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Northeast 8 boys basketball begins year #2

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Poland, Lakeview and South Range all won 17 or more games last winter

Northeast 8 Conference High School Basketball

Poland won the NE8 and the Boardman District a year ago

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In year #1 – the Northeast 8 Conference proved to be a strong addition to the area as three of its’ teams won 17 or more games and all three advanced to the District round with Poland winning the Boardman bracket.

How will the conferences’ second season play out? Many will point to Poland as well as South Range and Struthers as the teams to beat in the league this year. Joe Bornemiss takes over at Hubbard as the Eagles will attempt to make up ground with many returning starters in tow.

2018-19 Northeast 8 Conference Standings
Poland – 14-0 (23-3)
Lakeview – 11-3 (19-5)
South Range – 10-4 (17-7)
Niles – 7-7 (13-11)
Girard – 6-8 (13-11)
Struthers – 6-8 (10-13)
Hubbard – 2-12 (2-21)
Jefferson – 0-14 (1-21)

Around the League
Girard Indians
Coach: Craig Hannon, 8th season
…Since winning the All-American’s Blue Tier in the 2014-15 season (10-2), Girard has finished three of the last four years in the middle of the pack recording a winning percentage of 54% (27-23) in conference play (2015-18 AAC; 2018-19 NE8). Coach Hannon wants to see his team, “come ready to work and get better every game. Our youth will show at times but I’m hoping it pays off in the latter part of the season, especially when March rolls around.”

“We’re an inexperienced team (now),” indicates Hannon. “A large key to our success will be gaining as much experience as we can, which can only come by playing games. As long as we keep working hard, the experience will take care of itself.”

Hubbard Eagles
Coach: Joe Bornemiss, 1st season
…The Eagles will welcome back four starters (Cam Resatar, Jayden Record, Chanze Kelley and Andrew Frank) in Joe Bornemiss’ first-year at the helm of Hubbard basketball. Resatar saw his production increase from a 9.7 scoring average to 17.2 last year. His points per game average a year ago (17.2) was the highest by any Hubbard player since 2008-09 (Kurtis Drummond, 18.6). Resatar also led the team in assists (3.6 apg) and finished second in rebounding (3.0). Record topped the team in rebounds with 3.7 per game. Kelley closed out his junior season third in scoring (9.0) and rebounding (2.7) for the Eagles. “I will need leadership from my seniors,” says Bornemiss. “The upperclassmen need to buy into the new coaching staff and playing system. They need to help the younger players do the same.”

Hubbard has not enjoyed a winning season since 2010-11 (13-8). Coach Bornemiss states, “I expect our team to work hard and compete in every game. If we can accomplish this, I believe we’ll have a successful season. Our goal is to be in contention for the league title.”

Jefferson Falcons
Coach: Rob Pisano, 1st season
…Four years ago, the Falcons were coming off of their back-to-back AAC White Tier title after cruising through the 2015-16 season with a 9-1 league mark. Jefferson won 58 of their 74 games played overall during a three year stretch (2014-17). Their last two years have resulted in a 5-40 mark overall.

Lakeview Bulldogs
Coach: Ryan Fitch, 5th season
…The Bulldogs have become one of the areas most consistent winners after posting 39 wins over the past two seasons. Coach Fitch loses four starters from last year’s group. “We’ll be undersized in almost every game so we need to limit our opponent to one possession. We also must take quality shots and make teams defend screening action. Limit our turnovers and no four to five minute lapses in scoring – no mental lapses.”

Junior Brendon Kilpatrick is welcomed back as the team’s lone returning starter. Kilpatrick scored 7.9 points, grabbed 6.7 boards and shot 66% from the foul line (33-50) as a sophomore.

Lakeview’s last league championship came in 2008-09 (AAC White). Coach Fitch points out, “our expectations stay the same. We’re here to try and win the Northeast 8 and get back to the district level of the tournament. We’ve made it to districts the last two years so we want to continue that expectation.”

Niles Red Dragons
Coach: Doug Foster, 2nd season
…Niles closed out last season with wins over Champion (75-71), Girard (57-48), Struthers (77-57), Howland (77-57) and West Branch (63-49) in the opening round of the playoffs before being ousted by Poland in the Sectional Championship. Last year, the Red Dragons turned their program from a 4-19 team in 2017-18 to a 13-11 squad. That winning season was their first in four years (2014-15: 12-10).

The team will have to do without the program’s all-time leading scorer Cyler Kane-Johnson (25.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.4 apg) and Corbin Foy (12.3 ppg) this year. The Red Dragons’ point guard Doug Foster (6.5 ppg, 1.6 apg) will lead a large group of juniors and seniors.

Poland Bulldogs
Coach: Ken Grisdale, 27th season
…Last year’s league champion, Poland lost many contributors including Braeden O’Shaughnessy (19.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.8 apg) and Daniel Kramer (16.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg) from their 23-win team. The Bulldogs have won the last three conference titles (2019 Northeast 8; 2017-18 AAC White).

Poland returns a pair of guards in Michael Cougras and Adam Kassem. Coach Grisdale says, “We have several nice pieces that we have to figure out what schemes will work best and what roles each player will play.”

“We’ll be a very competitive team that will improve a great deal as the season progresses,” indicates Grisdale. “There will be bumps in the road but as schemes and roles are determined – we’ll get better.”

South Range Raiders
Coach: John Cullen, 7th season
…”Potentially, we have a deep team,” says coach Cullen – who was nominated by the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association last month for the National Federation Boys Coach of the Year. “We’re looking to come together completely. We expect to be very competitive in our second year in the Northeast 8 League.”

South Range welcomes back a pair of senior starters in Chris Brooks and Dante Digaetano. Brooks led the team in scoring last year as he raised his average from 7.2 as a sophomore to 17.2 as a junior. Brooks also finished with the highest rebounding average (9.4) in five years (since Garrett Anderson, 10.7, in 2014-15). Digaetano put together his junior campaign with 6.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Dante led the team with a 77.6% from the foul line (38-49).

Struthers Wildcats
Coach: Mike Wernicki, 2nd season
…Struthers looks to avoid their first back-to-back losing seasons since 2012-13 (8-15) to 2013-14 (9-14). Coach Wernicki has three returning starters this year in Carson Ryan (6’5/SR), Jared Laczko (6’3/SR) and Trey Metzka (6’5/JR) . Ryan scored 13.3 points, snagged 6.4 rebounds and had 3.4 assists per game as a junior. Number 5 also connected on 29.4% of his three-pointers (32-109). Laczko put together a stat line of 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and shooting 37.8% from long distance (31-82) and 70.6% from the foul line (24-34). Metzka made 29.5% from three-point land (31-105) as he scored 8.4 points and hauled down 4.3 boards.

“If we’re going to have a good season we must develop better chemistry than what we had last year,” points out Wernicki. “We must shoot the ball better in all areas and we must improve defensively. My only expectation for the season is to be more competitive and more consistent than we were. If we improve upon these two areas – we’ll have a better season.”

2019-20 Schedules
Girard
Dec. 3 – at McDonald, 7
Dec. 6 – Champion, 7
Dec. 10 – at Salem, 7
Dec. 13 – at Jefferson, 7
Dec. 14 – vs. LaBrae (at Poland), 1:45
Dec. 17 – Hubbard, 7
Dec. 20 – at Poland, 7
Dec. 21 – East, 7
Dec. 28 – Newton Falls, 7
Jan. 7 – Niles, 7
Jan. 10 – Struthers, 7
Jan. 14 – at South Range, 7
Jan. 17 – Lakeview, 7
Jan. 21 – at Ursuline, 7
Jan. 24 – Jefferson, 7
Jan. 28 – at Hubbard, 7
Jan. 31 – Poland, 7
Feb. 4 – at Niles, 7
Feb. 7 – at Struthers, 7
Feb. 11 – South Range, 7
Feb. 14 – at Lakeview, 7
Feb. 18 – Springfield, 7

Hubbard
Dec. 6 – at Louisville, 7
Dec. 13 – Niles, 7
Dec. 14 – Brookfield, 7
Dec. 17 – at Girard, 7
Dec. 20 – South Range, 7
Dec. 28 – at Liberty, 7
Jan. 4 – Salem, 7
Jan. 7 – at Jefferson, 7
Jan. 10 – at Lakeview, 7
Jan. 14 – Poland, 7
Jan. 17 – at Struthers, 7
Jan. 21 – Crestwood, 7
Jan. 24 – at Niles, 7
Jan. 25 – at West Branch, 7
Jan. 28 – Girard, 7
Jan. 31 – at South Range, 7
Feb. 4 – Jefferson, 7
Feb. 7 – Lakeview, 7
Feb. 11 – at Poland, 7
Feb. 14 – Struthers, 7
Feb. 18 – Valley Christian, 7
Feb. 21 – at Campbell Memorial, 7

Jefferson
Nov. 30 – Berkshire, 7
Dec. 6 – at Perry, 7
Dec. 10 – at Edgewood, 7
Dec. 13 – Girard, 7
Dec. 17 – at Niles, 7
Dec. 20 – at Struthers, 7
Jan. 7 – Hubbard, 7
Jan. 10 at Poland, 7
Jan. 14 – at Lakeview, 7
Jan. 17 – South Range, 7
Jan. 18 – St. John, 7
Jan. 21 – at Riverside, 7
Jan. 24 – at Girard, 7
Jan. 28 – Niles, 7
Jan. 31 – Struthers, 7
Feb. 4 – at Hubbard, 7
Feb. 7 – Poland, 7
Feb. 11 – Lakeview, 7
Feb. 14 – at South Range, 7
Feb. 15 – Grand Valley, 7
Feb. 18 – Lakeside, 7
Feb. 21 – Geneva, 7

Lakeview
Nov. 29 – Champion, 7
Dec. 3 – at Canfield, 7
Dec. 6 – at Newton Falls, 7
Dec. 10 – at Boardman, 7
Dec. 13 – at South range, 7
Dec. 14 – vs. McDonald (United Way Classic)
Dec. 17 – Struthers, 7
Dec. 20 – at Niles, 7
Dec. 27 – Liberty, 7
Jan. 3 – Howland, 7
Jan. 7 – at Poland, 7
Jan. 10 – Hubbard, 7
Jan. 14 – Jefferson, 7
Jan. 17 – at Girard, 7
Jan. 24 – South Range, 7
Jan. 28 – at Struthers, 7
Jan. 31 – Niles, 7
Feb. 4 – Poland, 7
Feb. 7 – at Hubbard, 7
Feb. 11 – at Jefferson, 7
Feb. 14 – Girard, 7
Feb. 18 – LaBrae, 7

Niles
Dec. 3 – LaBrae, 7
Dec. 6 – at Liberty, 7
Dec. 10 – at Champion, 7
Dec. 13 – at Hubbard, 7
Dec. 17 – Jefferson, 7
Dec. 20 – Lakeview, 7
Dec. 27 – McDonald, 7
Jan. 4 – at Newton Falls, 7
Jan. 7 – at Girard, 7
Jan. 10 – South Range, 7
Jan. 14 – Struthers, 7
Jan. 17 – at Poland, 7
Jan. 21 – Salem, 7
Jan. 24 – Hubbard, 7
Jan. 28 – at Jefferson, 7
Jan. 31 – at Lakeview, 7
Feb. 4 – Girard, 7
Feb. 7 – at South Range, 7
Feb. 11 – at Struthers, 7
Feb. 14 – Poland, 7
Feb. 18 – at Mineral Ridge, 7
Feb. 21 – Howland, 7

Poland
Dec. 3 – Campbell Memorial, 7
Dec. 7 – at Howland, 7
Dec. 14 – Mooney, 7
Dec. 17 – at South Range, 7
Dec. 20 – Girard, 7
Dec. 27 – at Boardman, 7
Jan. 3 – at Struthers, 7
Jan. 7 – Lakeview, 7
Jan. 10 – Jefferson, 7
Jan. 11 – Canfield, 7
Jan. 14 – at Hubbard, 7
Jan. 17 – Niles, 7
Jan. 21 – Springfield, 7
Jan. 24 – Struthers, 7
Jan. 28 – South Range, 7
Jan. 31 – at Girard, 7
Feb. 4 – at Lakeview, 7
Feb. 7 – at Jefferson, 7
Feb. 11 – Hubbard, 7
Feb. 14 – at Niles, 7
Feb. 18 – Fitch, 7
Feb. 21 – at Canfield, 7

South Range
Dec. 6 – Canfield, 7
Dec. 10 – LaBrae, 7
Dec. 13 – Lakeview, 7
Dec. 17 – Poland, 7
Dec. 20 – at Hubbard, 7
Dec. 27 – at Springfield, 7
Jan. 3 – at Ursuline, 7
Jan. 7 – at Struthers, 7
Jan. 10 – at Niles, 7
Jan. 11 – Salem, 7
Jan. 14 – Girard, 7
Jan. 17 – at Jefferson, 7
Jan. 21 – Waterloo, 7
Jan. 24 – at Lakeview, 7
Jan. 28 – at Poland, 7
Jan. 31 – Hubbard, 7
Feb. 4 – Struthers, 7
Feb. 7 – Niles, 7
Feb. 11 – at Girard, 7
Feb. 14 – Jefferson, 7
Feb. 18 – Mooney, 7

Struthers
Nov. 30 – McDowell, 12
Dec. 5 – at Perry, 7
Dec. 7 – Warren JFK, 7
Dec. 10 – at Columbiana, 7
Dec. 14 – Laurel, 4
Dec. 17 – at Lakeview, 7
Dec. 20 – Jefferson, 7
Dec. 27 – Fitch, 7
Jan. 3 – Poland, 7
Jan. 7 – South Range, 7
Jan. 10 – at Girard, 7
Jan. 14 – at Niles, 7
Jan. 17 – Hubbard, 7
Jan. 24 – at Poland, 7
Jan. 26 – vs Lake (at Canton), 1
Jan. 28 – Lakeview, 7
Jan. 31 – at Jefferson, 7
Feb. 4 – at South Range, 7
Feb. 7 – Girard, 7
Feb. 11 – Niles, 7
Feb. 14 – at Hubbard, 7
Feb. 18 – Southern, 7
Feb. 21 – Sebring, 7

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