Monroe Entering Rebuild Season
By KIM NORTH
For the News-Register
WOODSFIELD — It’s shaping up as a rebuilding year for the Monroe Central boys’ basketball team this winter.
Graduation took away the bulk of last season’s talented squad.
However, head coach Jon Perkins is still excited about what this season may hold.
“We lost five seniors. All of whom saw a lot of success in their time in a Seminoles uniform,” Perkins said. Picking up diplomas were Auston Hogue, Luke Burkhart, Garet Cramer, Cooper Thompson and John Peterson.
“Many of this year’s seniors are seniors by grade, but they do not have much varsity experience to speak of,” Perkins said. “We are confident in their abilities and how much work they have put into their development during their time in our program, however.”
The 13-player roster features five seniors, including five returning lettermen. That group is led by Malachi Rose-Burton (6-1), who will be a four-year regular.
The multi-sport standout was a first team All-OVAC, All-Valley and All-District 12, while earning special mention All-Eastern District.
“Malachi is one of the best athletes we have ever had at Monroe Central. He is a very talented basketball player, who we handed the ball to as a freshmen and he has run our offense ever since,” Perkins pointed out. “He can impact the game on so many different levels as a ballhandler, scorer, and defender.
“He is a threat to get to the lane at any point and has now complemented his skill set with a much-improved shooting ability. We are excited for the possibilities this season holds for him.”
Other seniors are Collin Kroll (5-10), Michael Bunning (5-8), Jake Swisher (6-1), Dillon Lincoln (5-10), Austin Yonak (5-11) and Kade Demchak (5-8).
“Collin has great court awareness and is like a second coach on the floor. He completely understands our team philosophies and helps direct those guys who are learning,” Perkins said. “He is a great competitor and an excellent decision maker.
“He can shoot the ball extremely well from the perimeter and can get to the basket effectively.
“Dillon suffered a serious knee injury during football season which will keep him sidelined for an extended amount of time. He is one of those guys who our whole team looks up to and we will definitely miss for whatever duration of time he is out,” Perkins noted. “Dillon is one of our best athletes and overall basketball players and his absence has changed the way we have had to approach things.
“Michael leads our team with his competitiveness and his motor. He is a relentless defender who will make the hustle plays that a team needs to win games,” Perkins added. “Whether it’s diving on the floor after a loose ball, or taking a charge, he is the ultimate competitor.
“Jake has great length and uses it well on both ends of the court. He has been shooting the ball extremely well this pre-season and really adds a lot to our offense when he is hitting,ã the head coach continued. “He is a fundamental player and has really worked over the last couple years to improve his game. He has been patiently waiting his turn to play at this level and we are excited for him to get the opportunity to show his skill set.
“Kade is a skilled ball handler and shooter. He can catch fire from behind the arc and be a factor in any game,ã the head coach added. “He has worked diligently to become a better defender and it has shown over the course of this pre-season.
“Austin is an above average shooter from the perimeter and has really worked this summer to improve his game. He is much improved on the defensive end and is making a lot of the effort plays a team needs to be successful.”
Only two juniors are on the roster, but Perkins said both will be key contributors. They are Xavier Kinney (5-11) and Loghan Brown (6-1).
“Xavier is one of the hardest workers in the gym. He is an excellent defender, who at times, may draw the other team’s best player,” Perkins said. “He has improved his game over the past offseason and put himself into the rotation. He can play both on the perimeter and in the paint due to his physicality and athleticism.
“Loghan is another player who has good length and can affect the game on both ends of the floor. He is one of the most improved players on our team. He put in countless hours over the summer to improve his game and it has been visible. He can score from all three levels.”
A trio of sophomores and one freshman complete the roster.
Sophomores are Lane Demchak (5-10), Zander Potts (6-2) and Dylan Landefeld (5-4).
“Lane is a very intelligent player who understands the game. He is someone you can hand the ball to and trust to run your offense,” Perkins added. “We are hoping he gains valuable experience this season.
“Zander is an above average shooter who has demonstrated he is deserving of a varsity jersey,” Perkins allowed. “We are hopeful he will continue to improve on both ends of the floor and be ready when called upon.
“Dylan is an effort-based guy who pushes the other guys in practice. He doesn’t take a play off. He is another kid who worked extremely hard this summer and the improvement in his game shows.”
The lone frosh is Tucker Howell (6-1).
“He is only a freshman, but has a great feel for the game and is extremely coachable. He is a fundamental player and does all the little things well that you would expect a highly experienced player to do,” Perkins said. “He is a talented kid with a bright basketball future.
“We are looking forward to these guys being able to demonstrate that hard work on the court,” Perkins said.
The Seminoles have picked up games with Buckeye Trail and Shenandoah.
“We feel we play an extremely competitive schedule and will be tested throughout the course of the season on a nightly basis. Our guys know they will have to bring their ‘A’ game every single time we step on the floor.
Ticketed for JV duty are Brown, Kinney and junior Shawn Stimpert (5-11); Landefeld, Lane Demchak, Potts and sophomore Dalton Phillips (5-11); and freshmen Dylan Parden (5-11), Jacob Fogle (5-9), Logan Powell (5-7), Tyler Whitacre (5-9) and Wesley Loch (5-8)and Dalton Phillips.
Assisting Perkins are Tucker Brown, varsity assistant, Junior Winland, JV coach, and Derik Shirley, freshmen.