A duplication of Northview's run through the Northern Lakes League last season would be perfect for the Wildcats this season.
Another 14-0 record in NLL competition would give Northview a third straight league championship.
While there's no guarantee the Wildcats can mimic last season's perfect league performance, they're still considered the favorites.
“Northview is going to be right up there with all those returning players on the team,” Bowling Green coach Mike Vannett said.
A total of seven lettermen return from a Northview team that finished with only four defeats. Three of the returnees started last season.
A tall and talented bunch at Maumee could challenge Northview.
“Northview, having won back-to-back titles, has to be the frontrunner,” Maumee coach Jim Robinson said. “Three or four others, including us, will try to drop them out of there.”
Bowling Green, Anthony Wayne and Perrysburg are also expected to be improved.
Springfield, Southview and Rossford are also looking at a more competitive campaign this season.
Rossford coach Del Clayton, whose team finished 1-13 in league play last season, believes no team will be taken lightly this season.
“I think the league will be very competitive again,” Clayton said.
Here's a look at the teams listed in the predicted order of finish:
COACH: Dennis Shoemaker, seventh year
LAST SEASON: 18-4 overall, 14-0 NLL
OUTLOOK: With many of the prominent players back from last season's team that finished undefeated in league play, the Wildcats are clear favorites to win again. Seven lettermen return from last season's squad, including three starters.
They have enough size to match up against any team in the league. They have enough experience to deal with the pressure of playing through the season as the favorites.
Top returnees include seniors Steve Horner (6-6, F-C), Kevin Croke (5-8, G), Charles Wynn (5-11, F) and Ryan Vinciguerra (6-5, F-C).
Horner was the Wildcats' leading scorer last season, averaging just over 17 points a game. Wynn averaged 10 points last season.
COACH: Jim Robinson, 17th year
LAST SEASON: 13-9, 9-5
OUTLOOK: The Panthers have the potential, with size and talent, to make the NLL race interesting.
Top returnees include seniors Sean Dewitte (6-6, F-C), Chris Solarz (6-6, F-C), Kevin O'Shea (6-4, F) and Eric Chapman (6-2, G).
O'Shea, who averaged 10 points and seven rebounds last season, is out indefinitely with a broken right ankle suffered during the football season.
His return is considered critical.
COACH: Mike Vannett, 11th year
LAST SEASON: 11-11, 8-8
OUTLOOK: Vannett considers this group, which includes four sophomores, the “hardest working“ bunch he's ever been involved with in 19 years of coaching.
Nevertheless, the veteran coach said he knows it may take time before the Bobcats come together as a solidified unit.
“I'm hoping some people will overlook us,'' Vannett said. “Hopefully all that (hard work) will pay off.''
Top returnees include seniors Andy Rappold (6-3, F), Kalin Holland (6-6, F-C) and Tyler Meyer (6-0, F), and sophomore Chris Hanna (6-3, F).
Rappold, who is the only returning starter from last season, leads a team Vannett believes will be more balanced on offense than last season. Rappold averaged seven points a game last season.
COACH: Matt Hutchinson, first year
LAST SEASON: 5-16, 3-11
OUTLOOK: A new era commences for the Generals under a new coach bringing in a new system.
Hutchinson takes over a veteran group that returns three starters from a team that never found its rhythm a season ago. Good size and quickness, along with experience, should make them more challenging to the rest of the league this season.
“We intend on being very competitive in the NLL,'' Hutchinson said.
Top returnees include seniors Tyler Saneholtz (6-2, F), Keith Mikes (6-1, G) and Taylor Jaskolski (6-2, G), and junior Jeff Telmanik (5-10, G).
Telmanik, who averaged 12 points last season, returns as the Generals' leading scoring threat.
COACH: Dave Boyce, first year
LAST SEASON: 11-10, 10-4
OUTLOOK: A veteran group should get off to a better start than a year ago when the Yellow Jackets went 1-6 during their non-league schedule.
Top returnees include seniors Tony Ottomanelli (5-8, G) and Burke Badenhop (6-5, F), and junior Brad Borough (5-8, G).
COACH: Tim Reiser, 15th year
LAST SEASON: 9-11, 6-8
OUTLOOK: The Blue Devils played close to .500 all last season.
Playing .500 basketball this year may be an even tougher task after losing nearly half of last year's team to graduation, including sharpshooter Jon Keller (21 ppg).
Furthermore, the Blue Devils enter the season with their tallest player measuring only 6-1.
Top returnees include seniors Jason Nichols (6-1, F) and Tony Seasly (6-0, F), juniors Matt Hall (6-0, G) and Matt Kelly (6-0, G), and sophomore Marquis Hayes (5-8, G).
COACH: Marc Jump, eighth year
LAST SEASON: 9-12, 6-8
OUTLOOK: Losing several players to graduation, including Tony D'Amico (15 ppg), can't help the Cougars' cause this season.
With only one starter back from a sub-.500 season, the Cougars find themselves in a rebuilding scenario.
Top returnees include seniors Marcus Carr (5-10, G) and Matt Rheinecker (5-11, Sr.), and juniors Blake Gillespie (5-11, G) and Nate Smith (6-2, F).
COACH: Del Clayton, second year
LAST SEASON: 3-18, 1-13
OUTLOOK: Even after winning only one game in league competition a year ago, the Bulldogs are thinking positive about this season.
With 10 returning lettermen, Clayton believes they can turn things around.
“I see ourselves competing for one of those top four (spots) in the league,” Clayton said.
Top returnees include seniors Matt Kovach (5-10, G), Josh Halada (6-2, G-F), Steve Barta (6-6, C) and Jimmy Ogdahl (5-10, G).
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