ST. MARYS — After a 13-10 season that ended with a loss in the District 9 Class 4A semifinals against Punxsutawney, the St. Marys boys basketball team comes into the 2017-18 campaign with a little bit of experience returning.
Head coach Shad Boschert has liked what he has seen so far in the preseason.
“Practice is going well so far,” said Boschert. “We have a really good group of hard working kids. This is a fun group to coach, I’m looking forward to seeing them improve throughout the season.”
Although St. Marys has two starters returning from last year’s team, the Dutchmen did graduate six seniors off their roster last season, including Jeff Wehler, who was selected as a Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express First Team all-star last season. Wehler was second in District 9 in scoring average (19.7) and fourth in total points (454) a year ago.
St. Marys also graduated TCS/CE honorable mention pick Matt Marconi, but return two starters in seniors Nathan Schneider and Jackson Lindemuth. Schneider was a Second Team pick last season, finishing the year with 326 points, good for 14.2 points per game.
“We will rely on Nathan Schneider and Jackson Lindemuth for leadership,” said Boschert. “They know what it takes to be successful. Jack and Nate are high character individuals and two of our hardest workers. They serve as great role models for the team that we have this year.”
While much of the offense ran through Wehler or Schneider last season, Boschert is looking for more of a balanced attack this season.
Also returning from last year’s team are seniors Isaac Caretti, Mario Chiappelli, and Austin Goodrow, and junior Anthony Cortina. Senior Jared Groll also is out for the team again this year, and Boschert noted that having Groll back would help out a great deal on the offensive side of the ball.
“We also have a handful of freshmen and sophomores that will be asked to help out as well,” said Boschert. “I’m really excited to see how this group comes together.”
Even after graduating those seniors, the Dutchmen still have an older roster this year. Out of the 13 players on the roster, six are seniors and three are juniors.
“We are a completely different looking team this year,” said Boschert. “We lost a few really good players, but we have some promising young talent coming up that will be asked to contribute.
“The most important thing for us this year will be balance on offense. Last year we relied heavily on two or three guys to do all of the scoring. I think that will be much different this year.”
Boschert, a second year head coach for the Dutchmen, said that the team has set a few goals as a team, and also some individual goals.
“The goals that the team has established for this season are to win championships, become better people/players/teammates, and stick together,” he said. “My job is to help the team accomplish those goals.”
St. Marys begins the season on Friday and Saturday at the Keystone Tip-Off Tournament. The Dutchmen will play the host team Keystone at 8 p.m. DuBois and Clarion will also play in the tournament.
Seniors: Isaac Caretti, Mario Chiappelli, Austin Goodrow, Jared Groll, Jackson Lindemuth, Nathan Schneider. Juniors: Anthony Cortina, Lucas Erich, Jacob Wilson. Sophomores: Nick Catalone, Cahil Parrish. Freshmen: Luke Lasko, Mitchell Reiter.