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Boys Basketball: 2023-24 Southeast Pirates season preview

Boys Basketball: 2023-24 Southeast Pirates season preview


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


Matt Dillon

7th year

(2007-2013; 2023)


   • Coaching Staff: Zeddie Pollock, JV; Doug Craver, assistant; Scott Garrett, middle school; Nick Dillon, middle school.

   • 2022-23 Record: 7-17 overall; 3-7 Portage Trail Conference.

   • Returning Lettermen (1): Garrett Sprutte, sr.

   • Lettermen Lost (6): Evan Riffle, Carson Dunn, Michael Phillips, Matt Donovan, Brady Corley, Ian Carter.


Matt Dillon returns to lead the Pirates for his second stint.

Dillon, who had been coaching within the program most recently at the middle-school level, was the varsity head coach from 2007-2013.

He was the head coach in 2011-12, when the Pirates won their last league championship.

Now, he takes over in the program’s final season as a league member of the PTC.

Dillon is focused on returning the Pirates back to the consistent title contender they once were.

“The players are doing a really good job on building an atmosphere that creates enthusiasm and excitement,” Dillon said.

Offensively, Dillon has leaned on JV coach Zeddie Pollock to help establish a philosophy for the team’s style of play.

“The players are listening and working to improve. As the season progresses, we should be able to see improvement on shot selection. In order for us to have success, though, we need to improve defensively.”


Sprutte, the team’s only returning lettermen, emerged as one of the most prolific players in the area last season. He led all players in Portage County in scoring at 21.3 points per game. He connected on a county-leading 171 field goals and 99 free throws.

He delivered more than just scoring, though, for the Pirates. He also led the county with 11.5 rebounds per game.

“He has been a great leader. His work ethic is tremendous.”

As for the rest of the backcourt, there are minutes to be earned and Dillon is watching to see who can claim them.

“As we go through preseason, we will see who can play at the varsity level.”

In the mix are Zach Keto, Logan West, Caden Bryner, Cohen Richardson, Carter Precurato and Braeden Walden.

“Keto is a player we are counting on to improve. West will help us if he improves on defense. Bryner has shown flashes of helping the program. Richardson is young, while Walden and Procurator are players that keep improving each and every day.

“Right now, we are not tough enough at the guard position and that must improve.”


Case Myers, Austin Mejia and Joe Sharish will be the key components to the frontcourt, but lack experience.

“They are picking up things well. The kids are very receptive to what the coaches are teaching them. Now, it comes down to doing it correctly every day.”

Nathanael Rivera and Ethan Shodd are two young players that will get varsity minutes as well this season.


Colton Bradfield, a junior, has good size, but has not played since middle school.

He will need some time to adjust to varsity action.


“We have a lot of underclassmen that we are counting on over the next four years. Unfortunately, this season, we will need some of those young kids to play varsity, even though they aren’t completely ready. It isn’t fair to them, but playing sports is supposed to help kids and coaches become better men and help them deal with adversity.”


“Obviously, when a new coaching staff is in place, there are some growing pains. The kids have adjusted well. The coaching staff put some expectations in place and so far, the kids have responded well.

“We have some younger kids that have some talent, but they are young and inexperienced. There is a fine line between getting freshmen some varsity time to help them gain experience, while not overwhelming them. The coaching staff will be walking that line all season.”


“There will not be one easy game for us. We are looking forward to competing every night.”

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