New champion will be crowned in the EOAC

Sports

Wellsville finished second last year with 8 league wins

Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference

Toronto had won the league in each of its’ first 2 years

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In year #3 of the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference, the league must move on from Toronto – who left after last year. The Red Knights finished last season with a 21-3 record and ranked #4 in the final AP poll. Toronto’s success in the conference brought the first two league championships their way – this year – it’ll be someone else’s chance to plant their flag atop the EOAC.

2018-19 Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference Standings
Toronto – 14-0 (21-3)
Wellsville – 8-6 (14-10)
Southern – 7-7 (15-9)
Columbiana – 7-7 (13-11)
United – 7-7 (12-12)
Lisbon – 7-7 (11-13)
East Palestine – 5-9 (8-15)
Leetonia – 1-13 (3-20)

Around the League
Columbiana Clippers
Coach: Todd Johnson, 4th season
…Columbiana has high expectations coming off of a 13-win season. Coach Johnson states, “We’ll be more of a veteran team this season. The keys will be to limit our turnovers as well as continue to improve on the defensive end of the floor.”

The Clippers welcome back a pair of three-year starters (Hunter Zentner and Matthew Mazie) as well as a two-year starter in Ryan Fahs. Zentner led the Clippers in assists (4.1 apg) while averaging 8.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Mazei took team-high honors a year ago in scoring (10.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg). He also shot 51.2% from the floor (111-217) and 65.9% from the line (29-44). Fahs displayed his ability to make free throws and three-pointers as he made 79.3% at the charity stripe (46-58) and 41.2% from three-point range (14-34).

East Palestine Bulldogs
Coach: Bill Stanton, 2nd season
…The Bulldogs closed out last regular season by winning 6 of their final 9 which included victories over Southern (66-54) and United (51-45). This year’s Bulldogs will be without three of their top four scorers (Dom Posey, 9.1 ppg; Parker Sherry, 6.6 ppg; Stephen Darlington, 6.4 ppg). Sophomore Johnathan Bertovitch returns after posting a stat line of 6.9 points and 1.7 assists per game while shooting 73% from the foul line (27-37) and leading the team in three-point percentage (42.1%).

“Our success will come with how hard we’re willing to work,” says Stanton. “We create and determine our own success, making sure that we keep ourselves accountable. With a younger group, we need to work hard every day to be successful. We have set our expectations to get better each day in the classroom and on the court. If we are successful at achieving these expectations then we will have a successful season.”

Leetonia Bears
Coach: Dan Dennis, 1st season
…In June, former West Branch assistant Dan Dennis took over the reigns as the leader of the Bears basketball program. Leetonia graduated five seniors including Ethan Hartman (9.4 ppg), Brock Simpson (8.8 ppg, 3.1 apg) and Quentin Craik (5.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg). The team welcomes back five letter winners and a strong junior class which features Ian Davis (9.3 ppg), Jordan Baker (4.4 ppg), Marco Ferry (6.1 ppg, 1.3 apg) and Dylan Lennon (4.1 ppg).

Leetonia hasn’t had a winning season since 2014-15 (13-11) and has produced a winning percentage of 20.7% over the last four years (19-73). Dennis wants to build a winning culture, “I really like our kids and our upside. When players learn the system and all give 100% – we’ll be fine. Great effort (so far) from all players. Success is a process, a lot to learn, a lot of change –we need patience and court awareness, (we’re) small in numbers, we have to stay healthy and grow as a team. Winning is our goal. We must play defense and value all offensive possessions.”

Lisbon Blue Devils
Coach: Chris Huckshold, 11th season
…The Blue Devils are trying to avoid their first back-to-back losing seasons since 2009-10 (9-13) and 2010-11 (5-17). Lisbon lost a senior class which included Justin Sweeney (20.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.2 apg, 71.4% FT) and Logan Bell (7.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.0 apg, 45.3% FG). Lisbon was involved in a tight middle of the pack race in the EOAC last year with three other teams who had 7 conference wins and another with 8 wins.

Last year, the Devils put together back-to-back victories against Southern (Jan. 29, 49-47) and Wellsville (Feb. 2, 73-59). Lisbon welcomes back Ryan McCullough – who averaged double-figures for the second consecutive year (10.3 ppg) – and Michael Davis (5.8 ppg, 360% 3PT).

Southern Indians
Coach: Gerard Grimm, 3rd season
…Southern has high expectations for this group. “Many of our guys are three or four year varsity players,” comments coach Grimm. “Our hope is to be able to compete at the top of our league and our district.” Senior Cam Grodhaus took over for Jacob Joiner last season as the team’s go-to scorer. Grodhaus averaged 16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.3 steals. He shot 30.7% from long distance (39-127) also. The Indians also welcome back his classmate Jayce Sloan (6.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.9 spg) and a pair of juniors Brock Smalley (7.3 ppg, 3.1 apg) and Brad Sloan (4.5 ppg, 1.9 spg). Smalley led the team in three-point shooting with a 31.3% (30-96).

Grimm indicates, “We’ve got to find consistency on the offensive end. While we have shown flashes of being an explosive offensive group, we need to be able to score on nights where our athleticism isn’t leading to easy lay-ins.”

United Golden Eagles
Coach: Chris Kadvan, 6th season
…United – which finished 12-12 last winter – will have zero seniors on their roster this coming year. The Golden Eagles are young with only two returning letter winners back in the fold (Keaton Baker & Brutus Ogilvie). Coach Kadvan says, “Early on, the key will be for us to find players that can compete at the varsity level. We need to get healthy as multiple players were injured in fall sports. The main key is for all players to buy into the system. Our style of play has allowed us to be .500 or better in each of the last three seasons.”

“We have an inexperienced group this year,” indicates Kadvan. “Since this past summer, the boys have been working hard and have been very coachable. Our expectations will be to compete and to continue the tradition that former players have started. We’ll be tested early on as seven of our first nine games are against teams that bring back most of their entire team.”

Wellsville Tigers
Coach: Bug Thompson, 16th season
…Over the past four seasons, Wellsville has accumulated a winning percentage of 71.1% (69-28). To begin last year, the Tigers opened with two straight losses out the gate but then ran off 6 victories in a row. Wellsville went onto win 14-games before falling in the Sectional Championship game to McDonald (89-54) as the #7 seed in the Struthers District.

The Tigers will have seniors Darien Suggs and Justin Wright as well as Lucas Green – a junior – to lead the team.

2019-20 Schedules
Columbiana
Dec. 3 – at Western Reserve, 7
Dec. 10 – Struthers, 7
Dec. 13 – Wellsville, 7
Dec. 17 – at Salem, 7
Dec. 20 – at United, 7
Dec. 27 – Jackson-Milton Tournament (Mogadore)
Dec. 28 – Jackson-Milton Tournament
Jan. 3 – Leetonia, 7
Jan. 4 – Beaver Local, 7
Jan. 7 – at East Palestine, 7
Jan. 10 – Southern, 7
Jan. 11 – at Liberty, 7
Jan. 14 – Lisbon, 7
Jan. 17 – at Wellsville, 7
Jan. 21 – at Lowellville, 7
Jan. 24 – United, 7
Jan. 28 – at Leetonia, 7
Jan. 31 – East Palestine, 7
Feb. 4 – at Southern, 7
Feb. 7 – at Lisbon, 7
Feb. 11 – at Heartland Christian, 6
Feb. 18 – West Branch, 7

Leetonia
Dec. 6 – Lisbon, 7
Dec. 10 – Mathews, 7
Dec. 13 – East Palestine, 7
Dec. 17 – at Lisbon, 7
Dec. 20 – at Heartland Christian, 7
Dec. 27 – at Lordstown Holiday
Dec. 28 – at Lordstown Holiday
Jan. 3 – at Columbiana, 7
Jan. 7 – Southern, 7
Jan. 10 – at Wellsville, 7
Jan. 14 – United, 7
Jan. 17 – at East Palestine, 7
Jan. 21 – at Sebring, 7
Jan. 28 – Columbiana, 7
Jan. 31 – at Southern, 7
Feb. 4 – Wellsville, 7
Feb. 7 – at United, 7
Feb. 8 – at Lowellville, 7
Feb. 11 – Jackson-Milton, 7
Feb. 14 – Heartland Christian, 7
Feb. 18 – Crestview, 7

Lisbon
Nov. 29 – Lisbon Tip-Off Classic
Nov. 30 – Lisbon Tip-Off Classic
Dec. 3 – at East Canton, 7:30
Dec. 6 – at Leetonia, 7
Dec. 14 – Crestview, 7
Dec. 17 – Leetonia, 7
Dec. 20 – at Southern, 7
Dec. 23 – at Valley Christian, 7
Dec. 30 – at Malvern, 7:30
Jan. 3 – Wellsville, 7
Jan. 7 – Heartland Christian, 7
Jan. 10 – at East Palestine, 7
Jan. 14 – at Columbiana, 7
Jan. 21 – at Western Reserve, 7
Jan. 24 – Southern, 7
Jan. 28 – at Wellsville, 7
Jan. 31 – United, 7
Feb. 4 – East Palestine, 7
Feb. 7 – Columbiana, 7
Feb. 14 – at United, 7
Feb. 18 – Brookfield, 7
Feb. 21 – at Jackson-Milton, 7

East Palestine
Nov. 29 – at United, 7
Dec. 3 – at West Branch, 7
Dec. 6 – Union Tip-Off Tournament
Dec. 7 – Union Tip-Off Tournament
Dec. 13 – at Leetonia, 7
Dec. 17 – Southern, 7
Dec. 21 – Mohawk, 8
Jan. 3 – United, 7
Jan. 7 – Columbiana, 7
Jan. 10 – Lisbon, 7
Jan. 14 – Heartland Christian, 7
Jan. 17 – Leetonia, 7
Jan. 21 – at Southern, 7
Jan. 24 – Wellsville, 7
Jan. 28 – United, 7
Jan. 31 – at Columbiana, 7
Feb. 4 – at Lisbon, 7
Feb. 7 – at Heartland Christian, 7
Feb. 8 – at Beaver Local, 7
Feb. 11 – Lowellville, 7
Feb. 18 – Salem, 7
Feb. 21 – East Canton, 7
Feb. 22 – at Wellsville, 7

Southern
Nov. 29 – at Conotton Valley, 6:30
Dec. 3 – Beaver Local, 7
Dec. 6 – at Crestview, 7
Dec. 10 – Steubenville Catholic Central, 7
Dec. 13 – United, 7
Dec. 14 – at Edison, 7
Dec. 17 – at East Palestine, 7
Dec. 20 – Lisbon, 7
Jan. 7 – at Leetonia, 7
Jan. 10 – at Columbiana, 7
Jan. 14 – Wellsville, 7
Jan. 17 – at United, 7
Jan. 21 – East Palestine, 7
Jan. 24 – at Lisbon, 7
Jan. 25 – Malvern, 7
Jan. 28 – at Heartland Christian, 7
Jan. 31 – Leetonia, 7
Feb. 7 – Wellsville, 7
Feb. 11 – OVAC Tournament
Feb. 14 – OVAC Tournament
Feb. 18 – at Struthers, 7

United
Dec. 6 – at Waterloo, 7
Dec. 10 – at Lowellville, 7
Dec. 13 – at Southern, 7
Dec. 17 – Wellsville, 7
Dec. 20 – Columbiana, 7
Dec. 21 – vs. Neshannock, 4
Jan. 2 – East Canton, 7
Jan. 3 – at East Palestine, 7
Jan. 10 – at Heartland Christian, 7
Jan. 14 – at Leetonia, 7
Jan. 17 – Southern, 7
Jan. 21 – at Wellsville, 7
Jan. 24 – at Columbiana, 7
Jan. 28 – East Palestine, 7
Jan. 31 – at Lisbon, 7
Feb. 4 – Jackson-Milton, 7
Feb. 5 – Heartland Christian, 6
Feb. 7 – Leetonia, 7
Feb. 11 – Lordstown, 7
Feb. 14 – Lisbon, 7
Feb. 18 – at Malvern, 7:30
Feb. 21 – at Salem, 7

Wellsville
Dec. 10 – at Toronto, 7
Dec. 13 – at Columbiana, 7
Dec. 17 – at United, 7
Dec. 20 – Beaver Local, 7
Dec. 27- Todd Kalivoda Showcase (at Toronto)
Dec. 28- Todd Kalivoda Showcase (at Toronto)
Jan. 3 – at Lisbon, 7
Jan. 4 – at Oak Glen, 7:30
Jan. 10 – Leetonia, 7
Jan. 11 – Toronto, 6:45
Jan. 14 – at Southern, 7
Jan. 17 – Columbiana, 7
Jan. 21 – United, 7
Jan. 24 – at East Palestine, 7
Jan. 25 – at Beaver Local, 7
Jan. 28 – Lisbon, 7
Jan. 31 – Oak Glen, 6:45
Feb. 4 – at Leetonia, 7
Feb. 7 – Southern, 7
Feb. 8 – Crestview, 7
Feb. 11 – OVAC Tournament
Feb. 14 – OVAC Tournament
Feb. 22 – East Palestine, 7

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