2009-2010 SVC Preview  *  Boys Basketball  *  Southeastern High School
A Two-Headed Monster
Zane Trace and Piketon seem to be â
€œteams to beatâ€� in the SVC
In Friday’s preview at Southeastern, the main storyline for
me was the youth and the rebuilding of so many programs. After
a very strong year in the SVC in 2008-2009 – a year in which
the SVC had five teams reach double figures in wins, put three
teams in the district finals, and had one reach the Final Four, I
feel this year’s league will provide fans a different extreme. I
can’t remember a time in recent years where so many teams
were entering a year with so many question marks.

The two teams that have more answers than most are the Zane
Trace Pioneers and the Piketon Redstreaks. I feel these two
squads are by far the most complete teams. Both teams have
great guard play, great depth, and a great deal of experience. For
Zane Trace, Kirk Maxwell and Gabe Haynes lead a group that
returns seven key contributors off of last year’s district
runner-up team. Maxwell is a tough match-up because of his
versatility. The senior can shoot the three, but really does his
biggest damage with his midrange game. His ball handling, his
quickness, and his strength allow him to create space as well as
draw contact which gives him a chance to get to the line where he
shoots a high percentage. Haynes, also a senior, can shoot the
three, but is probably more dangerous when slashing to the goal.
Haynes also has the ability to be a lockdown defender.

As for Piketon, the Redstreaks are led by arguable the leagueâ
€™s most complete player in Evan Legg. Legg can obviously
handle the point guard duties, but with the emergence of some
other guards in the Piketon program, I think Legg is going to start
to score the basketball more during his junior season. Piketon also
has two of the league’s best athletes in 6’6� Caleb
Southworth and 6’6� Keenan Brush. This pair gives the
perimeter guys the luxury of overplaying, because the length of
Southworth and Brush will cleanup most mistakes.

If I had to pick between these two, I would probably give a slight
advantage to Zane Trace. Piketon graduated two 1,000-point
scorers from last year’s team, and I question where their
offense will come from particularly when a team forces them to
play in a half court game.

In game one Friday night, I thought Westfall looked like a team
that could compete for the third spot. The Mustangs have a
senior-loaded roster that consists of incredible size and
athleticism. Players like Zak Smith, Codey Musselman, and Clint
Boring all waited their turn last season behind a very talented
senior group, and now hope to help Westfall stay towards the
top of the SVC.

Westfall’s opponent Friday was Adena – a team that is
going to be extremely young this season. The Warriors have
graduated some really good talent in their last three or four senior
classes, and now look to their sophomore class (seven on this
year’s roster) to help rebuild the program.

The second game saw Zane Trace playing with a split line-up
most of the night. Their opponent, the Huntington Huntsmen,
will be a middle-of-the-pack type of team that could cause certain
teams some problems. Huntington has a trio of senior guards
(Kyle Deal, Cole Addy, and Clint Turner) that do have some
varsity experience, but the biggest question will be - can they
carry more responsibility this season? For example, I think a
player like Deal is going to have to assert himself far more on the
offensive end. Deal has always been a solid guard who plays hard
and handles the ball, but he is not playing with the same type of
players. I feel Deal’s ability to create his own shots as well
as easy looks for his teammates will be a big key for Huntington
this season.

In the third game, Piketon – just like ZT in game two – had a
roster full of athletes that they were able to run out there in just
about whatever combination they wanted to use. This made life
tough on Unioto, but I did see an improvement in Unioto from a
year ago. Unioto returns a lot of kids who now have a year of
varsity basketball under their belt. You combine this with the
league not being nearly as deep as it was a year ago, and I believe
the purple and gold have the ability to compete for a top half
spot. The Shermans have six players on their rosters that stand 6-
3 or taller, but Unioto’s guard play will once again determine
the success of this year’s team.

In the nightcap, Southeastern got an explosive offensive
performance from sophomore Michael Brown. If this type of
offensive output is something Brown can consistently give,
Southeastern could be a team that could make some noise in the
bottom half of the league. I say this because Tyler Osborne and
Chris Hahn both look to be solid retuning pieces to the
Southeastern puzzle, and all they need is some young perimeter
kids to step up and provide some offensive help.

Southeastern’s opponent in the night’s final game was
Paint Valley. The Bearcats have some nice athletes on the
perimeter. This will be an interesting group to follow this year
because PV has eight juniors and two sophomores on their 11-
man roster, so they will basically have the same team coming
back in 2010-2011.

I guess after the Zane Trace/Piketon battle the top question will
be which teams can find their identities the quickest. As I said
earlier, there are so many teams looking to rebuild this season a
team with average talent that can gel early could conceivably win
a lot of games this season. Another positive for SVC fans could
be some competitive games. After the top two teams, anybody
can beat anybody.
www.svcsportszone.com
By Shayne Combs, SVCsportszone.com