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Stephens takes over Beallsville boys squad

• Blue Devils have just 10 players on the roster

December 2, 2013
By RICK THORP - Times Leader Sports Writer ( , Times Leader

Jordan Stephens might be young. But he's wise beyond his years as far as basketball is concerned.

So, when the Switzerland of Ohio School District had an opening to fill at Beallsville High School for its' head boys' basketball coach, it was a no-brainer to bring in Stephens.

"It was something I'd always wanted to do," he said. "I didn't think it would come this soon. I simply wanted to step up and there for the boys and be the head coach."

Article Photos

PICTURED IS the 2013-14 Beallsville boys basketball team. Front row, from left, are managers Spencer Jarrett and Jaren Friday. Second row, from left, are Mikey Palmer, Garrett Brown, Logan Nippert, Dalton Secrest, Kolton Rush and Chad Louden. Back row, from left, are assistant coach Justin Friday, Chase Mercer, Tristan Palmer, head coach Jordan Stephens, Dawson Weekley, Cole Susac and coach Rick Jarrett.

The opportunity to fill the top role arose when last season's coach, Casey Tolzda, accepted the principal's position at Powhatan Elementary School.

Stephens served as Tolzda's junior varsity coach last season. So, it seemed natural for Stephens to rise to the position of head coach.

Despite only being 22, Stephens brings plenty of hoops expertise to the table. Not only was he a standout during his prep days, he did so in Monroe County at Monroe Central. Also, his uncle is Jeff Stephens, a veteran coach. His dad also had a sports mindset, especially when it came to basketball.

"I followed them always with this idea I would become a coach," said Stephens, a 2009 Monroe Central graduate who is in his second year of teaching in the district.

Not only has Stephens replaced Tolzda as head boys hoops, he's also taken on the role of athletic director. With the Beallsville football team qualifying for the Ohio Division VII, Region 25 playoffs, the transition into basketball has been a bit challenging.

"It's a little bit more demanding being the head coach as opposed to the junior varsity coach," Stephens said. "Things such as getting the roster set up, setting up team photos, etc.

"There's a lot more to do, but I'm ready for the challenge and I'm excited to be here."

Stephens was handed the reins of the program in June, just in time for the start of summer workouts. Other than having most of his players take part in an event in Marietta, Stephens said the timing of hire limited much of what his squad could do.

However, he believes his players know what to expect out of him.

"I just want the team to work as hard as possible as it can at all times," he said. "That in itself will help us win games.

"As far as offense, I like to run, but that will depend on the type of team I have. But, if you work hard and hustle, you'll be successful."

The varsity roster includes 10 players, includes four returning letterwinners and seven players that were on the squad last season. Lost to graduation were Teryn Jarrett, Kyle Groves and Kage Rush.

"I know we only have 10 players and, hopefully, I'll be able to play all 10," Stephens said. "That would certainly help us stay fresh.

"But, I want everyone to understand their role and be willing to accept it, embrace it and go with it."

Leading the way for the Blue Devils will be seniors Dalton Secrest and Logan Nippert.

"Dalton (6-2) is an athletic big man and has good hands, quick feet and with a year of experience under his belt we're looking for him to be a force under the basket and in the paint."

As for Nippert (5-10), Stephens sees him as a point guard.

"He's quick," he said. "He'll be looked at to run the team from that spot.

"Dalton and Logan are embracing the leadership role and are wanting to be team leaders."

Tristan Palmer, a 6-4 junior, also figures heavily into Stephens' plans.

"He's a big, physical post player," he said. "He has a nice touch from the outside and is a good free-throw shooter."

At 5-10, Chase Mercer brings speed to the lineup.

"He's the team's best defender," Stephens stated. "Even though he's only a sophomore we're looking at him to be a scorer and a defender. We're asking him to do a lot."

Junior Chad Louden (5-10) will compete for playing time, along with sophomores Cole Susac (5-11) and Dawson Weekley (5-9).

One of the newcomers is a veteran with the football team - junior Mikey Palmer (5-9).

"He's one of the more athletic kids we have," Stephens said. "We hope his success on the football field will transfer over to the basketball court."

Freshmen hoping to make a dent in the lineup are Garrett Brown (5-9) and Kolton Rush (5-8).

Stephens is assisted by Rick Jarrett and Justin Friday. Jarrett moved over to the boys' program after guiding the girls' squad the past few years.



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