Lentz becomes Elmwood’s all-time leading scorer


By Nicholas Huenefeld

Special to the Sentinel-Tribune

BLOOMDALE — The Elmwood boys basketball team has enjoyed its first year in the Blanchard Valley Conference in a season highlighted so far by Kade Lentz becoming the program’s all-time leading career scorer.

Lentz, who enters postseason play with 1,466 career points, is averaging 20.4 points, seven rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game while shooting .518 from the field for the Royals (6-16, 4-4 BVC). He leads the team in every category except assists and blocks per game.

“Being around Kade, a four-year starter for us, and seeing him achieve a milestone that nobody’s ever done in Elmwood basketball history has been something that’s been pretty neat to watch,” Elmwood coach Ty Traxler said. “Kade’s a competitor, and he’ll be someone who’s remembered in our program for a long time.”

Lentz and the Royals have enjoyed the transition from the Northern Buckeye Conference to the BVC this year, Traxler said.

“We’ve enjoyed the move. It’s different. Instead of being the southernmost school in the conference like we were in the NBC, now we’re the northernmost school. I think the people in the southern part of the district probably like that.”

Aside from geography, Elmwood enjoys the fit size-wise.

“There’s a lot of very similar schools to us,” Traxler said. “The NBC kind of outgrew us a little bit, and we really love the atmosphere of the Friday night single-round games (in the BVC). There’s nine schools in our league right now, and there’s going to be 11 next year.”

The BVC also doesn’t play a league game the last week of the regular season, so the Royals will be able to continue their rivalry with Eastwood in its place.

“That’s how we’re going to do it,” Traxler said. “We came to an agreement with Eastwood that this will be our Tuesday closer every year for the foreseeable future. It’s going to continue to be a great rivalry, and the kids really get up for the game.”

One reason there isn’t a league game the final week is that the BVC is one of the leagues where each team only plays each other once per year, which has also allowed Elmwood to strengthen their non-league slate.

“I like that. That’s how I grew up in the NWC (Northwest Conference),” Traxler said. “A lot of really good leagues in the state do that. In Northwest Ohio, the WBL, the NWOAL, the MAC. I mean, all those you only play one time, and I really think it gets you ready for the tournament.

“Every game you play in the league is like a tournament game. You’re only seeing them once, and you have to beat them if you want a shot for the league championship. We were middle of the pack in the league (fifth place), but it still didn’t matter if we were playing the last place team. It was an amped up, almost tournament-like environment.”

As far as his team this year, Traxler said outside of Lentz, his team is very young with three of the team’s top five scorers being underclassmen.

“We’ve gained a ton of experience for our guys that are coming back next year. Getting them experience has definitely been important.”

Outside of Lentz, who has accounted for 43.6 percent of his team’s non-free throw points, the team has been strengthened by Owen Traxler, a freshman point guard who is second on the team in scoring with 7.3 per contest while dishing out a team-high 3.8 assists.

Elmwood will also return sophomore wing Evan Barringer and junior wing Zach Gross, who are fourth and fifth on the team in scoring with 3.8 and 3.6 points per game, respectively.

The Royals opened postseason play on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at Van Buren, a team they lost to in overtime in the regular season.

“We lost by three, had a shot to tie at the end, and didn’t get it,” Ty Traxler said. “But we’re confident we can go to Van Buren and try to get a win there. I feel like we are battle tested. We haven’t pulled out a lot of these close games we’ve been in, but we’ve lost three or four one-possession games against solid teams.”

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