By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
15th year at Mogadore (35th overall)
238-108 at Mogadore (460-309 career record)
Coaching Staff: Rod Swartz, junior varsity and varsity assistant; Anthony Ricci, varsity assistant; Nate Robinson, varsity assistant; Jeff Fankhouser, eighth grade; Tom Pollock, seventh grade.
2021-22 Record: 17-7 overall; 7-3 Portage Trail Conference; league co-champions.
Returning Lettermen (7): Mason Williams, sr.; Nick Coffman, sr.; Dillon Pendergast, sr.; Trevor Davis, sr.; Corey Lehner, jr.; Lucas Butler, jr.; Layne Miller, jr.
Lettermen Lost (3): Mason Murphy, Aiden Hiney, Gavin Schrock.
Swartz’s recognizable motion offense has found success for more than three decades across multiple programs and with rosters of varying personnel.
The loss of All-PTC post player Mason Murphy and point guard Aiden Hiney would impact any team and it will for the Wildcats as well, but Swartz’s teams rarely have to rebuild because of the style of play and culture.
“If we continue to play within our system and remain unselfish, we can have a successful season,” Swartz said. “We need to continue to put an emphasis on team play and team success.”
To get there, the Wildcats welcome back a core group of seniors, but will also introduce some new faces to the varsity rotation.
The backcourt group is an experienced one for the Wildcats.
“They understand their roles and what our expectations are for them,” Swartz said.
Miller, a 5-10 junior, is the top returning scorer to the group after averaging 11.8 points per game last year. He also buried 69 3-pointers as one of the top sharpshooters in the league, hitting at a 41-percent rate from deep.
Coffman, a 5-10 senior, also averaged double-digits in scoring last year at 10.0 per game.
Pendergast is another senior that saw quality minutes a year ago and is coming off another sensational All-Ohio golf season in the fall, so he is used to pressure situations and is a smart player.
Lucas Butler and Corey Lehner, along with Pendergast, can all rotate between the point guard and off-guard positions.
Senior Mason Williams headlines the frontcourt. He is a four-year varsity and two-time First Team All-PTC player, and he averaged 14.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last year.
At 6-foot-4, he is on pace to score over 1,000 points for his career and pull down more than 700 rebounds.
Another returning letterman is senior Trevor Davis, while junior Devin Graham and sophomore Nick Stephenson (6-foot-3) “are two athletic players that will be counted on,” according to Swartz.
“Past success mixed in with promising underclassmen,” Swartz said.k “Expectations are always high at Mogadore because of our past success.”
Layne Miller, jr.; Lucas Butler, jr.; Devin Graham, jr.; Corey Lehner, jr.; Nick Stephenson, soph.
“As always, getting a later start than most teams because of our success in the football playoffs,” Swartz said.
“The league is very strong,” Swartz said. “(Warren) JFK, St. Thomas and Southeast all return many good players and will be in the running for the league championship.”
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