Doyle to Lead Bellaire
By RICK THORP
BELLAIRE — Ben Doyle cares about Bellaire. He cares about its kids, it’s future.
So, when the high school had an opening for head boys’ basketball coach, he decided to give it a go.
After spending a year on J.R. Battista’s staff, Doyle takes over for him as the Big Reds hope to improve on a campaign that saw them win nine games before falling in the opening game of the Division III sectional tournament.
“It’s been great,” Doyle said. “We have a lot of good kids. They’ve all been working hard.
“We want to embrace the past, present and future of Bellaire basketball. I’m putting an emphasis on being physical, tough and hard-working. We want to make people proud and puts an emphasis on teamwork and communication and try to do all the little things correctly.”
Simply put, Doyle wants to see constant effort.
“We want to outwork everyone,” he said. “That’s the message we want to send to the kids.”
Doyle is building a culture, one he hopes will result in, not just victories on the court, but off.
“I’m a Bellaire guy, born and raised here,” he said. “I have a passion for the town and a passion for the students and in leading them to be solid citizens and young men. Hopefully, they’ll move on to have good lives and great careers.”
One good thing Doyle has going for him is the return of senior guard Chase Yoho (5-9).
Yoho led area teams last year with nearly 31 points per game en route to earning second team All-Ohio accolades.
“Chase is a great kid and a great student,” Doyle said. “He has really taken on a leadership role this year and we’ve challenged him to become more of a leader. He’s been great with that. It’s no secret he can score, now it’s time to get the rest of his game better.
“I put an emphasis on the weight room and he spent a lot of time in there.”
Yoho’s classmate, Mason Ramsay (6-2), also returns. He didn’t average a lot of points last year, so Doyle is looking to him to replace some of the production lost by the departure of double-figure scorers Tyson Camsky and Justyn Keyser.
“He’s a leader on other teams, so he’s used to that,” Doyle said. “He’s been working really hard to improve his game.”
Doyle has also been impressed with senior Gabe Rejonis (5-10).
“Gabe is just a relentless worker who doesn’t get tired,” Doyle said. “He’s a gamer. He’s a great teammate and he brings the level of practice up just through his work ethic.”
Another senior, Thor Duffy (5-11), is another “great worker” Doyle said he has.
“He’s great at boxing out and getting rebounds and setting the tone and making plays that don’t show up on the stat sheet.”
Other seniors in the mix are — Woody Maupin (6-0), Jacob Bellville (5-10) and Cody St. John (5-8), who moved over from St. John.
Juniors on the roster are — Cole Runyan (5-8), Jacob Marthaler (5-9), Daniel Lednik (6-0) and Shelton Lekanudos (5-8).
“Cole has really improved,” Doyle noted. “He’s put in a lot of time over the summer.”
A.J. McCarthy (5-10) will return soon as the sophomore sustained a football injury.
“He’s a relentless hard worker,” Doyle said.
Trace Sechrest (6-0), another football player, came over to the basketball squad after wrestling.
“He brings a great mentality to the team, which I love” Doyle said of the sophomore. “He’s a ballhawk. You only have to tell him something once.”
Levi Littell (6-3) is another sophomore Doyle is counting on to mix it up inside.
Payton Marling (5-10) and David Zwack will battle for playing time as freshmen.
Doyle is assisted by Nathan Regel, Nathan Steele and Bruce Young.