Struthers looks to duplicate 15-wins with youthful group

The Wildcats, as a team, shot 33% from three-point land.

Struthers Wildcats High School Basketball

2017-18 Struthers Boys’ Basketball Preview
Head Coach: James Franceschelli
Record: 15-8 (8-4), T-3rd place in AAC White Tier

More:High School Basketball previews from other teams

The Good News
The Wildcats return three starters from last year’s 15-win team. Sophomore point guard Carson Ryan (6’5) received an offer over the summer from Youngstown State. Ryan averaged 6.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists as a freshman. Senior center Ryan Leonard (6’5) is also back after scoring 4.5 points and hauling down 5.1 rebounds per game. Junior wing Kevin Traylor shot 69.7% from the foul line (23-33) while scoring 6.1 points. Two other letter winners return – Isaiah Torreance (29.4% 3PT) and Nick Palma – who will see significant minutes this season.

Coach James Franceschelli points out, “for the first time in a long time we believe one of our major strengths will be our depth. We believe that on any given night we will be able to go ten guys deep.”

A couple of names to file away are a pair of freshmen Trey Metzka (Mark Metzka’s son) and Brandon Washington. Both have a much potential and each stand about 6’2.

2017-18 Schedule
Dec. 1 – at Girard, 7
Dec. 5 – at Fitch, 7
Dec. 8 – Hubbard, 7
Dec. 9 – LaBrae (Hope Classic), 6
Dec. 12 – at Jefferson, 7
Dec. 15 – Niles, 7
Dec. 19 – Newton Falls, 7
Dec. 29 – at Lowellville, 7
Jan. 5 – at Poland, 7
Jan. 9 – at Edgewood, 7
Jan. 12 – Lakeview, 7
Jan. 16 – Boardman, 7
Jan. 19 – at Hubbard, 7
Jan. 20 – Western Reserve, 7
Jan. 23 – Jefferson, 7
Jan. 26 – at Niles, 7
Jan. 30 – at East, 7
Feb. 2 – Poland, 7
Feb. 6 – Edgewood, 7
Feb. 9 – at Lakeview, 7
Feb. 13 – Liberty, 7
Feb. 20 – McDonald, 7

Challenges
Struthers will be without their top three scorers from a year ago in Andrew Carbon (15.4 ppg), A.J. Musolino (9.1 ppg) and Jared Jacubec (6.9 ppg). Carbon also led the team in rebounding (6.9), assists (2.2), steals (1.5) and finished second in three-point shooting (35.0%). Musolino closed out last season as the second leading rebounder (5.3) and in the field goal percentage category (50.7%) on the team. Jacubec led Struthers in three-point percentage (36.0%).

Coach Franceschelli is aware of his team’s youth. “We don’t have a lot of guys that have played major varsity minutes in meaningful games. We have three seniors, a junior, four sophomores and two freshman in our top ten varsity guys. A lot of our success will fall on how fast our young guys can grow up and contribute every night at the varsity level.”

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: 102-81 (8 years)
League Championships: 3 (2010, 2011, 2012)
Playoff Record: 10-10
Sectional Championships: 4 (2010, 2011, 2012, 2015)
District Championships: 2 (2011, 2012)

2016-17 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 57.7
Scoring Defense: 53.3
Rebounding: 28.4
Field Goal Percentage: 41.7%
Three-Point Percentage: 32.5%
Free Throw Percentage: 57.1%

2016-17 Results
Salem 64 Wildcats 52*
Wildcats 69 Liberty 52
Wildcats 52 Lakeview 45
Edgewood 81 Wildcats 71*
Poland 63 Wildcats 60
East 64 Wildcats 58
Wildcats 64 Western Reserve 59
Wildcats 64 Niles 57
Jefferson 69 Wildcats 55
Wildcats 67 Lowellville 48
Wildcats 67 Hubbard 55
#10 Boardman 44 Wildcats 37
Lakeview 71 Wildcats 65
Wildcats 55 Edgewood 45
Wildcats 50 Poland 41
Green 71 Wildcats 39
Wildcats 62 Campbell Memorial 42
Wildcats 60 Newton Falls 43
Wildcats 80 Niles 66
Wildcats 74 Jefferson 45
Wildcats 63 Hubbard 53
Wildcats 58 Fitch 55
Wildcats 70 Girard 54
*-Playoff

Key Number
During their 3-year run as All-American champions (2010-12), the Wildcats went 25-1 in league play. Since then (2012-17), the ‘Cats have posted a 15-17 mark in the AAC.

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