Without Edgewood, AAC Blue Tier opens up

Sports

LaBrae has won the Tier in 3 of the past 4 years

All-American Conference High School Basketball

LaBrae has been ranked in the AP Top 10 in each of the last 3 years

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – This will be last basketball season of the Blue Tier in the All-American Conference. In the seven previous years of the Tier (2008-11, 2014-present) – its’ crowned five conference champions (Campbell Memorial, Edgewood, Girard, LaBrae, Newton Falls). However, last year’s champion the Warriors of Edgewood have left for the Chagrin Valley Conference.

LaBrae has been a powerhouse in the All-American Conference. Brookfield returns all five starters. Champion and Newton Falls appear to be ready to contend once again. Campbell Memorial seeks a successful season. Liberty and Crestview each will have new coaches roaming the sidelines.

2018-19 All-American Conference Blue Tier Standings
Edgewood – 14-0 (24-2)
LaBrae – 12-2 (20-5)
Champion – 9-5 (15-9)
Newton Falls – 9-5 (13-10)
Liberty – 6-8 (7-16)
Brookfield – 4-10 (10-14)
Campbell Memorial – 2-12 (2-21)
Crestview – 0-14 (2-21)

Around the League
Brookfield Warriors
Coach: Shawn Hammond, 4th season
…Brookfield appears to be in position to make a run at achieving a winning season and to make some noise in the Blue Tier. “We have all five starters returning,” says coach Hammond. “We have potentially seven guys that will compete for those positions. We have good depth at all five spots. If we can play as a team and be unselfish – I believe we can be successful.”

Senior Conner Stevens has led the Warriors in scoring in each of the last two seasons (2018-19: 13.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.0 apg). Brady Reichart was right behind Stevens’ average in scoring (12.6 ppg) as he took team-high honors in rebounding (6.9 rpg). Also returning is Connor Filipovich (4.5 ppg, 2.0 apg), Gage Emery (5.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg), Jake Shingledecker (4.2 ppg) and Jordan Stone from the senior class as well as junior Haden Gibson (9.5 ppg, 2.4 apg). The school’s QB on the football field shot 50.6% from the floor (79-156). Keep an eye on newcomers David Pawlowski and TJ Laverty (both sophomores) and Donovan Pawlowski and Isaiah Jones (both freshmen) to vie for minutes.

The Warriors have accumulated a winning percentage of 31.5% over the last four years (29-63). From 2009 to 2015, Brookfield had enjoyed six years without a losing season.

Campbell Memorial Red Devils
Coach: Nick Canterino, 4th season
…The Red Devils are seeking their first winning season in the past six years (2013-14: 15-9). “We want to continue to grow as a team,” indicates coach Canterino. “We want to be able to compete for a league championship. We need to compete everyday and hold each other accountable.”

Memorial has finished three of their last four years with 20-plus losses and will begin this season without their top two scorers and rebounders (Raysean Hicks – 11.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg; Xavion Leonard – 9.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg).

Sophomores Kevin Moore is the lone returning starters. Moore, last year, averaged 5.7 points and 1.6 assists per game. Junior Collin Michaels appears to have a larger role on this year’s team.

Champion Golden Flashes
Coach: Nathan Kish, 3rd season
…The Golden Flashes return a pair of seniors in Nick Stahlman and Abe Bayus. Stahlman averaged 10.6 points and 4 rebounds per game while shooting 38.9% from the long distance (28-72). Bayus led the team in field goal percentage (47.1%) as he hauled down 3.9 boards and scored 8.9 points per contest. Champion has put together back-to-back 15-win years. “I expect us to be competitive,” says Kish. “Hopefully, we’ll compete for a league title. It was be a tall task with the AAC teams being very competitive this year.”

Coach Kish went onto state, “We have many football players that are physical and work hard. We’re all about defense first and working hard. Defensively, we need to get stops and allow one shot as well as be the hardest working team on the floor at all times.”

Crestview Rebels
Coach: Rick Gates, 18th season (1st year back)
…Rick Gates takes over a familiar position for Crestview this season. Gates spent 17 years as the boys head coach and then took over the girls program for another 8 accumulating 313 wins in 559 games coached. Coach Gates indicates, “In order for us to be competitive, (we) need good team balance. (Players) must learn to play with confidence. We need to learn how to succeed.” Crestview has won a total of 11 games over the past four seasons.

The Rebels return six letter winners (Anthony Cusick, Drake Golden, Tony Perozio, Dom Wycoff, Brandon Yanssens, Jack Yerkey). Golden has averaged over 15-points per game in each of the last two years (16.0 ppg). He also led the Rebels with 6 rebounds a game. Wycoff averaged 6.4 points last year while leading the team in three-point shooting (37.7%). Yerkey and Yanssens both scored 4.0 and 3.4 points respectively per contest. Look for the following newcomers (James Best, Anthony Bryerly, Isaac Flasco, Kirkland Miller) to contribute.

LaBrae Vikings
Coach: Chad Kiser, 14th season
…Last year, the Vikings saw their three-year conference title reign come to an end when they dropped both regular season meetings with Edgewood (and a third in the District Final). With that said, the Vikings have won 20 or more games in each of the past three seasons, compiling 68 victories during that stretch. LaBrae has been ranked in the AP top 10 in each of those seasons as well, topping the charts in February of 2017.

The Vikings open the year with 7 of their first 9 games played on the road (or at a neutral site). LaBrae’s old rival – Edgewood – may be in a different conference (Chagrin Valley Conference) now but they’ll make the trip to Leavittsburg on Valentine’s Day.

Liberty Leopards
Coach: Levon Lamb, 1st season
…Liberty has strung together 5 consecutive 16-plus loss seasons in a row. The Leopards turn the program over to former Rayen standout and West Virginia Mountaineer Levon Lamb to lead the team into the new campaign. Lamb wants to, “Make the team relevant again. We need to get better as a team as the season goes on with the emphasis on team development and provide the team with the best opportunity to succeed.” Coach Lamb points to hard work, consistency, and to trust the process as three keys to success.

Liberty returns Manuel Dubose, Omarion Dawson and Darrion Williams as their returning starters.

Newton Falls Tigers
Coach: Roy Sembach, 33rd season
…For the 13th straight year, Newton Falls finished last season (13-10) with a winning record. To make it 14, the Tigers must move on without such standouts as Preston Rapczak (14.6 ppg) and Gage Friend (10.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg). “We hope to be a contender in our league and in our district,” indicates coach Sembach. Starting his 33rd season, Sembach has compiled a winning percentage of 60.1% (439-292) as the leader of Tiger basketball. “The keys will be to stay healthy and the ability and desire to defend and rebound.”

Three starters return in senior Adam Honeycutt (12.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.6 apg) as well as juniors Joey Kline (7.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 6.6 apg) and Josh Honeycutt (7.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.5 apg). Josh Honeycutt (40.4%) and Adam Honeycutt (38.8%) both shot 39% or better from beyond the three-point arc a year ago. Other key contributors returning are Cole Marquette (4.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 64.9% FG), Ian King and Nick Oyster.

2019-20 Schedules
Brookfield
Dec. 3 – at Garrettsville Garfield, 7
Dec. 10 – at St. John, 7
Dec. 13 – at Campbell Memorial, 7
Dec. 14 – at Hubbard, 7
Dec. 17 – at Southeast, 7
Dec. 20 – Liberty, 7
Dec. 27 – at Jackson-Milton Holiday Tournament
Dec. 30 – at Jackson-Milton Holiday Tournament
Jan. 3 – at Crestview, 7

Jan. 7 – LaBrae, 7
Jan. 10 – Champion, 7
Jan. 14 – at Newton Falls, 7
Jan. 17 – Southington, 7
Jan. 18 – at Mathews, 7
Jan. 21 – Campbell Memorial, 7
Jan. 24 – at Liberty, 7
Jan. 28 – Crestview, 7
Jan. 31 – at LaBrae, 7
Feb. 4 – at Champion, 7
Feb. 7 – Newton Falls, 7

Feb. 18 – at Lisbon, 7

Campbell Memorial
Nov. 29 – Western Reserve, 7
Dec. 3 – at Poland, 7
Dec. 6 – at Lowellville, 7
Dec. 10 – West Branch, 7
Dec. 13 – Brookfield, 7
Dec. 17 – Heartland Christian, 7
Dec. 21 – vs. Shenango (Battle of the Border)
Dec. 28 – Mathews, 7
Dec. 30 – at Garrettsville Garfield, 7
Jan. 3 – LaBrae, 7
Jan. 7 – Champion, 7
Jan. 10 – at Crestview, 7
Jan. 14 – at Liberty, 7
Jan. 17 – Newton Falls, 7
Jan. 21 – at Brookfield, 7
Jan. 24 – at Heartland Christian, 7
Jan. 28 – at LaBrae, 7
Jan. 31 – at Champion, 7
Feb. 4 – Crestview, 7
Feb. 7 – Liberty, 7
Feb. 11 – at Newton Falls, 7
Feb. 21 – Hubbard, 7

Champion
Nov. 29 – at Lakeview 7
Dec. 6 – at Girard, 7
Dec. 10 – Niles, 7
Dec. 13 – at Newton Falls, 7
Dec. 17 – Pymatuning Valley, 7
Dec. 20 – Crestview, 7
Dec. 27 – Badger, 7
Dec. 28 – at Bristol, 7
Jan. 4 – Windham, 7
Jan. 7 – at Campbell Memorial, 7
Jan. 10 – at Brookfield, 7
Jan. 14 – LaBrae, 7
Jan. 17 – at Liberty,7
Jan. 21 – Newton Falls, 7
Jan. 24 – at Crestview, 7
Jan. 28 – at Warren JFK, 7
Jan. 31 – Campbell Memorial, 7
Feb. 4 – Brookfield, 7
Feb. 7 – at LaBrae, 7
Feb. 11 – Garrettsville Garfield, 7
Feb. 14 – Liberty, 7
Feb. 21 – Mineral Ridge, 7

Crestview
Nov. 27 – Beaver Local, 7
Nov. 30 – Minerva, 7
Dec. 6 – Southern, 7
Dec. 10 – at Springfield, 7
Dec. 13 – Liberty, 7
Dec. 14 – at Lisbon, 7
Dec. 20 – at Champion, 7
Dec. 27 – Crestview Holiday Classic
Dec. 28 – Crestview Holiday Classic
Jan. 3 – Brookfield, 7
Jan. 7 – Newton Falls, 7
Jan. 10 – Campbell Memorial, 7
Jan 17 – at LaBrae, 7
Jan. 21 – at Liberty, 7
Jan. 24 – Champion, 7
Jan. 28 – at Brookfield, 7
Jan. 31 – at Newton Falls, 7
Feb. 4 – at Campbell Memorial, 7
Feb. 8 – at Wellsville, 7
Feb. 11 – LaBrae, 7
Feb. 18 – at Leetonia, 7
Feb. 21 – at Heartland Christian, 7

LaBrae
Dec. 3 – at Niles, 7
Dec. 6 – Howland, 7
Dec. 10 – at South Range, 7
Dec. 13 – at Bristol, 7
Dec. 14 – vs. Girard (at Poland), 1:45
Dec 20 – at Newton Falls, 7
Dec. 23 – Garrettsville Garfield, 7
Jan. 3 – at Campbell Memorial, 7
Jan. 7 – at Brookfield, 7
Jan. 10 – Liberty, 7
Jan. 14 – at Champion, 7
Jan. 17 – Crestview, 7
Jan. 21 – at Mineral Ridge, 7
Jan. 24 – Newton Falls, 7
Jan. 28 – Campbell Memorial, 7
Jan. 31 – Brookfield, 7
Feb. 4 – at Liberty, 7
Feb. 7 – Champion, 7
Feb. 11 – at Crestview, 7
Feb. 14 – Edgewood, 7
Feb. 18 – at Lakeview, 7
Feb. 21 – at Springfield, 7

Liberty
Dec. 3 – Badger, 7
Dec. 6 – Niles, 7
Dec. 13 – at Crestview, 7
Dec. 17 – at Warren JFK, 7
Dec. 20 – at Brookfield, 7
Dec. 21 – Bristol, 7
Dec. 27 – at Lakeview, 7
Dec. 28 – Hubbard, 7
Jan. 3 – Newton Falls, 7
Jan. 10 – at LaBrae, 7
Jan. 11 – Columbiana, 7
Jan. 14 – Campbell Memorial, 7
Jan. 17 – Champion, 7
Jan. 21 – Crestview, 7
Jan. 24 – Brookfield, 7
Jan. 25 – at Chaney, 7
Jan. 28 – at Newton Falls, 7
Feb. 4 – LaBrae, 7
Feb. 7 – at Campbell Memorial, 7
Feb. 11 – at Howland, 7
Feb. 14 – at Champion, 7

Newton Falls
Nov. 29 – Ravenna, 7
Dec. 3 – at Mooney, 7:30
Dec. 6 – Lakeview, 7
Dec. 10 – at Rootstown, 7
Dec. 13 – Champion, 7
Dec. 20 – LaBrae, 7
Dec. 28 – at Girard, 7
Dec. 30 – at Windham, 7
Jan. 3 – at Liberty, 7
Jan. 4 – Niles, 7
Jan. 7 – at Crestview, 7
Jan. 14 – Brookfield, 7
Jan. 17 – at Campbell Memorial, 7
Jan. 21 – at Champion, 7
Jan. 24 – at LaBrae, 7
Jan. 25 – Mineral Ridge, 7
Jan. 28 – Liberty, 7
Jan. 31 – Crestview, 7
Feb. 4 – Garrettsville Garfield, 7
Feb. 7 – at Brookfield, 7
Feb. 14 – Campbell Memorial, 7
Feb. 18 – at Howland, 7

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