By DOUG DONNELLY
Hanover-Horton went undefeated in the Cascades Conference last season in a year that the league had six of its eight teams reach double-digits in wins.
The Comets went 20-1 for the season but lost all five starters. They return some talented players, however, to make yet another run at a league title.
Here’s a team-by-team look at the league this season:
2019-20: 4-17 (1-13 in Cascades Conference)
Coach: Marv Cox, first season
Returning starters: Kobe Farrow, Kenny Jarchow
Other returning players: Dylan Sawdey, KJ Scott, Ryan Worsham
Newcomers: Zach Conley
Player to watch: Frederick Bills has returned to basketball after missing last season and should be a big bonus for the Panthers. “He will be our leader on the court, just as he was in football,” Cox said.
Coach says: “Our team is very young, we all know this, so the experience we will gain this year is very valuable for us going forward.”
2019-20: 10-12 (3-11)
Coach: Rodney Lowden
Returning starters: Jacob Buckland, Trae Lammon, Jake Swiontek
Other returning players: Gabe Harmon, Carter Pelton, Austin McKessy, Zander Bradley, Ben Maino
Newcomers: Conner Walker, Lawrence Adams, Mason Dingee
Player to watch: Buckland was honorable mention all-conference a season ago and the most experienced player on the roster.
Coach says: “We are a balanced team and we talk about focusing on being a great teammate. The keys to our season are teamwork, playing unselfish and getting better every day.”
Season opener: Monday vs. Manchester
2019-20: 16-5 (11-3)
Coach: David Bargesser, first year
Returning Starters: Brennen Bargesser
Other returning players: Carson Farley, Travis Fernamberg
Newcomers: Josh Sherwood, Jack Easterday, Brett Horodeczny, Isaiah Simon, Wesley Good, Gus Vitale, Zeke Dubiel
Player to watch: Bargesser has multiple offers to play college hoops. “He can play all five positions, but will mostly play the point for us,” Coach Bargesser said.
Coach says: “Our keys are team defense, rebounding and protecting the ball. That will go a long way in the success of our season. If we do those three things, we will be able to compete with any team.”
2019-20: 20-1 (14-0)
Coach: Chad Mortimer
Returning starters: None.
Returning players: Conner Mortimer (6-1), Carson Sanders (6-5), Evan Keeder (6-5), Brogan Brockie (6-1), Garrett Gumper, Kyler Rod, Scott Bolton, Jack Burmis, Logan Shepherd.
Newcomers: Gavin Gumper, Seth Dailey, Matt Applegate.
Players to watch: Mortimer is a 6-1 combo guard who will be one of the floor leaders. He can shoot the triple and is a solid defender. Sanders can score in multiple ways. Keeder is a scoring threat with growing confidence. Brockie is quick and explosive.
Coach says: “The guys are really excited to get started. It’s hard to know where we are at since we don’t have any starters returning, and we weren’t able to have summer ball to build chemistry and roles, so that makes it tough. But that will come more and more as we play. I do know we have guys who are going to get after it, play together, and put the team first. I look forward to seeing who steps up. The goal is always to get better as the season goes on and be playing our best ball in March.”
2019-20: 10-12 (5-9)
Coach: Zachary Neal, first year
Returning starters: Ryan Mann, Sr.
Other returning players: 0
Newcomers to the team: 11 newcomers to the roster, five completely new to the program
Player to watch: Mann is the only player on the Manchester roster with experience in the program. He started last season. “He has been a great leader over the last few weeks,” Neal said.
Coach says: “The development of the younger players on our roster that lack varsity experience is No. 1. We also need to be able to stop people, we gave up way too many easy baskets in the past.”
2019-20: 13-8 (10-4)
Coach: Travis Gaddy
Returning starter: Brock Cyrocki
Other returners: Kaden Shannon, Joe Olkowski, Matt Brown, Verlandez Williams, Nick Kosmet
Newcomers: Daylen Hinkle, Carter Kosmet, Carter McBride, Alex Hunt, JT Resor, Dylan Villareal
Player to watch: Cyrocki has the ability to knock down the triple or drive to the basket. “He has grown a few inches over the last year which allows him to finish better in the lane,” Gaddy said.
Coach says: “It starts at the defensive end for us. We have to improve defensively and really concentrate on getting stops. It sounds simple but we need to learn to communicate better.”
2019-20: 15-6 (9-5)
Coach: Derek Seidl, first year
Returning Starters: Alex Darnell, Sr
Other returning players: Josh Adams, Sr.; Javen Tumey-Patterson, Jr.
Newcomers to the team: Hartley Marvin, Jr.; Zack Johnson, Jr.; Jason Negus, Jr.; Kyler Reason, Jr.; John Barnard, Jr.; Trent Jester, So.; Grant Bradley, Fr.; DeVonta Habern, Fr.
Player to watch: Darnell is a college prospect and the most experienced player on the team and averaged 12.2 points and 4.3 rebounds a game last year. “Alex is extremely talented. He is a very quick and good at scoring around the rim and also is one of our best shooters,” Seidl said.
Coach says: “We are hoping to have a good year and are very excited to get started. We hope to play an up-tempo style that will allow us to utilize our athleticism and skills to our advantage. We have a large group of guys coming up from a successful JV team from last year. We will be relying on them a lot this year so how quickly our new varsity players can get adjusted to the varsity level will be essential.”
2019-20: 4-17 (3-11)
Coach: Cory Ray
Returning starters: Demarion Smith, Gaven Cooper
Other returning players: Jabari Bandford, Anthony Jimenez, David Porras, Easton Stoddard, Zach Lutz, Zach Jones
Newcomers: Connor Riddle is a dual-sport athlete who also wrestles. “He hasn’t played since the eighth-grade, but he’s a tough kid who will help us out tremendously.”
Player to watch: Gaven Cooper is on the varsity for a third season. “He’s a tough kid who grinds out possessions,” Ray said. “He has the potential to be a 20 points-per-game kind of player for us.”
Coach says: “The key to our season is the commitment and perseverance that we have on the defensive end of the floor. We’ve got potential without a doubt. But we are in need of someone to step up and be the leader in class, practice, games and the locker room. If we can focus on the process instead of the outcome we could really surprise some people.”