Double-double machine DeShields looks to leave mark in Beloit

The Warriors begin play versus Akron North.

West Branch Warriors High School Basketball

2017-18 West Branch Boys’ Basketball Preview
Head Coach: Randy Montgomery
Record: 9-14 (3-11), T-7th in Northeastern Buckeye Conference

More:High School Basketball previews from other teams

The Good News
This will be the last basketball season for the Northeastern Buckeye Conference. Pending on how you look at it, that could be a good thing. Over the last ten years, the Warriors have only won 30 of their last 140 conference games. That’s good enough for a 21.4% winning percentage. However, West Branch appears to be on the verge of breaking out with senior T.J. DeShields, Reese Leone, Brandon Zuchowski and Michael Boosz all returning. DeShields – one of the most versatile players in the area who can play at every position on the court – averaged a double-double (17.6 ppg, 13.2 rpg) last year while shooting 32.4% from beyond the three-point arc (23-71) and 63.6% at the free throw line (103-162). He dished out 2.1 assists and swiped 1.1 steals per game. Leone, the Warriors’ sophomore point guard, led the team in assists (4.0) as a freshman last year. Leone also averaged 6.2 points and grabbed 2.1 rebounds per contest while connecting on 74.6% from the line (44-59). Zuchowski also had a productive 2016-17 season as he scored 8.1 points and hauled down 5.0 rebounds and made a team-best 61.2% from the field (82-134). Boosz – a three-year letter winner – compiled a stat line of 8.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and a three-point percentage of 31.4% (22-70) as a junior. A handful of players who should be on the verge of contributing this upcoming season are senior Kyle Linhart and sophomores Nick Everette and Nick Pidgeon (2.5 ppg).

2017-18 Schedule
Dec. 2 – Akron North, 7:30
Dec. 5 – at Marlington, 7:30
Dec. 9 – Hubbard, 7:30
Dec. 15 – Minerva, 7:30
Dec. 16 – at Ravenna, 7:30
Dec. 22 – at Salem, 7:30
Dec. 29 – Carrollton, 7:30
Dec. 30 – at United, 7:30
Jan. 5 – Canton South, 7:30
Jan. 9 – at Alliance, 7:30
Jan. 12 – Louisville, 7:30
Jan. 15 – Fairmont Classic (vs. Bridgeport, WV)
Jan. 19 – Marlington, 7:30
Jan. 23 – at Minerva, 7:30
Jan. 26 – Salem, 7:30
Feb. 2 – at Carrollton, 7:30
Feb. 3 – Kosta Koufas Classic at GlenOak (vs. Wheelersburg)
Feb. 6 – at Canton South, 7:30
Feb. 9 – Alliance, 7:30
Feb. 16 – at Louisville, 7:30
Feb. 17 – Lincoln-West, 7:30
Feb. 20 – at Columbiana, 7:30

Challenges
It’s been 9 seasons since the Warriors finished the season with a winning record (2007-08: 14-10). The graduation of Brett Butcher and Blake Glista will be difficult to replace. Butcher contributed by scoring 10.1 points (2nd on the team), 2.2 assists (2nd on the team), and 4.0 rebounds (3rd on the team). He also attempted 200 shots from the floor (39.0%) and made 61 of 81 free throw shots (75.3%). Glista also put together a strong season by averaging 4.8 points and 1.4 assists in 2016-17. Blake attempted the third most three-pointers (69 attempts, 29.0%) and the fourth most field goals (117 attempts, 36.0%).

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: 36.7% (83-143)
League Championships: None
Playoff Record: 6-10
Sectional Championships: 1 (2008)
District Championships: None

2016-17 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 56.1
Scoring Defense: 58.1
Rebounding: 30.6
Field Goal Percentage: 42.8%
Three-Point Percentage: 28.7%
Free Throw Percentage: 66.3%
Turnovers: 15.0

2016-17 Results
Hubbard 55 Warriors 52*
Garfield 68 Warriors 59 OT
Warriors 62 Field 47
Warriors 69 Canton South 62
Warriors 93 United 77
Alliance 58 Warriors 40
Warriors 58 Marlington 57
Salem 63 Warriors 56
Carrollton 49 Warriors 43
Louisville 56 Warriors 38
Warriors 49 Minerva 43
Warriors 57 Columbiana 39
Canton South 69 Warriors 50
Alliance 62 Warriors 29
Hubbard 63 Warriors 55
Marlington 72 Warriors 56
Salem 66 Warriors 58
Carrollton 51 Warriors 42
Warriors 72 Akron North 62
Warriors 75 Ravenna 37
Louisville 86 Warriors 60
Minerva 54 Warriors 42
Warriors 70 Lincoln West 39
*-Post-season

AP Rankings (Last 10 years)
Rankings Since Jan. 2008: None
Last game vs. Top 10 team: vs. #9 Poland, 76-47, loss on Feb. 26, 2016
Record vs. Top 10 teams since Mar. 2008: 1-6

Key Number
West Branch last won the NBC Championship in 2000.

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