CLAYTON — Last season the Northmont boys varsity basketball team posted a respectable 12-10 overall and 6-4 conference record before falling to Bellefontaine by one point, 46-45, in sectional tournament play.
This year the Thunderbolts will have an experienced team featuring eight seniors, five juniors and one sophomore.
Two of the seniors, Arius Spears and Christian Wilson, are fourth year varsity players and will be the two players the team looks to for leadership.
Another senior, Rodney Richardson, came off the bench last year and got plenty of playing time. He earned Special Mention on the Central Division Team of the Greater Western Ohio Conference.
Vinson Walker, a 6-foot, 5-inch senior forward, was injured part of last season but plenty of floor time. DaLonte Capers, also a 6-foot, 5-inch senior forward and Tyree Trammell, a 6-foot, 2-inch senior forward both played some junior varsity as well as varsity. A transfer from Dunbar, Maurice Beavers, a 6-foot, 4-inch senior forward should bring a physical presence inside the paint. Anthony Dorsey, a 6-foot, 4-inch senior forward rounds out the senior class.
Junior Jabari Perkins, a 6-foot, 1-inch guard, got quite a bit of playing time last year as a sophomore. Other juniors include Kameron Mathis, a 6-foot, 1-inch forward, Cameron Rucker, a 6-foot guard, Donavin Wallace, a 5-foot, 8-inch guard, and Jamaal Linson, a 6-foot, 2-inch guard.
Danny Lewis, a 6-foot sophomore guard rounds out the lineup.
Unlike last year’s team that relied heavily on Jarell Taylor and Jason Biggs to provide most of its scoring, this year’s team should feature a more diverse attack.
“Statistically you are kind of expecting Richardson, Wilson, Spears and Walker to be the scoring leaders, but I think the nice thing about this team is that on any given night we could be led in scoring by five or six different players,” said Northmont Coach Collin Abels. “It’s not a team like last year Taylor and Biggs kind of had to shoulder the load scoring wise. This year we feel like we’ve got six or seven guys that could lead us in scoring on any night. Last year it was nice knowing you had two guys that could get you quite a few points, but this year having more players that can score makes us more difficult to scout.”
This year the Thunderbolts have been moved from the old Central Division to the new National West division along with Lebanon, Miamisburg and Springboro. Abels feels the new division is a good fit as Northmont is now matched with three other schools with similar enrollment.
“There are some things I like about it and some things that I don’t,” Abels said. “Obviously, those decisions get made by people that are a lot smarter than me. The nice thing is, in terms of enrollment we match up better with those schools. We went from being the biggest fish in the pond when we played in the Western Division with Troy, Piqua, Sidney, Butler and Trotwood and then we went to being the smallest in terms of enrollment when we moved to the Central Division, so now we match up better enrollment wise. It’s the league we are in. Traveling to Lebanon on a Tuesday night is not exactly fun, but it is what it is.”
Northmont will still have crossover games with its former rivals like Centerville, Springfield, Wayne and others.
“Our schedule is as good as anybody’s around between our crossover games and this year we were invited to play in a holiday tournament in Jefferson City, Missouri,” he added. “Our schedule is definitely competitive and obviously we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Northmont tips off the season Friday, December 2 at home against Greenville.