Beachwood returns three starters from the squad that finished 17-8 with a share of the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division title.
The Bison have several other key pieces back and they’re hoping to win the league title outright followed by a long postseason run this winter.
“We have a good amount of experience coming back from last year’s team and added some great help,” said second-year Beachwood coach Jon Mannarino. “We expect for our program to compete at a high level and be ready for the tournament with a loaded regular season schedule.”
Beachwood has some added incentive this winter now that Villa Angela-St. Joseph and Warrensville Heights both moved up to Divison II.
The Bison lost to Warrensville Heights in a Division III district semifinal in 2014 and the Vikings ended Beachwood’s season in the district tournament in each of the past three seasons.
“To be successful, we have to compete at a high level every game,” Mannarino said. “We have to improve every game, and by the end of the season, if we are ready to compete for a district title, regional title, and state title, then the season has been successful.”
Junior combo guard Jayson Woodrich returns after averaging 16 points and 8 rebounds per game on his way to earning first team All-CVC honors.
“Jayson has improved from just being an outstanding shooter and is now a complete player,” Mannarino said. “Sky is the limit for his potential.”
Adding to the Beachwood attack is senior guard Josh Sizemore, who averaged 10 points, 6.5 assists and 2 steals per contest last year. He was named second team All-CVC.
“Josh is a lighting quick guard with incredible playmaking abilities,” Mannarino said. “He is poised for a strong senior season.”
Seniors Cam Thomas and Michael Gordon and junior Allon Hardin round out the Bison projected starting lineup.
Thomas, a guard, averaged 7 points and 4 assists per game while Gordon, a combo guard, dropped 7 points and pulled down 10 rebounds per contest. Both were named honorable mention All-CVC.
“Cam has taken the offseason and improved in every facet of the game. He has really taken his game to another level and is poised for a strong senior season,” Mannarino said. “Michael Gordon is a guy who does everything necessary to help our team win games.”
Hardin, a forward, averaged 2 points, 4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.
“Allon has emerged as an elite defensive player and has made huge strides in his development this offseason,” Mannarino said.
Seniors Lance Cohen, Ben Connor, Errick Sanders and E.J. Atkins, junior Jimmie Mitchell, sophomore Noah Patrick and freshmen Collin Albert and Sirr Hughes also will contribute for the Bison.
Beachwood’s game plan remains the same.
“Our team’s strength is speed, shooting and depth,” Mannarino said. “We are maximizing our strengths by putting our players in the best situations to utilize their skill sets.”