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Published: Thursday, 11/30/2000

Cardinal Stritch biggest threat to Danbury's reign

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Removing Danbury from its comfortable perch atop the Toledo Area Athletic Conference will require some serious doing this season.

With 10 lettermen, the defending champions may actually be a more difficult team to deal with than last year when they dropped only two of 10 conference contests.

However, Cardinal Stritch, returns a much taller lineup and nearly as much experience.

Emmanuel Baptist, runner-up a year ago, could also challenge with plenty of size and experience.

Toledo Christian and Ottawa Hills could become competitive down the stretch.

Maumee Valley Country Day's Terry Boehm, who averaged 23 points and eight rebounds last season, must receive more support for the Hawks to become contenders.

Here's a look at the teams listed in the predicted order of finish:

DANBURY

COACH: Brian Vorst, third year

LAST SEASON: 14-6 overall, 8-2 TAAC

OUTLOOK: The Lakers enter the season as one of the most experienced teams in the league. Although the roster includes only four seniors, 10 of the players are lettermen.

Top returnees include seniors Derek Ensign (6-5, F), Ben Gdovicak (5-7, G), Jeff Biro (6-2, G) and Zak Kenne (6-2, F).

CARDINAL STRITCH

COACH: Greg Christian, third year

LAST SEASON: 9-12, 5-5

OUTLOOK: The Cardinals boast ample depth and size to present matchup problems. The six returning lettermen stand 6-1 or taller.

Top returnees include Ryan Sheehy (6-7, C), Aaron Mochon (6-4, F), Brad Gasser (6-3, F), Kevin Spetz (6-1, G) and Brandon Toler (6-1, G).

Sheehy and Mochon, returning starters, accounted for a combined 17 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last season.

EMMANUEL BAPTIST

COACH: Dave Regnier, 17th year

LAST SEASON: 10-12, 6-4

OUTLOOK: The Warriors have enough size and quickness to make a serious push toward the top of the TAAC.

Five players are 6-0 or taller on a team that includes two seniors.

Top returnees include seniors Clint Bernhard (6-2, F) and Drew Flamm (6-0, G), junior Darryl Lothery (6-0, G) and sophomores Lance Bernhard (6-4, F) and Steve Morris (5-9, G).

TOLEDO CHRISTIAN

COACH: Ron Rightnowar, 4th year

LAST SEASON: 8-14, 5-5

OUTLOOK: Experience will prove vital in the Eagles' quest to contend for the TAAC championship. Four starters return from last season's team.

Top returnees include seniors Jason Schaff (6-4, F), Sunny Oshodin (6-1, G), Tony Gidiella (6-2, F) and Mark Collins (6-5, C)

OTTAWA HILLS

COACH: John Lindsay, sixth year

LAST SEASON: 6-15, 5-5

OUTLOOK: Lack of size may prove to be the Green Bears' nemesis. Only one of three returning starters from last season stands taller than 5-11.

Top returnees include senior Kevin Crooks (5-11, G) and juniors Austin Irving (5-10, G) and Dan Jamieson (6-3, C).

NORTHWOOD

COACH: Brad Morrison, first year

LAST SEASON: 4-17, 3-15

OUTLOOK: The Rangers struggled a year ago, but expect to play more competitively under their new coach.

They hope a change in offensive and defensive philosophies - zone and full-court pressure defenses - will help turn things around. Top returnees include seniors Ben Brown (6-3, F), Rob Gladieux (5-9, G) and Adam Jardy (6-1, F), and juniors Eric Greer (6-6, C) and Jonas Medrano (5-4, G).

MAUMEE VALLEY COUNTRY DAY

COACH: John Hodak, fourth year

LAST SEASON: 5-16, 2-8

OUTLOOK: Improving upon last season seems possible for a team that will lean on its senior class.

Terry Boehm returns as the top scoring threat in the league. He also averaged six assists and five steals a contest as a junior.

Top returnees include seniors Boehm (6-0, G), Ted Twyman (6-1, F), Vinay Gupta (5-11, G-F) and Adam Hodak (6-3, F).



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