McMECHEN - The Bishop Donahue boys aren't blessed with an abundance of height, so they will have to push the basketball up the floor at every opportunity. It's OK though, because that's what the Bishops like to do anyway.
Entering his 12th season as head coach and having a resume that includes an appearance in the 2007 state final, a 2009 OVAC Championship and a runner-up finish last season, Tom Wise welcomes back seven seniors that played roles last season when Donahue finished 16-7 and bowed out at the hands of Wheeling Central in the second round of sectional action.
''We have a team full of quick, aggressive players that will allow us to press more this year and give us some easier scoring opportunities,'' Wise said. ''I think we will fly under the radar for a while.
''Most people will think we lost way too much to graduation and that this we be a down year.''
Picking up their diplomas were Ryan Jones, Zach Whitfield, Devin Overholt, Jordan Angalich, Ian Schau, Adam Kudla and Andrew Beveridge.
But the Bishops do return Garrett Yurisko at the point. He scored four points and handed out six assists per game last season.
''Garrett is the perfect point guard to lead a team that wants and needs to run,'' Wise said. ''As long as Garrett is on the floor, we have a very great chance that good things will happen.
Chad Reidel was a part-time starter and is the leading returning scorer at 8 ppg. Wise said Reidel ''has the ability to score from long distance, something we have not consistently had for some time.''
Another senior is Wylie Koontz, who at 6-foot-4 is going to handle the center position. His coach points out that Koontz spent considerable time in the weight room during the offseason.
D.T. Meeker is a slasher that can play three positions, while Andrew Beveridge, a star on the football team, will be asked to provide quality minutes under the basket. Wise said Austin Ghaphery, if the Bishops can keep him healthy, could be a weapon.
Marshall Reager is also going to be expected to contribute, but will be out for three weeks after having surgery on his hand. Cody Ballard, the quarterback on the football team, is back out for basketball and can play inside or outside.
Rounding out the senior class is Kyle Gillis, who Wise said ''can play the 4 or the 5 and will provide help on the glass and on the defense end.''
The junior class is comprised of Nick Fallova, Saquan Hill and Austin Yannerella. The nine-man sophomore class includes Kenny Noice, Lavonte Hampton, Bryce Jones, Jared Yates, Hunter Kaschke, Zach Henderson, Gabe Mickey, Lane LeMasters, and Eric Myers.
Freshmen competing for playing time are Chase Padlow, Jesse Padlow, Brett Moore, Josh Miller, Jared Horan, C.J. Huff, and Matt Vucelik.
Wise is assisted by Shawn Martin, Curt Mele and Tom Moore.