ST. MARYS — After losing six seniors heading into last season, the St. Marys boys basketball team struggled to string wins together with a new look squad.
This season, while the team did graduate three seniors last season, a handful of the team’s leaders return as the Dutch will hope that continuity will lead to success on the hardwood.
St. Marys finished last season with a 7-15 record overall, snapping a streak of three consecutive winning seasons.
The Dutch return their four leading scorers from last season in seniors Cahil Parrish and Nick Catalone along with juniors Luke Lasko and Mitchell Reiter.
Those four, along with Lucas Erich, who was a senior on last season’s team, played in all 22 games for St. Marys last year.
Parrish was the only Dutchmen to finish with a scoring average in double figures, as he led the team with 11.4 points per game while also leading the way in assists (3.4 per game) and steals (3.2 per game) in his junior campaign.
Catalone was also a key part of the offense last season as he finished second in points (7.5), rebounds (3.9), assists (2.4) and steals (2.1) last season.
Lasko followed with 7.4 points per game last season while chipping in 3.2 rebounds a game, while Reiter also returns after averaging 6.7 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.
Gone are seniors Erich, Antony Corina and Jacob Wilson, as Cortina’s presence on the inside will certainly be missed by the Dutch.
Corntina scored 5.6 points per game last year, which was fifth best on the team, but he led the way in rebounds with 6.5 a game and also tallied 1.8 blocks per game.
St. Marys head coach Shad Boschert said experience will certainly be a plus for his team this season, as all 13 members of the varsity lineup are seniors and juniors.
The head coach said entering the season he looks for his starting lineup to potentially change game by game as Parrish, Catalone, Lasko, Bryce Walker, Tim Rusciolelli, Drake Caskey, Mitchell Reiter and Isaac Schlimm will likely see starting time.
“Our points of emphasis this preseason have been rebounding, help defense, finding easy buckets and eliminating our habitats of over dribbling and making 50/50 passes,” Boschert said.
He added that he has a good group of kids this season and feels a handful of them have the ability to lead on any given night, but noted Parrish, Catalone and Rusciolelli have distinguished themselves as the most consistent leaders in the preseason.
“They all bring different things to the table as leaders, the one you don’t see in the box score is Tim (Rusciolelli), Boschert said. “He is a gritty player, gives us everything he has every night, does all the little things well.”
St. Marys opens its season Friday at the Keystone Tip-Off Tournament as it will take on the host Panthers on the opening day of the tourney at 8 p.m.
Last season the Dutch opened the season with a 54-39 win over Keystone before dropping a 65-63 double-overtime contest against DuBois in the tip-off title game.
St. Marys began last season 3-1 before dropping eight of its next nine games.
Seniors: Cahil Parrish, Nick Catalone, Jared Lenze, Tim Rusciolelli, Dan Thorwart. Juniors: Holden Housler, Vinicius Nunes, Mitchell Reiter, Josh Robinson, Luke Lasko, Bryce Walker, Drake Caskey, Isaac Schlimm.
JUNIOR VARSITY ROSTER
Junior: Levie Chillelli. Sophomores: Ryan Bille, Hunter Hetrick, Conner Straub. Freshmen: Tyler Mitchell, Tanner Fox, Hunter Bryant, Zach Thorwart, Colin Reitz, Grausen Spangler, Sam Bowes, Charlie Coudriet, Connor Smith.