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LEOPOLD—Perry Central’s boys basketball team may not have the dominant scorer the Commodores have had in recent years with Aaron Carter and/or Nick Huber.
But Coach Matt Carter said the Commodores will have more quickness and depth than they’ve had in several years.
Carter is starting his second year as head coach after five years as the Commodores’ assistant coach.
He said this year’s team “has more quickness than any we’ve had here for several years. It’s improved from last year, and we were pretty quick last year.”
“And we’re going to have more depth than we had last year. We have eight to 10 kids who are pretty solid and can play multiple positions.”
He said Wednesday that his starting lineup for Tuesday’s season opener will probably be T.J. Lamon at point guard, Reuben Y. Schwartz at shooting guard, Ian Hahus and Reuben A. Schwartz at forwards, and Alex Rogier at center.
But “that could vary. Ryan Hanan and Austin Hauser are also close to earning a starting spot, along with Clint Cassidy, Trevor King, Adam Champion and Robbie Piper.
Jake Schwartz, sidelined another week with an injury, could also be in that mix later.
The depth and quickness should be conducive to a pressing, up-tempo game, which Carter likes to play.
He said the team’s main defense will be man-to-man and the defense overall “is a little ahead of last year at this time. We’re a little more solid with our rotations and communication.”
Reuben A. Schwartz or Rogier could emerge as the team’s defensive stopper. “They can really get out and guard multiple positions,” said Carter.
He said ball-handling “should be another strength. We could have five guys who can play guard all possibly on the floor at one time.”
Carter said the team’s shooting has “been pretty consistent. We don’t have any great shooters but we’ve got several who are pretty good.”
He listed Hahus, Reuben A. Schwartz and Hauser as the top perimeter shooters. “Alex can step out and hit it, and both T.J. and Reuben Y. are pretty consistent.
“T.J. and Reuben Y. are probably the best off the dribble, along with Alex.”
Rogier, Hanan and Piper are the team’s top low-post threats, said Carter.
Piper, listed at 6-foot-4, 400 pounds in football, is the team’s only player at least 6-foot-3.
“We’re still undersized for the most part,” said Carter. “So rebounding is a concern. But we’ve got some pretty good athletes—they’re long and lanky.
“I think Ian, Alex and Reuben A. can really be great rebounders. We’ve got to be physical with our check-outs,” though.
Carter plans to “mix it up” on offense. “We’ll run motion and flex. And we want to get out and break and have some options on our break. We’ll always have a couple of decent outside shooters running the wings.”
Reuben A. Schwartz, a senior and uncle to the other Schwartzes on the team, is the top returning scorer and rebounder with averages of 7.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last year.
His season was shortened to nine games, though, when he tore an anterior cruciate ligament in the PSC holiday tourney.
The Commodores were 7-2 when he played but finished 11-11, as they had less depth and quickness after he went down.
That’s one reason Carter listed “staying healthy” as the first key to the Commodores’ conference and sectional chances this year.
He thinks the PLAC will be “pretty solid from top to bottom. Orleans is still the team to beat. Paoli will be strong. And West Washington and Crawford County had some young kids last year.
“I think we’re right up there in the top two or three, though.”
As for the Class 2A sectional, “I think it’s pretty wide open,” said Carter. “Forest Park and Mater Dei are the preseason favorites. “But I think we have a shot at it if we stay healthy, continue to improve, and hold our own on the boards like I think we can.”