With Claussell & O’Hara back, Girard seeks to achieve more

The Indians begin play against Struthers.

Girard Indians High School Basketball

2017-18 Girard Boys’ Basketball Preview
Head Coach: Craig Hannon
Record: 13-11 (9-3), 2nd place AAC Blue

More:High School Basketball previews from other teams

The Good News
Girard wasn’t taking the easy road to 13-wins by any means. The Indians played a regular season schedule which featured Struthers, South Range, Mooney, McDonald, Poland, Jefferson and Springfield all within their out-of-conference slate. Girard weathered the storm and finished second in the Blue Tier with a 9-3 mark. The Indians’ greatest win may have been the Sectional Final victory over Canfield in overtime (71-63).

The Indians return a pair of double-digit scorers who are back for their junior seasons in Austin Claussell and Austin O’Hara. Claussell averaged 14.8 points and 2.2 assists as a sophomore. He also pumped in 38.1% of his three-point shots (24-63) while making 67.4% of his attempts at the foul line (93-138). O’Hara was equally important to Girard’s run as he compiled a stat line of 12.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and a team-leading 2.3 assists to go along with 2.1 steals per game. O’Hara also connected on 28.9% of his three-pointers (13-45) and 70.5% of his free throws (93-132). Anthony Backus and Mark Waid will be back in the mix as well. Backus, a senior, scored 7.2 points and dished out 2.3 assists and hauled down 4.1 boards. Waid led the team in rebounding (5.6) and averaged 6.0 points per contest while tallying a field goal percentage of 57.4% (54-94). The Indians also will welcome back a pair of letter winners in senior David Blackmon and junior Adam Connelly.

“This group gained a great deal of experience last season having to play the bulk of the minutes as sophomores,” indicates coach Craig Hannon. “The familiarity with each other and within our system should greatly benefit us as the season progresses.”

2017-18 Schedule
Dec. 1 – Struthers, 7
Dec. 5 – at McDonald, 7
Dec. 8 – at Campbell Memorial, 7
Dec. 9 – at Poland (United Way Classic)
Dec. 12 – Newton Falls, 7
Dec. 15 – Jefferson, 7
Dec. 19 – at LaBrae, 7
Dec. 22 – Niles, 7
Dec. 29 – at Lakeview, 7
Dec. 30 – Lakeside, 7
Jan. 5 – Brookfield, 7
Jan. 9 – at Liberty, 7
Jan. 12 – at Champion, 7
Jan. 16 – Hubbard, 7
Jan. 19 – Campbell Memorial, 7
Jan. 23 – at Newton Falls, 7
Jan. 30 – LaBrae, 7
Feb. 2 -at Brookfield, 7
Feb. 6 – Liberty, 7
Feb. 9 – Champion, 7
Feb. 13 – at Howland, 7
Feb. 20 – Springfield, 7

Challenges
Girard began the 2016-17 season with just one win in their first six contests. Anthony Graziano was a big part of the turnaround. He averaged 13.2 points and 1.7 assists during his senior year. Graziano will be a piece which coach Hannon will miss. He shot an astounding 84.0% from the charity stripe last winter (63-75).

Hannon points out, “Due to a few injuries, our depth isn’t quite where we need it to be. We hope to get healthy as the season moves along. We also will need to make up for our lack of size with effort and hard work.”

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: 49.3% (112-115)
League Championships: 2 (2014, 2015)
Playoff Record: 9-10
Sectional Championships: 3 (2014, 15, 17)
District Championships: None

2016-17 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 57.5
Scoring Defense: 58.1
Rebounding: 23.3
Field Goal Percentage: 42.6%
Three-Point Percentage: 27.3%
Free Throw Percentage: 68.1%
Turnovers: 13.4

2016-17 Results
Ursuline 62 Indians 53*
Indians 71 Canfield 63 OT*
Indians 59 Springfield 50
Jefferson 85 Indians 71
Indians 66 Champion 59
Indians 63 Liberty 57
Indians 55 Brookfield 44
#2 LaBrae 77 Indians 61
Indians 58 Newton Falls 50
Poland 65 Indians 40
Indians 50 Hubbard 48
Indians 58 Campbell Memorial 42
#2 McDonald 77 Indians 72
Indians 76 Champion 68
Indians 68 Liberty 58
Lakeview 66 Indians 51
Indians 54 Brookfield 31
Indians 51 Niles 48
LaBrae 66 Indians 52
Mooney 50 Indians 49
Newton Falls 56 Indians 49
South Range 62 Indians 35
Indians 59 Campbell Memorial 45
Struthers 70 Indians 54
*-Playoff

AP Rankings (Last 10 years)
Last game vs. Top 10 team: vs. #2 LaBrae, 77-61, loss on January 31, 2017
Record vs. Top 10 teams since Jan. 2012: 0-5

Key Number
The Indians have had a winning season in each of the last five years.

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