2015-16 Salem Boys’ Basketball Preview

2015-16 Salem Quakers’ Boys Basketball Preview
Head Coach: Rich Hart, 6th season at Salem (58-62)
Record: 10-14 (4-10), T-6th place in Northeastern Buckeye Conference
5-Year Winning Percentage: 47.5%
5-Year League Record: 23-41*
*-Salem was a member of the AAC White Division in 2010-11

Season in Review
The 8th-seeded Quakers gave 2nd seed Canfield all they could handle in the Warren Sectional Final before falling 43-41. Salem’s season came to an end at 10-14 after finishing 4-10 in league play. DJ Pullie, Trey Toothman, and team captain Jake Bezon helped lead the group to their double-digit win total.

Since Salem arrived in the Northeastern Buckeye Conference prior to the 2011-12 season, they’ve been able to accumulate a league mark of 21-35 with their only winning season which came in 2012-13 (9-5).

2014-15 Northeastern Buckeye Conference Standings
League Record
Louisville – 14-0
Canton South – 12-2
Alliance – 8-6
Marlington – 7-7
West Branch – 5-9
Salem – 4-10
Carrollton – 4-10
Minerva – 2-12

Recent League Champions
2014-15: Louisville (14-0)
2013-14: Alliance (14-0)
2012-13: Canton South (12-2)
2011-12: Alliance (14-0)
2010-11: Carrollton (14-0)
2009-10: Louisville (13-1)
2008-09: Minerva (13-1)
2007-08: Alliance, Marlington, & Northwest (11-3)

Key Loss
Jake Bezon (4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2 apg, 2 spg)

Key Returnees
Senior D.J. Pullie (17 ppg, 53 3pt), a two-year starter and second-team All-NBC selection, returns to lead the Quakers. “DJ should be one of the best players in the league,” says coach Rich Hart. “(Six foot seven) Nick Rusyn (6 ppg, 6 rpg) will be the most improved from this group. He’s worked extremely hard this summer. Having Dan Laut (4 ppg) for the entire season will be a big lift and I look for Jon Gerace (6 ppg, 4.8 rpg) to be one of the promising juniors in the entire area.”

Alec Economous (Sr)
Dan Laut (5’10/Sr)
D.J. Pullie (5’9/Sr)
Nick Rusyn (6’7/Sr)
Trey Toothman (Sr)
Brandon Weikart (6’0/Sr)
Matt Weingart (Sr)
Garrett Dickey (5’10/Jr)
Jon Gerace (6’3/Jr)

Northeastern Buckeye Conference Outlook
Alliance The Aviators closed out last season with an 8-6 mark in the league. When you have had the success that Alliance has had lately (2 league title in the previous 3 years) – that’s a down year.

Canton South Canton South has put together a pair of 12-2 NBC seasons in the last three seasons. This is the same Wildcats who finished the 2009-10 season with just a single win overall (1-20).

Carrollton Since Carrollton finished the league schedule in 2010-11 with a perfect 14-0 record, the Warriors have only been able to post one winning season in the NBC (2011-12: 8-6).

Louisville Coach Tom Siegfried returns three starters from last year’s undefeated group in the Northeastern Buckeye Conference which includes 6’7 senior Drew Noble.

Marlington The poster child for consistent play in the league, the Dukes had won 31 of their prior 42 league games before last year. Marlington finished 7-7 in the NBC.

Minerva Connor Wright and company will look to give coach Shawn Green a lift in his second season.

Salem For anyone who hasn’t seen D.J. Pullie play – get to a gym near you. The Quakers, who finished 10-14 last year, appear to be a good pick for a bounce back year.

West Branch Former Hoover coach Randy Montgomery returns to the sidelines, this time he’ll attempt to lead the Warriors back to respectability with players such as Jeremy Gorby and Matt Heffinger leading the group.

2015-16 Schedule
Nov. 27 – Canfield, 7:30
Dec. 4 – at Louisville, 7:30
Dec. 11 – Carrollton, 7:30
Dec. 15 – East Liverpool, 7:30
Dec. 18 – at Canton South, 7:30
Dec. 22 – West Branch, 7:30
Dec. 29 – Alliance, 7:30
Jan. 5 – South Range, 7:30
Jan. 8 – at Marlington, 7:30
Jan. 9 – at Struthers, 5:30
Jan. 12 – Minerva, 7:30
Jan. 15 – Louisville, 7:30
Jan. 19 – at East Palestine, 6
Jan. 22 – at Carrollton, 7:30
Jan. 26 – Canton South, 7:30
Jan. 29 – at West Branch, 7:30
Feb. 2 – at Alliance, 7:30
Feb. 5 – Marlington, 7:30
Feb. 12 – at Minerva, 7:30
Feb. 13 – at Boardman, 7
Feb. 16 – at Niles, 7
Feb. 19 – at Crestview, 7:30

Post-Season History
State Championships: None
Regional Championships: 3 (1959, 1937, 1927)
…Salem has won at least one playoff game in each of the last five seasons including a run to the Boardman District Finals in 2013.

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