Freshman b-ball recreating recent success

A comparison of Elder’s 2015-2016 Freshman team and the record-setting 2012-2013 Freshman team

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As we return from Christmas break, Elder’s Freshman Basketball team is currently sporting an 11-0 record. Coincidentally, Elder’s 2012-2013 Freshman team sported that same undefeated record after the break.

When the 2012-2013 team went undefeated, they did so winning games by an average of 23.7 points per game (PPG). Some of the star players on that team are currently starring on varsity. This was their starting lineup:

Point Guard: Joey Sabato

Shooting Guard: Frankie Hofmeyer

Small Forward: Nick Hall

Power Forward: Peyton Ramsey

Center: Brannen Martin

That starting five could do it all–they were so good that their fast break offense alone was good enough to win them games. Sabato, Hofmeyer, Hall, and Ramsey all currently play major roles on varsity. Although Martin decided to focus on football instead, the family name still lives on thanks to sophomore sensation Bryce “Man-Bun” Martin.

Elder's 2012-2013 Freshman Team against LaSalle.
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Elder’s 2012-2013 Freshman team against LaSalle.

And it wasn’t just a good starting lineup that won these guys games. Ready to back up the starters were current varsity players Nate Roell and David Heisel.

When asked about what it was like to be a part of the undefeated team, Senior Justin Ward said “I can’t even put it in words, just an unreal experience. (It was the) First time in like 40 years that an Elder freshman team went undefeated.”

I recently asked senior guard Peyton Ramsey about his thoughts on this year’s Freshman team, and he responded saying, “They’re a good squad, BUT the 2012-2013 team would run circles around them.”

It remains to be seen whether or not this freshman team will be able go the distance, but they sure look talented enough. Here’s their starting lineup:

Point Guard: Jake O’Brien

Shooting Guard: Aidan Byrne

Small Forward: Will Austing

Power Forward: Michael Bittner

Center: Jack Wertz

So far this season, the freshman team has shown how versatile they really are. According to his teammates, small forward Will Austing is probably the most versatile player on the team. When asked about what Will brings to the table, backup guard Eric Beck said, “You know, a lot of our guys can do a lot of different things for this team, but Will can probably do the most. He always hustles and never gives up on a play.”

They’re a good squad, BUT the 2012-2013 team would run circles around them.”

— Peyton Ramsey '16

One of the things that makes this team so versatile on offense is its ability to move the ball and shoot the 3-ball. It’s rare that all five players in a starting lineup, and even some guys of the bench, can pose a legitimate threat from outside. When asked who the deadliest shooter on the team is, center Jack Wertz replied, “Danny Ginn. No doubt about. Dude makes a living out behind the arc.”

Forward Danny Ginn sets up from three
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Forward Danny Ginn sets up from three

This year’s freshman team also plays some really good defense. Through 11 games of play, the team has held their opponents to an average of 20.2 PPG, while also holding two teams (Purcell Marian & Aiken) to seven points each. They’ve got a Sabato-esque defender at point guard in Jake O’Brien, and behind him is another top-notch defender in guard Eric Beck. In the middle, they’ve got a physical forward in Michael Bittner and a 6′-5″ rim protector in Jack Wertz. At backup center is 6′-3″ Anthony Holmes, a proud St. Antoninus Jaguar and a talented defender in the post.

Center Jack Wertz (#41) goes for the stuff against Northwest
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Center Jack Wertz (#41) goes for the stuff against Northwest

This early in the season, it would be crazy to say this team is anywhere near as good as the 2012-2013 team. However, the upcoming GCL schedule and the Oak Hills game will determine how good these young Panthers really are. Let’s see if these guys can win by a margin greater than the 2012-2013 team’s margin against Oak Hills (55 points). If that happens, then maybe, just maybe, these guys will be in the discussion.