Traditional power McDonald prepares for another deep run

McDonald begins play at Maplewood.

McDonald Blue Devils High School Basketball - McDonald, OH.

2017-18 McDonald Boys’ Basketball Preview
Head Coach: Jeff Rasile
Record: 25-2 (10-0), 1st place in ITCL Blue Tier

More:High School Basketball previews from other teams

The Good News
The Blue Devils’ top two scorers return in sophomore Zach Rasile and senior Braedon Poole. Rasile made more three-pointers last season (140) than anyone has ever made in the history of OHSAA basketball in a single season. Rasile finished this past winter by averaging 20.3 points, dishing out 3.4 assists, connecting on 45.2% from long range and 83.1% from the foul line (49-59). All of this was done as a freshman. Poole returns after averaging 17.8 points, 6.8 boards and 2.4 steals as a junior. Poole also made 59.0% of his shots from the floor (184-312), 36.4% from three-point land (12-33) and 69.7% from the charity stripe (83-119). Junior Josh Celli also will be back after putting together a strong sophomore campaign where he scored 3.1 points, hauled down 3.9 rebounds, stole 2 balls from opposing players per game and shot 57.6% from the field (34-59). Also returning are senior letter winners – Rico Rodriguez and Matthew Beedle.

Coach Jeff Rasile tackles two key strengths – tradition and continuity – for his team’s success. “Probably our biggest advantage over most teams is that our players have grown up in a program that has been fortunate to win a lot of games and play in a lot of big games. Our teams and players expect to win and typically work hard to continue that success. Our players have run the same system since middle school and have all had success within this system over the course of their careers.”

2017-18 Schedule
Dec. 1 – at Maplewood, 7
Dec. 5 – Girard, 7
Dec. 12 – at Waterloo, 7
Dec. 15 – Springfield, 7
Dec. 16 – Hoops with a Heart Classic (Lake Center Christian), 7:30
Dec. 19 – at Jackson-Milton, 7
Dec. 22 – at Mineral Ridge, 7
Dec. 29 – at Niles, 7
Jan. 2 – South Range, 7
Jan. 5 – Sebring, 7
Jan. 9 – Western Reserve, 7
Jan. 12 – at Lowellville, 7
Jan. 16 – Waterloo, 7
Jan. 19 – at Springfield, 7
Jan. 23 – Jackson-Milton, 7
Jan. 26 – Mineral Ridge, 7
Jan. 30 – at Sebring, 7
Feb. 2 – at Western Reserve, 7
Feb. 6 – Lowellville, 7
Feb. 9 – at Columbiana, 7
Feb. 16 – Champion, 7
Feb. 20 – at Struthers, 7

Challenges
A core group of last season’s successful campaign has since graduated. Joey Ragazzine (15.3 ppg), Dylan Portolese (14.4 ppg), Evan Magill (9.2 ppg) and Caleb Emerson (7.4 ppg) have all graduated. Ragazzine led the team in free throw percentage (86.0%) while he finished second on three-point shooting (37.8%). Portolese accumulated top honors for field goal percentage (60.3%) while compiling a stat line of 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.9 steals per game. Magill shattered the single season assist record (197) at McDonald while also garnering the most assists in a single game (17). Evan led the team in rebounding (8.6), assists (7.3) and steals (2.9). Emerson was a key contributor as well as he connected on 44 of 125 three-point attempts (35.2%) and closed out the season with a 1.7 steal per game average. Coach Rasile points to lack of experienced depth as being a concern entering the 2017-18 season. “Several players, without much varsity experience, are going to have to step up if we are going to compete for league and district championships this year.”

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: 85.3% (209-36)
League Championships: 8 (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Playoff Record: 29-10
Sectional Championships: 10 (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
District Championships: 5 (2008, 2010, 2011, 2016, 2017)

2016-17 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 89.0
Scoring Defense: 58.8
Rebounding: 34.4
Field Goal Percentage: 50.8%
Three-Point Percentage: 39.5%
Free Throw Percentage: 71.3%
Turnovers: 14.4

2016-17 Results
Warren JFK 72 #1 Blue Devils 60*
#1 Blue Devils 96 Southern 50*
#1 Blue Devils 82 Sebring 60*
#1 Blue Devils 86 Heritage Christian 61*
#1 Blue Devils 106 Heartland Christian 15*
#1 Blue Devils 92 Sebring 54
#1 Blue Devils 78 Springfield 68
#2 Blue Devils 96 Western Reserve 80
#2 Blue Devils 94 Jackson-Milton 67
#2 Blue Devils 131 Rams 65
#2 Blue Devils 90 Lisbon 71
#3 Blue Devils 81 Lowellville 35
#3 Blue Devils 91 East Palestine 69
#1 Blue Devils 74 Sebring 51
South Range 73 #1 Blue Devils 66 OT
#2 Blue Devils 87 Western Reserve 80 OT
#2 Blue Devils 77 Girard 72
Blue Devils 89 Wellsville 80
Blue Devils 72 Jackson-Milton 58
Blue Devils 90 Southern 54
Blue Devils 82 Niles 58
Blue Devils 77 Leetonia 46
Blue Devils 111 Rams 60
Blue Devils 105 Crestview 43
Blue Devils 75 Lowellville 48
Blue Devils 123 Columbiana 45
Blue Devils 92 United 60
*-Playoff

AP Rankings (Last 10 years)
Last Top 10 ranking: #1 on Feb. 20, 2017 in D4
Rankings Since Jan. 2008: 15
Last game vs. Top 10 team: vs. #6 Springfield, 70-56, loss on Feb. 17, 2015
Record vs. Top 10 teams since Mar. 2010: 2-3

Key Number
McDonald has won 21-plus games in seven of the last nine years.

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