Experience is a key component to being successful in anything.
The Bridgeport boys basketball team has a wealth of experience coming back from last season's squad.
Leading that group are 6-1 senior center Bailey Sieber and 6-0 senior center Zach Herink, along with juniors 6-1 QJ Williams, 5-10 J.C. Cash, 5-8 guard Bailey McGrath, 6-6 center Parker Dyson, 5-9 guard Koty Seevers and 6-1 forward Robert Teeman.
T-L Photo/KIM NORTH
PICTURED IS the 20-13-14 Bridgeport boys basketball team. Front row, from left, are: Zach Herink, Bailey Sieber, Rodrigo Doiztua and manager Quinton Burlenski. Second row, from left, are: manager Lucas Pomaranski, Mike Pyatt, Koty Seevers, Bailey McGrath, Marc perrelli and Tyler Darrah. Head coach Donnie Cash, assistant coach Greg Harkness, J.C. Cash, Q.J. Williams, Robert Teeman, Parker Dyson, Leroy Touvill, Jayquan Ice, manager Sabin Ward, assistant coach Rick Yourkovich.
Lettermen lost to graduation include Jonathon Kreiter, Aaron Roth and Dallas Fields.
"Most of these guys have been around the program since their freshman year," veteran head coach Donnie Cash said. "The junior class has gained an enormous amount of experience the last two years, along with a pair of seniors that will be seeking playing time.
"So far I like the way the preseason practices have gone. The attitude and work ethic have been great," he added. "I have liked what I have seen in our scrimmages, but there is always room for improvement. We want to be better today than yesterday. We are working really hard and the players are excited for the upcoming season."
While Cash is excited about the experience he has coming back, his biggest concern is the depth that his team will possess.
"Our biggest weakness will be our depth. We will play seven or eight guys this season, but we will need to develop some guards off the bench. We've got a couple guys in mind, but they will have to gain confidence. The coaches have to see improvements in those players. We can't get into major foul trouble so we've been stressing to the guards to play without fouling in practices and scrimmages.
"Last year, we had a lot of unknowns coming into the season. We are in better shape this season, but we haven't played a real game yet," he said. "We just need to stay focused and get better every day."
The 6-1 Williams, who can play both guard and forward, will be counted on for a lot of the scoring and defense, but he is coming off an ankle injury he sustained in the first game of the football season. He just recently had the walking boot removed.
"Q.J. was our leading scorer last season and best defender," Cash said. "He is coming off a football injury and we are trying to ease him back into things. He will be fine when he gets healthy. He had a good summer and put in a lot of work to get stronger."
He averaged 15 points and seven rebounds a game.
J.C. Cash, the coach's nephew, McGrath and Seevers give the Bulldogs three fairly quick guards in the backcourt.
"J.C. has the potential to have a big year for us. He gained some valuable experience towards the end of last yeat," his head coach said. "He is very quick and he can shoot it. He will handle the point some for us this season, and is also one of our better defenders.
"Bailey is our best shooter on the team. He has shown improvements throughout the preseason," the coach added.
"Bailey is a two-year letterwinner and we expect to see improvement and leadership out of him this season.
"Koty will handle the point guard position for us this season. He is working hard to improve his jump shot," Coach cash said. "We need him to be one of our better defenders, as well. We need that coach on the floor and we are trying to get Koty to take that role over."
Bridgeport seems to be pretty solid in the frontcourt with Dyson, Teeman, Sieber and Herink.
"Parker has been the most consistent for us in the preseason. He has a year under his belt after starting his entire sophomore campaign," Cash added. "He played in the fall league and has been working hard in the weight room. I think Parker can have a big year for us, especially around the rim.
"Robert gained valuable experience off the bench with us during his sophomore season. He will step into the starting role this year," Cash said. "He has worked hard in the summer and fall to improve his game. His skills provide a versatile role inside in the post or outside on the perimeter.
"Bailey (Sieber) is a hard-working kid. He will be the big guy off the bench. He knows his role and plays it well," Cash allowed. "He is a team player who will do anything for the team. He, alongside Parker and Robert provide an interchangeable trio.
"Zach is the ultimate team player. He doesn't miss a practice/open gym/ work out," Cash praised. "He has earned one of the two captain spots with Siebs for the upcoming season. He is working hard to earn some playing time. He can play inside and outside for us this season."
Senior foreign exchange students include 5-8 Benjamin Behnke and 5-9 Robert Doiztua.
The Bulldogs schedule will be exactly as it was a year ago.
The JV squad will be comprised of juniors Mike Pyatt and Leroy Touville; and sophomores Jayquan Ice, Tyler Darrah, Marc Perelli and Dillon Bennett
Aiding Cash are Greg Harkness, varsity assistant, Rick Yourkovich, junior varsity, Jeff Herink, 8th grade, and Mike Muklewicz, 7th grade.