UNION CITY – The Mississinawa Valley boy’s basketball team is coming off its first winning season in quite some time under first year boys varsity coach Tim Barga in 2014-15.
The Blackhawks finished with a 14-9 record last year and won the prestigious Jet Holiday Tournament to put a feather in their cap.
A good portion of that team graduated, and they are Dalton Rinderle, Cayden Cox, Jarryd Bridges and Adam Stocksdale.
But the cupboard isn’t bare and the Hawks return experience with seniors Dalton Geesy, Devan Rinderle and Colyn Nelson, who will look to lead the team.
Juniors who will be looked upon to contribute are Andrew Johns and Trenton Perkins, and sophomore Ethan Bowman also will be a key figure as well.
“We got three seniors coming back that are good players,” Coach Tim Barga said.
“We aren’t very deep as a team this year, and that could pose a problem,” Barga added. “With only six varsity players, we will need to bring kids up from JV to help out, and last year we struggled down the stretch and got tired because we were limited with players; it will be the same this year.
“We aren’t a real tall team … but we are quick so we will need to play to our strengths, which is our quickness,” Barga said.
“That means the coach is going to have to be a little smarter this year, and the kids need to communicate better, rather than wait till they are at 50 percent, maybe they let me know when they are 80 percent and we get them a minute or two of rest and get back in there,” Barga said.
“Offensively we’ll run some set plays … but we’ll also run a motion, too,” Barga said.
“We aren’t very physical … but I was surprised in our scrimmage with Parkway that we were OK playing physical, and that could help us down the road,” Barga said.
The varsity team will be Colyn Nelson, Devan Rinderle, Dalton Geesy, Ethan Bowman, Trenton Perkins and Andrew Johns.
Colyn Nelson (6-1 senior) is an athletic left-hander who is good going to the basket and the short jumper but is coming off an injury and hopefully will be full strength when the season starts.
Dalton Geesy (6-4 senior) had a great year in football and is a strong post presence and the only real size the Hawks have and will be counted on for post defense and at least 10 points a game.
Devan Rinderle (6-1 senior) is also a very athletic player who can score both inside and out and brings a lot of basketball savvy to the floor.
Andrew Johns (6-0 junior) was the quarterback on the football team and is a player the Hawks will need to provide scoring and good defense.
Trenton Perkins (5-11 junior) is very fast, quick and aggressive and will be looking to shine at the next level.
Ethan Bowman (5-11 sophomore) is a very smooth player and a good shooter and will be looked on to help handle the ball.
“We are good at the guard spots with Ethan Bowman and Dalton Rinderle … but we really miss having a true point guard,” Coach Barga said.
“In order to be successful, we really need to get some good post play from Dalton Geesy to be effective this year,” Barga added.
Coming up from the reserve to round out the varsity team this year will be JJ Howard (6-2 junior), Tucker Didier (5-7 junior), Brandon Beanblossom (6-0 junior), Matthew Slob (6-3 sophomore) and DJ Howell (5-10 freshman).
Coach Barga was pleased with the Hawks season last year and hopes to build off the success they experienced last year.
“We have a very difficult non-conference schedule with teams like St. Henry, Fort Recovery and Troy Christian to name a few,” Barga said. “And there are quite a few tough teams in our conference as well.”
“We want to compete for the CCC title, win the Jet Holiday Tournament and prepare for the tournament,” Barga said. “We really would like to get a postseason tournament win because it’s been a long time since Mississinawa has won in the always tough Piqua sectional,” Barga concluded.
Mississinawa will get things started Saturday in its opener verses their sister city rivalry at Union City, Indiana.