GREENVILLE – The Greenville boys basketball team enters the 2015-16 season as the defending Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division champion and is seeking to keep its spot atop the division.
The Green Wave lost three seniors to graduation from their championship squad, which finished last season 18-5 overall and 9-1 in the GWOC North, but has a strong core coming back in its quest for another title.
“Obviously any time you are defending champs you will play with a big target on your back,” Greenville coach Michael Bashore said. “We tried really hard to beef up our scrimmage schedule this November to help better prepare for the upcoming season. Each year, though, your team is going to be different than the year before due to graduation. We have the same goals as before as far as winning the GWOC North. We are just going to look different in the way we go about achieving that goal.”
While it won’t be easy to replace Aaron Balsbaugh, Cody Preston and Allen Tabler, Greenville has a lot of kids eager to fill those roles and is progressing well, Bashore said.
The Green Wave’s top returning player is senior forward Clay Guillozet, who led the entire GWOC last season with 22.4 points per game.
“We are very fortunate to have to outstanding returning scorers,” Bashore said. “Clay, believe it or not, has only gotten better with all the work he has put in this offseason. Clay is one of the better players in the Dayton area and is a top 30 prospect in the state among seniors. He is used to having the pressure to put a lot of points up, and he is always up for that challenge.”
Another top returner for Greenville is junior forward Isaiah Gable, who was the team’s third leading scorer last season with 9.2 points per game and will give the Green Wave another strong scoring option to compliment Guillozet.
“Isaiah Gable is another kid who is a tremendous scorer,” Bashore said. “He is ranked in the top five in the state at his position for his grade, and his hard work is definitely paying off.”
Also returning to the Green Wave lineup is junior Aaron Rich. After averaging 3.0 points per game and 1.3 rebounds per game last year, Rich will be asked to contribute more this season as Greenville tries to replace the production lost with the graduation of Balsbaugh, who averaged 12.8 points and 9.9 rebounds a game last season.
“Junior post player Aaron Rich is another kid returning from last year who is showing steady improvement as he is asked to step into a much bigger role,” Bashore said.
Greenville’s returning varsity players won’t shoulder all the responsibilities alone this season. The Green Wave will need newcomers to step up and help fill the voids left by the departed seniors.
“Other kids like Peter Pandey and Trae Wood and Devin Hendrix are going to be asked to make the jump from JV to varsity,” Bashore said. “Our success will be determined on how well those kids and others can adjust to that jump.”
While it won’t be easy, Greenville is excited about the chance to defend its GWOC North championship and have another great season.
“We are very excited about this upcoming season,” Bashore said. “We play a tough schedule and are also very excited about another chance to play in the Flyin’ to the Hoop in January. We have come a long way as a program in a short time, and now we have to continue to work just as hard so we can stay on top.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.