STEUBENVILLE-The sky could be the limit for the Steuenville Catholic boys' basketball team if the Crusaders commit to being "full-time players."
"We have 22 kids that love basketball," said Coach Sean Tucker, who is entering his fifth season at the Central helm. "If our guys walk into the gym as full-time players, buy into their roles and everything we have to do, we will have success.
"If we start believing in a part-time routine, where guys become more worried about how many they get or who was the leading scorer, that could produce 10-20 point swings in our games. If they come as full-time players, we could be very productive and put a lot of numbers on the board."
Tucker's team finished is coming off a 12-10 season in which it advanced to the Division IV sectional final against Malvern. Gone from the club are John Emmerling, Steve Mihalyo and Brannt Pieniazek (a second team all Eastern District selection).
Seven letterwinners are back in the fold for Tucker. They key returners are seniors Zack Herrington and Michael Carapellotti, along with juniors Brenton Colabella, Ryan Fletcher, Matt Martello and point guard Michael Barber.
Herrington earned third team all-district honors, averaging 11.7 points and 9.3 rebounds. Colabella, the school's record-setting quarterback, and the sweet-shooting Carapellotti both were special mention choices in the all-district balloting. Fletcher and Martello both can light it up from behind the arc.
"We had the best summer in the five years that I have been here," Tucker noted. "This group played so well together. They didn't care who scored, they didn't care about high points. They played together for the same purpose and reason. They were full-time players."
Central does have some respectable size, four players standing 6-foot-2 or taller. That group includes Herrington, Colabella, senior Steven Kotur and junior John Paul Dombrowski.
Others listed on the varsity roster are juniors Michael Manfresca and Aleks Porreca, along with freshmen Tony Barber and James Howard.
"Every single player we have from 1-through-8 all bring a certain ingredient that we need to be successful." Tucker added. "All summer I drilled in their heads what I need them to do. I told them if you do this for me, we can be successful."
Tucker, who will be joined on the Crusaders bench by Joe Ribar, Michael Barber and Frank Mioduszewski, says his squad doesn't have one leader but, instead, it has a group of leaders.
"There's always someone in the group, be it a senior or a junior, that says 'hey let's get back to basics,' " he pointed out. "We have a group of leaders. It just depends on who walks into the gym and wants to step up."