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home : local sports : local sports

11/26/2013 10:52:00 AM Email this articlePrint this article 
Capital Classic preview Red Hill site
Teutopolis is a contender, based on tradition alone
BRIDGEPORT - Tradition alone says that Teutopolis is the team to beat at the Bridgeport site this weekend, in the 25th annual Basketball Capital Classic.

Winners of the event nine times in 15 tries - and runners up on four other occasions - the Wooden Shoes are 49-7 in Basketball Capital Classic play since they started coming to Lawrence County in 1998.

Host Red Hill, five-time Basketball Capital Classic champions, two-time winner Olney and Fairfield will also compete in pool play games at Red Hill High School.

Fairfield

The Mules return nearly everyone from a team that finished 17-13 a year ago.

"We've finished fifth in the Capital Classic the last two years," Fairfield coach Scott McElravy said. "This year, that won't be good enough."

The Mules feature 6-6 junior Nathaniel Lackey, who averaged 13 points per game last season. Others who return after starting on at least a part-time basis last season are 6-3 senior Tristan Fry, 5-10 senior Joseph Rodgers, 5-10 junior Andrew Gifford and 6-3 senior Cody Simpson.

Colton Simpson, a 5-11 senior, figures to see plenty of playing time, as does 5-9 senior Derek Greifzu and 6-2 junior Dakota Young. Sky Kollak, a 6-2 sophomore, hopes to earn playing time along with 6-0 sophomore Colton Land and 6-3 senior Nate Coomer.

McElravy said playing in the Capital Classic is like "a breath of fresh air."

"We get to play people we don't normally see," he said. "Playing Olney and Teutopolis will be a real challenge. We haven't beaten either of those teams in a while."

The Mules have been playing in the Capital Classic since 2003 and have amassed a record of 10-23 in those games.

Red Hill

Veteran coach Bryan Havill says the Salukis are preparing for a "buzzsaw" in its pool play games.

"I think the (Capital Classic) field is stronger this year than any year I can remember," said Havill, whose team finished 5-21 last season. "We know heading into it that it's going to be rough."

The Salukis return 6-3 senior Jake Allen, who averaged 9.6 points per game last season, and 5-8 sophomore Dalton Murray, who averaged 7.7. Other probable starters are 6-2 sophomore Tanner Stoltz, 5-11 junior Steven Ramsaran and 6-5 junior Ryan Kolb, Off the bench Red Hill will turn to sophomores Tanner Gray, 6-0, Zach Breault, 5-10 and 6-1 freshman Kameron Vinsel.

The Salukis started playing in the Capital Classic in 1990. They've won the championship five times and finished second once. Red Hill has a 42-40 record in Capital Classic games.

Teutopolis

The Wooden Shoes finished 28-4 last season and return two starters and a top reserve from a team that won a sectional championship.

"We hope to build around those three and have another successful season," said T-Town coach Andy Fehrenbacher, who has a record of 153-29 in six years at the school. "There are some spots open for some new faces to step up to the varsity level. Our schedule is very competitive and with the three tournaments we are in, hopefully will prepare us for the post-season."

The Wooden Shoes' top returning scorer is 6-0 senior Reed Hardiek, who averaged 5.4 points a game last season. Cody Will (4.8 ppg), a 6-2 senior, and 6-5 sophomore Brett Mette (3.1 ppg) also return. Justin Kenter, a 6-2 senior, and 6-5 junior Ryan Sandschafer are the other projected starters.

Top reserves include 5-8 sophomore Michael Drees, 6-1 senior Bobby Wenthe, 6-1 sophomore Devin Smith, 6-7 senior Logan Probst, 6-5 junior Tyler Gebben and 6-4 junior Jordan Thoele.

"What we are looking for out of the Capital Classic is to establish an identity to this team," Fehrenbacher said. " We always stress defense and rebounding, that is our program's staple, but we will find out what kind of offensive team we are going to be. Plus we will find out who is ready for the varsity level and who is not quite there yet."

Olney

The Tigers return everybody from last year's team that finished 16-14 to register the school's 11th consecutive winning season.

"I was really proud of our team last season," said Olney coach Rob Flanagan, who is 269-173 through 15 years heading the program. "We'll see what we can do this year. We're certainly looking for more, and I know it's going to be a lot of fun coaching them."

A tentative starting lineup includes 6-1 sophomore Ethan Eagleson and 5-11 senior Chance Madden at guards, with a frontcourt of 6-2 junior Tate Nohren, 6-3 senior Evan Eagleson and 5-9 senior Alex St. Pierre.

Ryan Eagleson, a 5-11 senior, would be in the mix, but he sustained a foot injury late in the football season and won't be back in time for the Capital Classic.

Off the bench, the Tigers will quickly turn to 5-8 senior Michael De Venecia and 5-10 junior Luke Hahn, along with possibly 6-1 junior Silven Stallard and 6-0 sophomore Derek Deimel.

The Tigers have been playing in the Capital Classic since 2005, and were tournament champions in 2007 and 2011. Olney has a 20-9 record in the tournament.





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