South Range set to begin play in NE8

Sports

South Range basketball has become an area power since John Cullen took over the program in 2013. Five years ago, the Raiders went from a 4-win team to becoming a 45-win team over the past two seasons (23 in 2016-17; 22 in 2017-18). Now, South Range embarks on their inaugural season in the Northeast 8 Conference. “We have to be very hungry and not rely on our past successes,” indicates Cullen. “This is a new season with new challenges and we have to be up for these opportunities.”  

 

At a Glance

HEAD COACH: John Cullen, 6th season

2017-18 RECORD: 22-2

2017-18 POSTSEASON: lost to Canton Central Catholic in Salem District Semifinal (46-42)

KEY LOSSES

Mike Cunningham (14.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.6 apg)

Brennan Toy (5.3 ppg, 2.8 apg)

Brady White (7.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.2 apg)

Brandon Youngs (4.4 ppg)

Past 5-year Win Total: 80

Last Ranked: Feb. 20, 2017 (#6 in Division III)

Record against Top 10 Opponents (since 2008): 1-3

Last Win against Top 10 Opponent: Jan. 17, 2017 (def. #1 McDonald, 73-66, OT)

 

Strengths

Six seniors return led by 3-year letter winner Jaxon Anderson. Last season, he averaged 12.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 3.3 steals while shooting 56.8% from the field (109-192). Other seniors to keep an eye on are Ben Irons (30.3% 3PT), C.J. Brown (66.7% FT), Nick Matos, Sam Brooks and Tyler Durr. The junior class will be led by starter Chris Brooks – who scored 7.2 points while snagging 5.6 rebounds a year ago. Brooks also led the team in free throw percentage (74.4%) and finished second on the team in field goal shooting (52.8%). Dante Digaetano, Isaac Allegretto, Kris Scandy, and Matt Lucas will also be back in the mix this year from the junior class. Eli Taylor, Nate Brown and Nikitas Missos are three sophomores who are expected to see time on the varsity level this year. Coach Cullen likes what he sees from his team so far, “We’ll be deeper than any team we have had here at South Range. We’ll have more size than usual and we should be a better rebounding team. Several players have improved since last year and our shooting should be improved as well.”

Area of Concern

The Raiders were hit hard by graduation this past spring. They lost their leading scorer (Mike Cunningham), the school’s all-time shot blocker (Brady White), a 4-year lettermen (Brandon Youngs) and their point guard (Brennan Toy). Cunningham averaged 14.2 points per game while hauling down 5.2 boards and dishing out 2.6 assists per game. Cunningham also shot 31.9% on his three-point attempts (29-91). White blocked 42 shots as a senior and grabbed a team-high 6.3 boards. Youngs scored 4.4 points per contest. Toy put together a stat line of 5.3 points and 2.8 assists while shooting a 31.0% from three-point land (13-42) in 2017-18. Coach John Cullen points to defense, chemistry and leadership as his main concerns entering the 2018-19 season, “We need to get better defensively. Role clarification and acceptance is a must to have a positive affect on team chemistry. We also need leadership on the team to emerge.”

Schedule

Dec. 4 – Ursuline, 7

Dec. 11 – at Tallmadge, 7

Dec. 14 – at Lakeview, 7

Dec. 18 – at Poland, 7

Dec. 21 – Hubbard, 7

Dec. 28 – Dresch-McCluskey Holiday Tournament

Dec. 29 – Dresch-McCluskey Holiday Tournament

Jan. 2 – Springfield, 7

Jan. 8 – Struthers, 7

Jan. 11 – Niles, 7

Jan. 15 – at Girard, 7

Jan. 18 – Jefferson, 7

Jan. 22 – at LaBrae, 7

Jan. 25 – Lakeview, 7

Jan. 29 – Poland, 7

Feb. 1 – Hubbard, 7

Feb. 5 – at Struthers, 7

Feb. 8 – at Niles, 7

Feb. 12 – Girard, 7

Feb. 15 – at Jefferson, 7

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on WKBN.com

Sports CSS