2015-16 South Range Boys’ Basketball Preview

2015-16 South Range Raiders’ Boys Basketball Preview
Head Coach: John Cullen, 3rd season at South Range (19-28)
Record: 15-9 (10-4), 3rd place in ITCL Upper Tier
5-Year Winning Percentage: 55.3%
5-Year League Record: 43-27

Season in Review
The Raiders made great strides in 2014-15 after posting a disappointing 4-19 record the year before. In his 42nd season in coaching, John Cullen saw his group improve by 11 wins overall (4 to 15) and 7 in league play (3 to 10). South Range got by Columbiana (60-49) in the Sectional Final before being bounced by eventual Salem District champ Canton Central Catholic (61-39) in the District Semifinal.

In each of the past two seasons, Garrett Anderson has averaged a double-double. In 2014-15, Anderson became the school’s all-time leader in rebounding in a single season (259) while averaging 15.6 points. The 1st-team All-ITCL selection also increased his free throw percentage from 50.6% (119-235) as a junior to 57.7% (158-274) as a senior.

2014-15 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 58.5
Scoring Defense: 51.5
Rebounding: 33.4
Field Goal Percentage: 45.3%
Three-Point Percentage: 31.9%
Free Throw Percentage: 62.3%
Turnovers: 14.0

Inter-Tri County League Basketball Champions
ITCL Upper Tier
2014-15: Springfield (14-0)
2013-14: Springfield (13-1)
2012-13: Springfield (14-0)
2011-12: Springfield (13-1)
2010-11: East Palestine (12-2)
2009-10: East Palestine (14-0)
2008-09: East Palestine (13-1)
2007-08: Columbiana (14-0)
2006-07: East Palestine (12-2)

ITCL Lower Tier
2014-15: McDonald & Lowellville (11-3)
2013-14: Wellsville (14-0)
2012-13: McDonald & Wellsville (12-2)
2011-12: Jackson-Milton & McDonald (10-4)
2010-11: McDonald (14-0)
2009-10: McDonald (14-0)
2008-09: McDonald (14-0)
2007-08: Wellsville (13-1)
2006-07: McDonald (14-0)

Key Losses
Garrett Anderson (15.6 ppg, 10.7 rpg)
Andrew Cullar (72.7% FT)
Greg Dunham (5.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg)
Josh Fromel (31.3% 3PT)

Key Returnees
Without Garrett Anderson, the Raiders must also replace senior Greg Dunham – a two-year starter – who is pursuing a baseball career in Buffalo. Coach Cullen points out that with seven lettermen returning the cupboard is far from being bare. “Experience and depth are strong points for us. We should be more skilled with a good shooting and ball handling team that has paid their dues.”

Senior Preston Stitt scored 14 points per game (5.4 apg) as he was a steady shooter from all points on the floor. Stitt made 72.5% of his free throw attempts (37-51), while leading the team in three-point percentage (40.7%, 24-59) and was fourth on the team in field goal shooting (44.4%, 60-135). Robbie Matos averaged 6.0 points and 1.1 steals as a junior. Sophomore Brandon Youngs made the most of his first year on the varsity team after scoring 7.4 points.

“Our concern is our defense and rebounding,” says Cullen. “(We have) more offensive minded players and not much size. We’re working hard to correct that end of things. It should be an exciting year.” Coach Cullen is excited about his coaching staff as four of them have had head coaching stints (T.J. Irons, varsity assistant; Tom Titus, junior varsity; Jeff Fishel, 9th grade; Mark Giesy, 8th grade; Harold McCue, 7th grade).

Mitch Dolak (Sr.)
Robbie Matos (Sr.)
Preston Stitt (Sr.)
Taymer Graham (Jr.)
Brent Nielsen (Jr.)
Anthony Ritter (Jr.)
Daniel Ritter (Jr.)
Mark Vennetti (Jr.)
Hunter Higgins (So.)
Hunter Solvesky (So.)
Brennan Toy (So.)
Brady White (So.)
Spencer Wilson (So.)
Brandon Youngs (So.)
Jaxon Anderson (Fr.)

ITCL Red Tier Outlook
Crestview The Rebels suffered through the first losing season in the ITCL last year (5-9) since 2009-10 (3-11).

East Palestine Here’s a stat that no Bulldog fan would want to see – East Palestine has not had a winning season since 2011-12 (12-10). Will this year be the year that they right the ship?

South Range The Raiders rebounded well from their 2013-14 finish of 4-19 to a team which got to 6 games above the 500 mark (15-9) last winter.

Springfield Coach Eric Fender’s Tigers have won the last four Upper Tier Championships. This year, they’ll look to reload with Graham Mincher returning for his senior season.

United Since the Golden Eagles last winning season (2008-09: 12-9), they’ve tallied a winning percentage of 15.9% and have finished the last four campaigns with 20 losses or more.

2015-16 Schedule
Nov. 27 – at Lowellville, 7:30
Dec. 1 – at Lisbon, 7:15
Dec. 4 – Western Reserve, 7:30
Dec. 8 – Leetonia, 7:30
Dec. 11 – United, 7:30
Dec. 15 – at Columbiana, 7:30
Dec. 18 – Crestview, 7:30
Dec. 22 – Jackson-Milton, 7:30
Jan. 2 – Rootstown, 7:30
Jan. 5 – at Salem, 7:30
Jan. 8 – at Southern, 7:30
Jan. 12 – East Palestine, 7:30
Jan. 15 – at Springfield, 7:30
Jan. 19 – at McDonald, 7:30
Jan. 22 – at United, 7:30
Jan. 26 – Sebring, 7:30
Jan. 29 – at Crestview, 7:30
Feb. 5 – at East Palestine, 6
Feb. 12 – Springfield, 7:30
Feb. 16 – Cardinal Mooney, 7:30
Feb. 19 – LaBrae, 7:30

Post-Season History
State Championships: None
Regional Championships: None
…South Range has won two of their last four sectional championships (2015, 2012) and have won one playoff game in four of the last six years.

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