2016-17 East Palestine Boys’ Basketball Preview

East Palestine opens with a home matchup with Leetonia.

East Palestine Bulldogs high school basketball

2016-17 East Palestine Boys’ Basketball Preview
Head Coach: L.J. Sutton, 1st season
2015-16 Record: 4-18 (2-6), 4th place in ITCL Red

More:High School Basketball previews from other teams

Revisiting ITCL History
League Championships: 4 (2006-07, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11)
Total League Record: 83-49 (62.9%)
Winning Seasons in League Play: 7 (2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13)
Best League Record: 14-0 (2009-10)
Worst League Record: 3-11 (2013-14)
First-Team All-League Selections: 10 (2006-07: Dan Hanolt, Jake Harvey; 2007-08: Ben Gysin; 2008-09: Ben Gysin, Austin Cope; 2009-10: Ben Gysin, Austin Cope, 2010-11: Adam Robb, Brett Foreman, Corey Wright; 2011-12: Jake DiCello; 2012-13: Austin Reiser; 2015-16: Brandon Kemp)
***Austin Cope and Ben Gysin are two of 18 players who were selected to the First-Team All-ITCL multiple times.
**Ben Gysin is one of 6 players who was selected to the First-Team All-ITCL three times (Lisbon’s Austin Rutecki and Josh Liberati; Springfield’s Graham Mincher and Mark Schuler; Wellsville’s Michael Johnston)
*East Palestine had 3 players selected to the First-Team in 2010-11 (Adam Robb, Brett Foreman, Corey Wright). That was the second most in any season in ITCL history (Lisbon’s 2015-16 team had 4).

2015-16 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 50.6
Scoring Defense: 69.5

2015-16 Results
St. Thomas Aquinas 89 Bulldogs 45*
Wellsville 81 Bulldogs 54
South Range 80 Bulldogs 30
Bulldogs 68 Crestview 58
United 71 Bulldogs 52
McDonald 108 Bulldogs 68
Springfield 80 Bulldogs 54
Salem 86 Bulldogs 43
Bulldogs 52 Lordstown 42
South Range 60 Bulldogs 36
Bulldogs 73 Crestview 59
Southern 72 Bulldogs 56
Sebring 63 Bulldogs 46
Columbiana 64 Bulldogs 41
Lowellville 68 Bulldogs 52
United 71 Bulldogs 50
Western Reserve 63 Bulldogs 38
Springfield 55 Bulldogs 43
Bulldogs 66 Jackson-Milton 33
Lisbon 93 Bulldogs 50
Mineral Ridge 64 Bulldogs 48
Leetonia 69 Bulldogs 49
*-Post-Season

2016-17 Schedule
Dec. 2 – Leetonia, 7:30
Dec. 6 – at Mineral Ridge, 7:30
Dec. 9 – Lisbon, 7:30
Dec. 13 – at Jackson-Milton, 7:30
Dec. 16 – Springfield, 7:30
Dec. 20 – Western Reserve, 7:30
Dec. 23 – United, 7:30
Dec. 27 – at East Liverpool
Dec. 30 – at Columbiana, 7:30
Jan. 3 – Sebring, 7:30
Jan. 6 – at Crestview, 7:30
Jan. 10 – at Southern, 7:30
Jan. 13 – South Range, 7:30
Jan. 17 – at Salem, 7:30
Jan. 24 – McDonald, 7:30
Jan. 27 – at Springfield, 7:30
Jan. 28 – at Heartland Christian, 7:30
Feb. 3 – at United, 7:30
Feb. 7 – Crestview, 7:30
Feb. 10 – at South Range, 7:30
Feb. 14 – at Lowellville, 7:30
Feb. 21 – Wellsville, 7:30

Key Returnees
In his first-season as the head coach LJ Sutton will be counting on a number of multi-sport athletes. “Most of my players play football but I plan on (having) ten players to contribute and I expect them to compete in every game for every possession. My seniors are who I’ll be counting on for leadership.”

Outlook
It wasn’t long ago that the Bulldogs ruled the Upper Tier of the ITCL. Within a five-year period (2006-11), East Palestine won four outright Division Championships (2006-07, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11). They won 77 division games (77-22; 77.6%) within the first seven-years of the ITCL. Over the last three, the Bulldogs have won just 9 division games compared to 27 losses (25.0%). This off-season, former head coach Sean McKeown accepted an assistant position at Boca Rotan High School in Florida. His former assistant, L.J. Sutton (a standout at Mooney and Walsh) was promoted in June to take McKeown’s place as the leader of the program.

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