich scored 20-points or more in 57% of his games played a year ago, which included their season opening win (101-72) over Mineral Ridge where he went for 59 points. Eighteen of his 23 games during the 2021-22 season, he sank multiple three-point shots. Thirteen games he dished out 5 assists or more.

Coach Josh Scott points out, “Our expectations are to continue to compete and develop great habits as part of being in the Heartland Christian basketball program. We want to improve every single day as basketball players and men. Our goal is to glorify and honor God by how we carry ourselves both on and off the floor.”

Senior Luke Reynolds returns as the lone starter from a year ago. Reynolds averaged 9 points and 3.3 rebounds last year as a junior. “He’s a three-year letterman,” states Scott. “He’s an honor student and just a great kid. He decided to play football his senior year out of nowhere, never having played and [went onto] starting for Crestview at tight end. We’re also going to rely on his scoring quite a bit this year.”

Drew Walker, a senior, will bring some starting experience with him as well. The Lions will look to Jake Walker and Will Morgan to contribute in major roles this season. Look for Jake King, Drew Gault, Kaden Stryffler, Brett Walker and Tyler Rarick to also compete for roles on the varsity roster. Coach Scott is also high on a couple of youngsters in Seth Walker, Johnny Meyer, Xabi Royo Lazkano, Spencer Pruitt and Brode Hoffman as well as freshman Isaiah Matthews.

Graduating such a senior class comes with an inexperienced group; however, coach Scott points to – “[Our] success will be [determined] how quickly they can ‘grow’ in the game without being able to use past varsity experience in the tough moments.”

Heartland Christian opens play in the Lisbon Tip-Off Classic on November 25.

Heartland Christian Lions
Fast Facts
Head Coach: Josh Scott
2021-22 Record: 19-6
2021-22 Post-Season Finish: Lost to Lowellville, 73-67, in District Semifinal
Last 5-Years: 55-61 (47.4%)

2021-22 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 69.3
Scoring Defense: 57.7
Rebounding: 28.4
Free Throw Percentage: 67.0%
Three-Point Percentage: 32.0%

2021-22 Individual Leaders
Scoring: Jonathan Bertovich, 24.1
Rebounding: Nate Garzanich, 5.2
Assists: Jonathan Bertovich, 4.8
Steals: Jonathan Bertovich, 3.7
Free Throw Percentage: Jonathan Bertovich, 84.6%
Three-Point Percentage: Joel Morgan, 44.0%

2022-23 Schedule
Nov. 25 – at Lisbon Tip-Off Tournament
Nov. 26 – at Lisbon Tip-Off Tournament
Nov. 29 – United
Dec. 2 – at Newton Falls
Dec. 6 – Jackson-Milton
Dec. 13 – Crestview
Dec. 20 – at Leetonia
Dec. 23 – Lisbon
Dec. 29 – Heartland Christian Hoopin’ into the New Years Tourney (vs. Lordstown)
Dec. 30 – Heartland Christian Hoopin’ into the New Years Tourney (vs. Columbiana/McDonald)
Jan. 6 – at Southington
Jan. 11 – at East Palestine
Jan. 14 – Valley Christian
Jan. 17 – Minerva
Jan. 21 – vs. Badger (at Rocket Mortgage Arena)
Jan. 24 – Urban Scholars
Jan. 28 – Leetonia
Feb. 4 – at Minerva
Feb. 7 – at Salem
Feb. 10 – at Valley Christian
Feb. 14 – Badger
Feb. 17 – Urban Scholars