Resurging East basketball program strives for another successful season

East travels to Kenmore-Garfield for the opener.

Youngstown East High School Golden Bears Basketball

2017-18 East Boys’ Basketball Preview
Head Coach: Dennis Simmons
Record: 12-12 (5-7), 4th place in AAC Red Tier

More:High School Basketball previews from other teams

The Good News
The East Golden Bears won their first six games last season. They were involved in many close contests. However, East went 3-9 in games decided by single digits. This year, East returns seniors Larry Ransom, Keshonn Loury and Shannon Dubose. Ransom averaged 5.1 points and led the team in rebounding with a 5.7 average. Ransom also shot a team-high 63.3% from the field (50-79). Loury scored 3.9 points a season ago while also putting together strong percentages from the floor (51.5%), three-point range (38.7%) and from the charity stripe (78.3%). Dubose also gave the Bears (then-Panthers) a strong effort as he scored 3.3 points, dished out 2.0 assists and made 34 of 63 baskets from the floor to give him a 54.0% field goal percentage. Coach Dennis Simmons will be counting on returning starter Terrell Engles as well as Timothy Williams, Dontraile Price, Dejon Rogers, Elmer Averez and Kemondre Muhammed. Coach Simmons points to his team’s experience, depth, speed and athleticism as all strengths of his 2017-18 group.

2017-18 Schedule
Dec. 1 – at Kenmore-Garfield, 7
Dec. 5 – at Hubbard, 7
Dec. 8 – at Fitch, 7
Dec. 12 – at Howland, 7
Dec. 15 – Harding, 7
Dec. 22 – Akron East, 7
Jan. 5 – at Lakeside, 7
Jan. 9 – at Canfield, 7
Jan. 12 – Boardman, 7
Jan. 16 – at Lakeview, 7
Jan. 19 – Fitch, 7
Jan. 23 – Howland, 7
Jan. 26 – at Harding, 7
Jan. 27 – Ursuline, 7:30
Jan. 30 – Struthers, 7
Feb. 2 – Lakeside, 7
Feb. 6 – Canfield, 7
Feb. 9 – at Boardman, 7
Feb. 10 – Lake, 7
Feb. 16 – at Boardman, 7
Feb. 17 – at Hudson, 7:30

Challenges
What a rebirth last year was for the East program. In order to keep it going, East will have to do it without many of their key contributors who have since graduated – Deamonte Pagan (11.0 ppg), Calvaughn Bryant (10.5 ppg), Terrell Weaver (10.0 ppg), Ceandre Backus (7.8 ppg), Vonzell Matlock (6.3 ppg) and Mike Ramey (3.8 ppg). Pagan shot 64.4% from the foul line (56-87) while tacking on 1.9 assists and 2.4 steals per game last winter. Bryant compiled a stat line of 3.6 boards, 1.7 assists, 2.1 steals and a three-point percentage of 65.6% (21-32). Weaver handed out 2.2 assists as he shot 49.7% from the floor (91-183) and 69.3% from the line (61-88). Backus was another senior who contributed across the board with his 4.7 rebounding average to 4.7 assists and 2.1 steals per contest. Matlock made 8 of 19 three-point baskets (42.1%) while grabbing 5.2 caroms. Ramey led the team in steals (2.7) and also shot over 50% from the field (51.9%). “This year,” indicates Simmons of a point of concern,” is our lack of size for a high-level Division I schedule.”

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: 47.9% (104-113)
League Championships: None
Playoff Record: 5-10
Sectional Championships: 2 (2012, 2013)
District Championships: None

2016-17 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 67.5
Scoring Defense: 65.9
Rebounding: 33.0
Field Goal Percentage: 47.8%
Three-Point Percentage: 40.4%
Free Throw Percentage: 62.5%
Turnovers: 9.7

2016-17 Results
Ellet 83 Panthers 68*
Panthers 57 Akron East 38*
Lake 79 Panthers 45
Panthers 71 Garfield 64
Boardman 68 Panthers 62
Canfield 61 Panthers 56
Lakeside 88 Panthers 82
Panthers 64 Struthers 58
Harding 79 Panthers 74
Panthers 91 Howland 72
Panthers 83 Lakeview 69
Ursuline 76 Panthers 74 OT
Akron North 68 Panthers 56
Panthers 70 Fitch 68
Harding 79 Panthers 64
Boardman 60 Panthers 55
Canfield 67 Panthers 62
Farrell 82 Panthers 78 OT
Panthers 73 IDEA Charter 61
Panthers 55 Lakeside 54
Panthers 63 Grove City 40
Panthers 73 Howland 60
Panthers 75 Hubbard 53
Panthers 68 Fitch 54

AP Rankings (Last 10 years)
Last game vs. Top 10 team: vs. #8 Harding, 115-42, loss on Feb. 27, 2016
Record vs. Top 10 teams since Feb. 2009: 0-8

Key Number
East had won a total of 13 games in the previous three seasons (13-51). Just last year, the Bears tallied 12 victories.

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