A year ago, an extremely young Beth-Center boys basketball team grew through experience.
Second-year head coach Bill Greco, who held 52 activities this offseason for the players, now hopes the experience will help his team heading into this season.
“Last year, a lot of younger guys got valuable experience, especially going on the road to a couple of really tough venues,” he said. “We return four guys that started a majority of our games last year and hopefully the lessons they learned last year will translate to success this year.”
The quartet is led by JJ Green, a 6-foot guard who enters his fourth year as a starter and was an All-Section pick a year ago.
The other returning starters include 6-2 Jacob Bobbs, a junior forward entering his third year as a starter, 5-11 Andrew Bower, a junior guard entering his second year in the lineup and 5-11 sophomore guard Easton McDaniel, who is also entering his second year as a starter.
The fifth starter is 6-5 sophomore forward Cameron Palmer, who started a handful of games toward the end of last year.
“He really came on towards the end of the year,” Greco said of Palmer.
Greco expects key reserves to be 6-foot junior guard Nick Martin, 6-1 junior forward Leonard Johns, 5-9 junior guard Chris Cramer, 5-11 sophomore wing Jacob Sinclair, 5-11 sophomore forward Ryan Ross, who will return from a soccer injury shortly, and a pair of freshmen in 5-9 guard Chase Malanosky and 5-5 point guard Kolby Kuhns.
Greco did not hesitate when asked about expectations.
“We expect to work hard and improve,” he said, adding, “We want to be competitive in every game and to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs.”
What will be the keys to a successful season?
“The players will be expected to perform at a high level as they will be held accountable for playing our intended style of fast-paced, yet fundamental basketball,” Greco said. “We must remain healthy since our bench players have limited varsity experience, and we must minimize turnovers if we have any chance of being successful.
“Live ball turnovers killed us last year.”
The Bulldogs are in Section 4-AAA with Brownsville, Charleroi, Frazier, McGuffey, Southmoreland and Washington.
Beth-Center travels to the California Trojan Tip-Off Tournament on Dec. 7 when it plays the host squad.