Knights headed in the right direction


TONTOGANY — Otsego boys basketball is getting better every year under coach Steve Carroll’s tenure.

In his first two years at the helm, Carroll’s Otsego teams were a combined 10-33, but last year the Knights finished 9-13 overall and 7-7 in the Northern Buckeye Conference.

If Otsego improved by eight more victories this season, that would put the Knights at 17 wins, possibly enough to make a statement in the NBC.

“We have a lot of court experience, are very unselfish and our guys are extremely coachable,” Carroll said. “We have some very good shooters, move the ball well, and our biggest strength is how hard our kids will play.

“We need to keep working on handling full court pressure, keep working on scoring consistency, and foul shooting,” Carroll continued.

“This is a really fun group of guys to coach. They play extremely hard, they are unselfish and very coachable. We have a hungry locker room and our guys have shown they will show up and play hard every night.”

This year, Carroll has eight returning lettermen, including 5-foot-9 senior guard Owen Weaver, 6-1 senior wing Owen Atkinson, 5-9 senior guard Cohen Feehan, 6-3 senior wing Jack Simpson and 6-2 senior wing Drew Gase.

“We are expecting to compete for a league championship if we can stay healthy, stay focused and keep improving,” Carroll said.

“Owen Weaver is one of the best returning players in the area,” Carroll continued. “Owen Atkinson is one of the hardest working players I have coached. If we can stay healthy and focused, and keep improving, we will be competing for a championship.

“The NBC is very strong this year, more balanced than in years past. There are some really good coaches in this league. There won’t be any easy games this year.”

Simpson is Otsego’s leading returnign scorer, averaging 14 points and seven rebounds, and Carroll says he is a “strong inside player.”

Weaver, who averaged 13 points and five assists, has “great court vision, is a relentless defender and a great shooter.”

Atkinson is a “great all-around player” and the team’s best defender and rebounder, says Carroll. The coach refers to Feehan as the “perfect teammate” and “court commander”, adding that Feehan is an “unselfish, smart player.” Gase has “smart, excellent court sense.”

Carroll says Weaver, Feehan and Kaiden Hutton will command the backcourt.

“All can pressure the ball, execute on offense and distribute the ball,” Carroll said.

Atkinson, Gase, Tanner Balusik, and Carter Lampe will be the Knights’ top forwards because “all rebound well and play great defense,” says Carroll.

Carroll adds, “We put our focus on playing team basketball. We will adjust our plans according to our opponents. We focus on rebounding, taking care of the ball, and playing hard.”

Carroll says you can add to the mix sophomore Devin Silva.

“He has been a nice surprise,” Carroll said. “He will see a lot of action. He is a natural scorer and great shooter.”

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