UNION CITY – The Mississinawa Valley boys basketball team will rely on experience as they prepare for the upcoming 2018-19 season.
The 2017-18 team was a part of some big wins last year and finished 11-11 overall and 7-5 for a tie in fifth place in the Cross County Conference.
The Blackhawks lost to graduation Matthew Slob, a solid post player on the inside, and Ethan Bowman, a 1,000-point career scorer who led the team in all statistical categories last year including 18 points a game.
Replacing nearly 25 points of your offense isn’t an easy task, but Mississinawa has experienced players returning and will be taking the next man up approach.
Mississinawa has five seniors and six juniors on the varsity roster this year.
Seniors on the team this year are:
D.J. Howell is a 6-0 center who averaged 8 points and 5 rebounds per game last year. He is shifty in the paint and always around the ball and will be a steady influence for the Hawks this year.
Trent Collins is a 6-2 center who is athletic and more physical as he has matured and is another player Mississinawa will be looking to step up this year.
Kyler Guillozet is a 5-6 guard and will be looked upon for ball-handling duties and is capable of knocking down the open shot.
Will Hall is a 5-10 forward who averaged 5 points per game last year and brings a warrior’s spirit to the game. He’s not afraid to mix it up and is a battler.
Justin Miller is a 6-0 forward and will be seeing varsity action for the first time this year.
Juniors on the team this year are:
Cody Dirksen is a 6-0 forward and is a strong player who moves well for his size. He has the athletic ability to make plays and will be needed for rebounding and defending the paint.
Blake Scholl is a 6-3 forward who has made some big shots in varsity action last year. A three-ball threat but also will be looked upon to provide more scoring inside as well.
Alex Scholl is a 5-9 guard who is strong for his size and athletic, he can get to the rim or knock down the jumper.
Max Dirmeyer is a 5-9 guard who is another fiery competitor who has the will to win and will be asked to help with ball-handling and lock down defense.
Josh Fett is a 5-3 guard and a small package of dynamite who is an instant impact player with his ball hawking abilities along with quickness and speed in the open floor.
Mason Hiestand is a 6-0 center and will give the team much needed support in the paint this year.
The Blackhawks have good numbers in the basketball program with 11 on varsity, 9 on junior varsity and 7 on the freshmen team.
Tim Barga is back for his fifth year at the helm of Mississinawa Valley and is assisted by Brian Rehmert along with JV coach Bo Humphries.
“We have experience on this team and our guys will have to learn how to play together. Our goal as a team is to be competitive while striving for a winning season,” Barga said.
Coach Barga sees Bethel, Arcanum, Ansonia and National Trail as league front-runners to start the year, but the Blackhawks may have something to say about that before the year is over.
Mississinawa will open its season in the boys and girls doubleheader with their cross state and town rival Union City, Ind., on Saturday, Dec. 1 with the JV girls game starting a 2 p.m., JV boys game at 3:30, varsity girls game 5:30 and varsity boys at 7 p.m.