Area cagers lead Cavaliers into statewide tourneys
Experience is a key to success — the young and inexperienced Western Basin Toledo Cavaliers AAU basketball team found this out in almost every tournament this summer.
Coach Arnie Sutter’s team, despite having players from Genoa, Gibsonburg, Cardinal Stritch Catholic, Woodmore, and Oak Harbor, could get to the winner's bracket but could not do the little things to bring home the hardware.
The success of the last two years (33-3 in 2011 and 18-12 in 2012) gave very little experience to almost a completely new starting five and only one varsity experienced player for the 2013 Cavaliers.
“We had a pretty good start in two big statewide tourneys in Columbus,” Sutter said. “We combined the experience of our only varsity player, Aaron Arnold from Elmwood. Aaron's father played for me back in the 1980s and was a key factor in the Royals winning 18 games that year.
Jordan Brennan (Genoa), Austin Pratt (Stritch), Jamal White (Genoa), and Ben and Bo Shaw from Clyde rounded out our starting five for those two trips to Columbus.
“Three of last years’ starters who we had hoped to play with us decided to focus on baseball, football, and had family issues to keep them for contributing to our experience — which, by the way, is a key to most AAU programs. Most AAU teams have been together for at least four years,” Sutter said.
“We did have some fine young players in our ‘second line’ — I like to borrow a hockey term for players off the bench. Jake Lewandowski, our best free throw shooter, and Sean Mullin, our most improved player, will be leading the Woodmore Wildcats and providing (Coach) Brad Sander with leadership this year.”
“Derek Angelone (Gibsonburg) has been playing baseball and giving us some fine leadership when he can. Ed Uher (Stritch) and Alec Young (Oak Harbor) are promising young junior varsity players who contributed valuable time, especially in our run for the Gold at the Perrysburg tourney, which we made the winner's bracket semifinals,” Sutter continued.
“We enjoyed some fine ‘to be frosh’ guards from Sandusky (Cavon Groom and Telon Johnson), Jordan Bekier, and Bryce Pratt from Lake. We added some valuable experience, Jordan Faykosh, from Eastwood, when a few of our very ‘outspoken parents’ decided to end their son's growth as an AAU player.
“Our 9-14 record was not the greatest. We had plenty of fun enjoying the hot tubs and swimming pools in Mansfield and in Columbus. I appreciated all the help driving the players to our tourney sites.”
Sutter had the aid of Coach Richard Honner, his former coach at Genoa High School, as an assistant.
“His quality experience and great human relations coordinating did a lot to have ‘fun’ this season,” Sutter said. “He loves basketball and really genuinely loves kids. His years coaching in the Army, GHS, Owens Community College, and Start High School are a classic example of his love of basketball.
“Coach Honner and I want to wish the best of luck to all players this year in their respective efforts to contribute to their high school teams’ success. We hope we have given them something to take for their growth as a student-athlete. ‘Do not let anyone out work you — because the harder you work the luckier you will get.’”
“I also want to thank Coach Honner for keeping us all loose and connected with all the fans before, during, and after the games.”
Sutter also thanked Sanders, Eastwood coach Matt Routson, Dylan Berger at the Eastern YMCA, where the team held ‘Beef It Shooting’ clinics throughout the year sponsored by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Genoa Christian Community Academy for their effort securing a practice location.
Registration is now open for fall men’s and coed softball leagues sponsored by the City of Toledo Division of Parks, Recreation & Forestry. Registration will run through Sept. 6. A fee of $150 per team must be paid at registration. The season will begin Sept. 16 and run seven weeks plus a midseason tournament. Men’s teams play at 6:15 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Coed teams play at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and at 4:30 p.m. on Sundays. All games will be played at the Scott Park Softball Complex. Call 419-936-2844. To register, please file all paperwork and fees at the athletics office located at 2201 Ottawa Parkway, Toledo.
Western Basin Toledo Cavaliers AAU basketball coach Arnie Sutter. (Press file photo by John Pollock/www.pollock.smugmug.com)