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Joining us this morning on “Sports Saturday” are high school boys’ basketball coaches Scott Hamilton of Lexington, Jeff Winslow of Upper Sandusky, Chris Sheldon of Western Reserve and Mark Alberts Jr. of Northwestern.  Our own Roy Shoulders with his thoughts on Mansfield St. Peter’s.  Plus, our regular guests Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports on the Browns and Kevin Noon, publisher of buckeyegrove.com, on Ohio State.  The show runs from 10 AM to 1 PM on www.swankonsports.com

 
 

 

Upper Sandusky Boys' Basketball Schedule

(24-0,16-0)

#2 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll, large school division

 

 

 

12/2

Upper Sandusky

69

@ Willard

50

12/3

New Riegel

48

@ Upper Sandusky

57

12/8

Upper Sandusky

67

@ Galion

41

12/10

Shelby

65

@ Upper Sandusky

74

12/16

Carey

48

@ Upper Sandusky

61

12/17

Upper Sandusky

67

@ Ridgedale

42

12/20

Upper Sandusky

71

@ Buckeye Central

37

12/23

Seneca East

56

@ Upper Sandusky

84

12/27

Upper Sandusky

73

@ Bellevue

30

12/30

Bucyrus

39

@ Upper Sandusky

83

1/6

Upper Sandusky

61

@ Mohawk

38

1/7

Wynford

35

@ Upper Sandusky

81

1/14

Upper Sandusky

82

@ Colonel Crawford

54

1/21

Upper Sandusky

85

@ Carey

56

1/26

Tiffin Columbian

65

@ Upper Sandusky

74

1/28

Ridgedale

28

@ Upper Sandusky

69

2/3

Buckeye Central

54

@ Upper Sandusky

61

2/4

Upper Sandusky

59

@ Seneca East

51

2/7

Upper Sandusky

83

@ Bucyrus

45

2/11

Mohawk

44

@ Upper Sandusky

80

2/17

Upper Sandusky

96

@ Wynford

56

2/24

Colonel Crawford

36

@ Upper Sandusky

63

3/3

Upper Sandusky

68

Kenton

67

3/8

Upper Sandusky

42

Wapakoneta

39

3/11

Upper Sandusky

 

Elida

 

 

 

Half Court Execution Big For Upper

    

          Unbeaten Upper Sandusky takes on Wapakoneta in the division two district semis at Ohio Northern University on Wednesday night.

          The Rams (23-0) got past Kenton (68-67) last Friday, while Wapakoneta (21-2) edged Defiance (44-42) in overtime.

          Upper coach Jeff Winslow says the Redskins are a heck of a lot like them.  “When you win 21 games you are pretty darn good.  They are guard oriented.  They get up and pressure you.  They run and trap quite a bit, full court or half court.  They really like to create their offense with their defense.  They shoot a lot of threes.  I remember the very first time I saw them I felt like I was watching us play.  They do a lot of the same things we do, especially defensively and shooting the ball.  It will be two good basketball teams.  I think it should be a fun one.  A fast paced game with a lot of action.  I think all of the kids on the court can shoot it and take people off the dribble.  I should be a good for fans to watch anyway,” said Winslow.

          It might sound strange until you think about it, but Winslow says with both teams being so good in transition in might just come down to half court execution.  “Both of us are going to be comfortable with the style of play and it is going to come down to execution and who shoots a little bit better in their half court offense.  Both teams good in scoring in transition and both teams are good in taking that away, so we are going to have to execute in our half court offense.  It is going to be who gets the most stops in the half court.  We are both going to do our thing in the full court wise and in the half court who is going to buckle down during big times and get a stop and get the big rebounds.  It is kind of funny as full court as both teams are and it is going to come down to who does the right things in the half court,” he said.

          This could be another mail bitter for the Rams and Winslow is pleased he has Wes Vent on his team when it comes down to those final seconds when the game in on the line.  “They have won 21 games and a lot of them were close down the stretch, a couple of them overtime wins, so they know what they are doing late in games.  We got a taste of that last week and we are comfortable with that as well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “The one thing that makes me comfortable in a close game late is I just believe we have the best player on the floor in Wes Vent.  When we need a bucket we give him the basketball and he is a pretty good option to go to.  I think that is one place we do have an advantage.”

 

Published 3/08/17

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Upper Sandusky Takes on Kenton

  

          Unbeaten Upper Sandusky, the Northern 10 Athletic Conference champ, faces Kenton, out of the Western Buckeye League, in a division two sectional final game at Lima Senior High School o Friday night.

          The Rams (22-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, own a 46 game regular season winning streak.

          They beat Colonel Crawford (63-36) in their last regular season game last Friday.

          Coach Jeff Winslow says they aren’t peaking yet, but they’re close.  “I feel like we are bringing a lot of momentum.  We had some changes in our lineup and we kind went through a couple game lulls where we weren’t playing as good, but we righted the ship and we seem to be getting better every day.  Every game we have played the last four or five games we have gotten better and I think we are heading into the tournament in the right direction.  I don’t think we have quite peaked yet.  I think we have some improvement to go and our kids are excited to get after it,” he said.

          Kenton (14-9) beat Lima Shawnee (71-61) on Tuesday to advance.

          Winslow says they are a physical team.  “They are a good ball club.  They have good size.  They are physical, like typical Kenton teams are.  They rebound the ball really well.  They have these two twin brothers that are really good.  Thomas Phillips goes inside and outside.  He is a real tough match-up.  His brother the wing (Hunter Phillips) is a 6’3” kid that gets the ball to the rack well and is super athletic.  Those two are handful.  They have a sophomore point guard that can really shoot it and seems to run the show pretty well,” he said.

          Like most games involving Upper Sandusky this is going to be a tempo game.  Winslow says they want to force the Wildcats to play faster.  “They want to come down and set up shop and run some offense and we don’t like to do that, so it is going to be interesting to see who wins that battle.  We want to get out and make them play fast and see if their roster can take that and negate their size and rebounding ability a little bit,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They are a solid team.  They are not like the Kenton teams of the recent past.  They have had a really nice season and finished the season strong.  They have won five of their last seven games.  Those really good teams out of the “WBL” in our district they either beat or gave them really good games.  It is going to be a stiff test for us.  We are going to have to earn that sectional title.”

Kenton lost to the top seed in the district Ottawa-Glandorf (71-64) and lost to the number three seed Wapakoneta (66-63) in overtime.

          Winslow says they are going to have to handle the physicality of the game.  He expects a slow whistle.  “We are going to have to really work to keep the ball out of the paint and really work to win the battle of the glass.  These guys are very competitive.  I mean they come to play and they are going to get after us.  I think it is going to be a competitive ballgame.  We don’t see a lot of schools like this very often.  It is a little bit more physical game.  I think the referees that way that ref that league let them play a little more then maybe around here.  We have been trying to work on that in practice.  It should be a little different than what people have seen,” he said.

 

Published 3/02/17

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Upper Knows the Assignment

  

          In one of the more intriguing match-ups in any division in the girls’ tournament on Saturday night has Northern 10 Athletic Conference champion Upper Sandusky against the Norwalk Lady Truckers. In a division two game at Monroeville High School.

          Norwalk (18-5) blasted Clear Fork (69-26) in an opening round game on Wednesday night.

          It is not very often you get a game this good this soon in the tournament.  Teams than have combined to win 39 games usually play in a district final.  Upper Sandusky coach Brent Fahle says this is a very deep district this year.  “I think there are five or six teams that have 16, 17 wins or more.  I think it is probably the hardest division two district I know in this area, maybe in the state.  There are good teams and we are going to have to be ready to go because it is one and done.  We are preparing like crazy and hopefully we will get that “W” on Saturday night,” he said.

          Upper’s only loss this year came earlier in the month to “NOL” co-champ Shelby (64-62) and they would likely play Shelby again next week if they can get by Norwalk.

          The Lady Truckers are paced by district player of the year Jiselle Thomas, who averages more than 24 points a game.  Fahle says they just hope to contain her.  “I don’t think you are going to stop a player like that.  She is a great player no question about it.  Player of the Year for the district six coaches association was well deserved,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “You don’t want her to go off for 40 or 30 or try to do that.  She is a great player and we obviously have our hands full Saturday night with her and the Lady Truckers, I think everybody knows that.”

          Upper Sandusky (21-1), #3 final Swankonsports.com girls’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, has three players on the all-district team.  Abigail Fogle, a 20 PPG scorer, is on the first team, Sierra Carey on the second team and Megan Hensel was honorable mention.

          When it comes to Thomas, Fahle says she is going to get her points, they just have to make it hard on her.  “She is going to get her points.  Great players do that.  We are going to have to defend a lot of other people.  We are going to have to box out and rebound.  They play great defense too.  We obviously have our hands full no question about it.  We will be ready to go, we will be prepared and we will play hard,” he said.

          Finally, Fahle says they must make Thomas work on the defensive end to guard them as well.  “I think we do some good things on offense.  I think we have made a lot of teams defend us this year and we are going to try and do some of that on Saturday.  I think she is a well conditioned kid as well and she is able to play the full game both defensively and offensively.  It is going to a tough test, no question about it.  It is going to be a battle of what I consider two heavyweights and we will see what we can do,” said Fahle.

 

Published 2/24/17

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Upper Wants to go Undefeated

  

          Upper Sandusky is now outright Northern 10 Athletic Conference champion and now they would like to finish the regular season unbeaten for the second year in a row.

          They made a school record 21 three pointers in a (96-56) win over Wynford last Friday to claim that undisputed title.  Coach Jeff Winslow says they are back playing very well again.  “We lost a player, so our rotations were different, a different starting lineup.  We just had to get used to everything being a little different.  We aren’t playing quite as many people, so kids are playing more minutes.  The players had to adjust, the coaches had to adjust.  It took some time to get a feel for our rotations, but I think we are all comfortable now and we seem to be playing really, really well again, so we are looking forward to keeping this thing going,” he said.

          Jevon Dible made a school record 11 threes against the Royals.

          Winslow says they are working on improving their efficiency on offense.  “We actually have quite a few sets.  We just don’t call them out.  We just run them all in transition.  Our kids know what sets we are running according to different signals.  We may add one just for a winkle.  We want to execute what we have.  Starting over with a new lineup over the last two weeks here we just want to get better at what we do.  We definitely know of the sets which ones we run the best and in certain situations which ones we want to run and work on that in practice.  At this point we just want to execute better when we run those things,” he said.

          Upper Sandusky (21-0,15-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, hosts Colonel Crawford (16-5,13-2), #4 in the small school poll, in a Northern 10 game on Friday night.  Upper won the first game big (84-52) on January 14.

          Crawford lost (53-37) to Ontario on Saturday night, breaking an eight game winning streak.  Winslow says the Eagles are very good and he expects a competitive game.  “You just don’t want to let them play their half court offense because they execute everything and they run so many sets and they execute them so well.  We really want to have our pressure take them out of that kind of stuff.  Saturday night was a little bit of an aberration with the short turnaround time and their focus on Buckeye Central because that was a big game.  It was a tough back end of a doubleheader for them.  They have been playing really, really well.  I think that was their first loss since they played us.  They are 16-5 and second in our league.  I have been telling our kids this is going to be our toughest game of the year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They want to prove they can give us a loss in the league and go into the tournament on a good note with another win.  They are going to be very well prepared for us.  I am sure they are chomping at the bit to get back to us after the game we played over there.  I thought we played very well and they didn’t play as well as they can play.  The second time around it is going to be much tougher.  They are going to have a few wrinkles offensively and defensively we haven’t seen.  I think it is going to be more of a battle Friday night than it was the first time around.”

          When it comes to going unbeaten, Winslow says why not?  “It is important at this point.  How many times can a team say they went through a regular season undefeated and for most of these guys it is two years in a row.  There is just one game left, so this is the game we are focused on.  If we do it it would be a nice accomplishment for the rest of their lives.  One nice thing is that is going to keep us focused I believe.  We are pretty much set for the tournament and we have already won the league outright.  It gives us another goal here to work toward on Friday night to end this thing on a high note,” said Winslow.

 

Published 2/21/17

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Victory Means Outright Title For Upper Sandusky

  

          A victory at Wynford on Friday night will give the Upper Sandusky Rams a second straight undisputed Northern 10 Athletic Conference title.

          They are coming off an (80-44) win over Mohawk on Saturday and coach Jeff Winslow says they want that title to themselves.  “We don’t want to share it we want to win the outright title and we want to finish that Friday night over at Wynford.  That is always your first goal to win your conference and then you go on from there,” he said.

          Winslow says they have had to tweak some things with a different lineup with the loss of their point guard for the season, but they have been able to do it pretty well.  “We had to tweak a little bit.  It is nice that we are deep enough to be able to tweak. We are not the same team without him, but we are still a really good team without him.  We have just had other guys step it up and fill some of the scoring role, fill some of the defensive role and rebounding.  This team just does a good job of firing away and coming together when adversity hits and finding a way to get the job done,” he said.

          The Rams (20-0,14-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, take a 44 game regular season winning streak into Wynford (10-8,9-5) on Friday night.  Upper hammered Wynford (81-35) the first time they played.  However, Winslow says the Royals are vastly improved.  “Number one Wynford is way better than the first time we saw them play.  They had some football kids and they had to get through that with a long football season.  Right now I think they have three kids that are really shooting the ball well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They probably shoot as well as any team in the league right now, especially on their court.  We need to come to play because they can put some points on the board.  It is going to take a really good defensive effort out of us.  If we can rebound we will be right there in the basketball game, if we don’t do that will walk out of there with a loss.”

          Winslow admits a second straight unbeaten regular season would be pretty cool and something they can talk about for years to come  “We are trying to play to win the league title.  I told our kids at this point with two games to go let’s finish undefeated, so that is another goal.  We have a lot to look forward to with two games remaining and a lot of teams don’t.  It is fun and it creates a good practice atmosphere.  Hopefully we take care of business on Friday so we still have something to play for the following Friday,” said Winslow.

 

Published 2/16/17

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Upper Back at it

  

          Even unbeaten teams must face some adversity and so is the case with the Upper Sandusky Rams.

          After losing point guard Noah Dible for the season due to a violation of team rules, the Rams struggled to beat Buckeye Central (61-54) last Friday and Seneca East (59-51) last Saturday.

          Coach Jeff Winslow says they kind of found the fast gear against Tuesday night when they beat Bucyrus (83-45) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.  “It just took us a little time to get comfortable with the new rotation and things like that.  Actually in the first quarter we played really, really well I thought.  It really comes down to making shots.  We went through an adjustment when we weren’t making shots we normally make.  We battled though and won those games, but now we are starting to relax a little bit and make some shots again.  We played pretty well offensively and defensively Tuesday night,” he said.

          With Dible out other Rams have to had to step up into bigger roles and Winslow says they have the depth to be able to do that pretty well.  “That is the second guy we have lost from this team that we thought we were going to have going in.  We are fortunate enough to have some depth and the kids are ready to.  I feel the last couple of years we have had some kids playing “JV” that in a lot of programs would be playing varsity minutes.  It is nice to have that kind of depth,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “This year we have been playing a few more guys anyway.  We have been going nine, ten deep, so it is a little bit easier to absorb that.  We can still go nine deep with what we have got.  We say next man up.  We have been able to just move on and it is a credit to our depth that we have been able to do that.”

          Senior Wes Vent set out the first six games of the season.

          Upper Sandusky (19-0,13-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, plays host to Mohawk (5-13,4-10) in an “N10” game on Saturday night.  The Rams won the first meeting (61-38) in early January.

          Winslow says it will be a better game this time because the Warriors are improved.  “They have a really nice group of sophomores and with younger kids like that they are just getting better and better and better and they will be better this time around.  He has done a really good job keeping them in games by running stuff that suits what they have.  It’s about 10 minutes down the road and they will come to our place this time.  It’s a nice rivalry and we better come ready to play.  The Mohawk kids are going to come over and they are going to play as hard as they can and they will be ready to go.  They will be better this time around, so we better be ready to step it up,” said Winslow.

 

Published 2/10/17

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Upper Staying on the Track

  

          Two straight years of unbeaten regular seasons beckons of the days of Bob Haas at Willard, but that is what Upper Sandusky is looking at with the start they have had to the season.

          They play have won their first 16 and play at home against Buckeye Central on Friday and at Seneca East on Saturday in Northern 10 Athletic Conference games.

          Coach Jeff Winslow says he doesn’t think about being unbeaten, he is too busy.  “To be honest with you not really.  We are trying to focus one game at a time.  We are just starting our league the second time around and we know it is going to be tougher.  We are also starting to focus on the tournament teams trying to figure out what the best match ups would be for us there with seeding and things like that.  I don’t have time to set around thinking about that.  I am sure there are a lot of people thinking about it.  We try and go out and play one game at a time.  We want to play as good as we can play each and every night,” said Winslow.

          Again this year Upper plays in a district tournament not with their familiar opponents, but instead with mainly Western Buckeye League teams.  Winslow he is becoming more familiar with them, so that is not a concern.  “Well, not as much this year because we have kind of dealt with that three years in a row now, so I am becoming more familiar with them, their players and their coaches and what they do because we have seen them so many times over the last few years.  I am so much more comfortable with them than when I first came here.  I think we have a pretty good read on them.  Maybe they don’t know much about us.  I have seen a few of them at our games.  The less they know about us the better I guess.  I feel more comfortable and that is where we are at so we have to deal with it.  It is a really tough district.  You have to be a really good team to get out and I think we have a good team, so I think we have a chance to get out if we go play well,” said Winslow.

          Upper Sandusky (16-0,10-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, hosts Buckeye Central (7-8,5-5) in a conference game on Friday night.  Upper was a (71-37) winner the first time.

          Winslow says tempo is going to be a big part of this game.  “I remember last year the second time around we played them.  We got out to a really big lead and in the second half they did a really good job slowing it down and we didn’t do such a good job of trapping and speeding the game up and they got back in the basketball game because they are really good at that.  We definitely need to make this a fast paced game.  I know that that is going to be their goal going in,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “That is a lot of team’s goal playing us and a lot of times that is easier said than done when we get out and pressure.  Hopefully, with our pressure you almost always have to play fast.  Hopefully we can speed it up and get the game going up and down because that is how we like to play.”

          Most of the preparation this week has been for Buckeye.  It is no disrespect to Seneca East (8-7,4-7,) but Winslow says he will starting thinking about them after Friday night.  “I feel guilty if I look at anybody else.  I haven’t thought about Seneca East, we have just focused on Buckeye Central.  I will be up most of the night after the game Friday going over Seneca East.  The one nice thing this time around is we are pretty familiar with Seneca East now having played them before and scouted them before.  I just have to watch some more film on them to see if different guys are playing or if they are doing anything different.  I know it is a cliché, but we try to stick one game at a time,” he said

 

Published 2/03/17

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Unbeaten Rams Face Two Games

  

          Upper Sandusky takes a 38 game regular season winning streak into games at home on Thursday night against Tiffin Columbian and Saturday night against Ridgedale.

          Last Saturday night, they destroyed rival Carey (85-56) with the same formula they gave used all season, forcing turnovers and making perimeter shots.

          Coach Jeff Winslow says they were working particularly hard at getting up in the Blue Devils and making it hard for them to do anything.  “Carey had been played really good coming into the weekend.  The first time we played them it was a single digit game in the fourth quarter at one point.  That is a big rivalry game between us and Carey because of the proximity of the towns and the kids know each other.  The stands were jam packed by the JV game.  I wasn’t very happy with how we guarded the ball against Crawford.  Our ball pressure we were kind of too far off and allowed some layups.  So, all week we concentrated on pressuring the ball a little better.  We just got off to a really good start with our ball pressure against Carey and forced some turnovers and got off to that big start and overall played pretty well on Saturday,” said Winslow.

          Tiffin Columbian (5-6,) coming off a (53-43) win over Norwalk in Northern Ohio League play last Friday, comes to Upper on Thursday night.  Winlsow says the Tornadoes are athletic and they are physical, they just haven’t always been able to do it for four quarters.  “They just haven’t been consistent.  They look really good and at times they struggle, but when they put it together they can be a really good basketball team.  They have the 6’5”, 6’6” Durham kid in the middle.  He is super athletic and doing to be a real challenge to guard.  Their point guard has played since he was a freshman.  The Simons kids is a really nice point guard and can shoot it on the perimeter.  So, they are a tough group and they have some athleticism and play really physical.  It is going to be a nice challenge for us.  I am not sure we have played a team that is quite as physical as those guys,” he said.

          Upper (14-0,9-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, plays host to Ridgedale (2-11,0-10) on Saturday night in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.  Ridgedale lost (62-53) to Wynford last Saturday and the Rams beat them (67-42) on December 17.

          Winslow says the Rockets are more healthy and a bigger challenge this time around.  “They got off to a 2-0 start and then their 6’6” center, the Eldridge kid, who I think is the best player in our league, hurt his knee and was out for an extended period of time.  He is back and played the last three games and they are kind of gradually getting him back in.  With him they are just a much better team.  It is tough for them to lose a player of that caliber still be that tough, but they play a lot better with him,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We have two 6’6” guys Thursday and Saturday and we are undersized when it comes to them.  It will be interesting to see how we defend those guys.  I expect to see a real good effort out of Ridgedale now that they have their whole team back.  They are going to much improved since the first time we saw them.”

 

Published 1/26/17

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First Place on the Line at Upper

  

          Upper Sandusky is unbeaten on the season, but they own just a one game lead over Buckeye Central in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference girls’ basketball standings.

          Upper hosts Buckeye on Tuesday night in what is likely the biggest game in the conference this year.

          Basketball has been pretty good at Upper the last two years, no matter what the gender.  Both the girls and boys are unbeaten this year and the boys went 22-0 last year during the regular season.

          Coach Brent Fahle says going 22-0 in the regular season is not something that he and the girls are thinking about, at least not out loud.  “It is not something that we talk about as a coaching staff or as a team. We just try to worry about one game at a time and if it happens it happens. Right now we are focused, obviously on Buckeye Central.  They played us tough the first time over at their place.  They are a quality opponent, well coached by Greg Moore.  Right now we are focused on that.  At the end of the year we will look back and see what kind of season we have had,” he said.

          Upper (15-0,10-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com girls’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, beat Buckeye Central (56-50) back on December 17 at Buckeye.  Fahle says the Bucketts and loaded with experience and talent.  “They have a lot of experience coming back.  I think all five starters from last year come back.  Jenna Kahl is just a whale of a ball player.  She sort of makes them go.  The (Haley) Green girl can shoot it and (Lexi) Biglin is a really nice player and she can shoot a little bit too and rebound.  You have the (Emma) Studer girl, who plays great defense.  They just have a lot of experience coming back and are well coached.  They are just a dangerous team that’s for sure,” said Fahle.

          Fahle says they want to run the floor.  He says they really don’t want to get caught up in a half court game with Buckeye Central (13-2,9-1), #2 in our small school poll, if they can avoid it.  “Well we are going to have to defend Jenna Kahl.  She is one of the top scorers in the league, one of the top point guards in the league. We have to box out because I think they crash the boards better than anybody in the league,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “It is one of the things where we have to get it at our pace, get it up and down the floor and we have to run for 32 minutes.  We will see what happens.”

 

Published 1/24/17

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Upper Expects a Challenge

  

          Upper Sandusky’s basketball team has been talking other teams to the woodshed on a fairly regular basis over the last two years and that has resulted in a 37 game regular season winning streak.

          Really the only team that has challenged them is second place Carey and that is who they play on Saturday night.

          Last Saturday, they beat a solid Colonel Crawford team (82-54) in North Robinson and coach Jeff Winslow says they did a lot of things very well against the Eagles.  “We played pretty well Saturday, pretty compete ballgame.  We rebounded well, defended well, caused Colonel Crawford to not be able to run their offense, got some turnovers early and got some easy hoops.  Then we did a good job of getting the ball in the paint and kicking out to shooters.  When did miss we got some really key offensive rebounds.  We played pretty well and our goal is to get better every day and right now we are doing that,” he said.

          In their first meeting this year, back on December 16, the Rams (13-0,8-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, beat Carey (61-48,) in a game that was even closer than that score might indicate.  Winslow says the Blue Devils (7-4,7-1) have good players and they play well together.  “I think Carey is really good.  The Luzader kid is leading the league in scoring, he is playing really well.  The point guard is one of the better point guards in the league.  They have a 6’5” freshman that is really coming along.  They are doing a really nice job offensively.  They are tough to guard because they move so well.  Their guys are in constant movement and back dooring and moving the ball well, sharing it well.  They are athletic.  I really like the way they are playing.  It is going to be a definite test for us to go over to Carey and play those guys on their floor,” said Winslow.

          Upper and Carey have been long time rivals in Wynadot County and Winslow says they know they are headed into a hostile environment on Saturday night.  “It is one of those games where you can throw out the records because it is always a battle.  By the time we get on the bus in 10 minutes we are at the school and in the gym.  The schools are very close distance wise.  All of the kids know each other.  All of the parents know each other.  It is a big rivalry and it will be packed,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “It will be fun to play in another environment where it will be a sell out.  They play really hard and they play physical and they really scrap and get after it.  No matter what it is always a good game and with the way they are playing and the talent level they have it is going to be a battle going over there and it should be a fun one to watch or everybody.”

 

Published 1/18/17

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Upper Girls Travel to Carey

  

          Unbeaten Upper Sandusky travels to defending Northern 10 Athletic Conference champion Carey on Tuesday night in big conference game to begin the second half of round robin play.

          Coach Brent Fahle says the Lady Rams have been focused and have some players with quite a bit of varsity experience.  “The first part is we work hard as a team in practice.  Last year we were 20-4 and lost a couple of kids off that team, a starter and a reserve player.  We have played together for the last three, four years.  These kids played as freshmen and we are still growing with each other and that is just the way it goes,” said Fahle.

          He says the players get a long well together and he says they have a good understanding of what their individual roles.  “Chemistry is important with girls’ basketball.  The last couple of years we have struggled to find our roles individually.  I think everybody knows what they can do and they know what they need to do out on the court to help the team be successful.  This year it is clicking very well so far,” he said.

          Upper Sandusky has been able to score quite a few points in game this season.  Four times they have scored more than 70 points.  Fahle says they like to push the pace.   “We don’t have any tall girls.  Our tallest girl would probably 5’9”, 5’10”.  We like to get up and down the court,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We like to pressure the ball and create some turnovers, so we can get into our pace.  I think if we get into our pace and get a game going up and down the court for 32 minutes I think we are in pretty good shape because I think we are very good conditioned team.”

          Upper Sandusky (13-0,8-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com girls’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, is at Carey (8-3,6-2) on Tuesday.  Upper beat Carey (54-42) on December 9 ending a Carey 52 game “N10” winning streak.

          Fahle says Carey is a disciplined team that knows what they have to do to win, plus they have one of the best players in the area in Sydney Kin.

“They are very well coached.  Coach (Phil) Vaughn has a great track record when it comes to wins and losses.  His team is always prepared.  They have some kids that played reserve roles for them last year, but have really stepped up into starting positions.  Obviously they have the Kin girl and she is just a super kid and basketball player and we are going to have our hands full (Tuesday) night for sure,” said Fahle.

 

Published 1/17/17

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Upper Pounds Crawford in “N10” Game

 

          Colonel Crawford is a good basketball team, but Upper Sandusky is a really good basketball team and they showed that on Saturday night in downing the Eagles (82-54) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.

          Upper came right out of the gate with Ry Adams hitting two threes in the first minute of the game and the Rams taking a (12-2) lead with 5:11 to play in the first quarter, but the Eagles would battle back and close to (24-16) at the end of the first quarter. 

          Crawford would get as close as (31-24) on a Harley Shaum basket with 5:42 left in the half, but the Rams would widen the lead to 13 (47-34) at halftime.

          Perhaps, the key to the game was an Upper (13-6) run in the first 3:12 of the third quarter to take a (60-40) lead in the game.  “They are a good team and David (Sheldon) makes some really good adjustments.  We said these first three minutes are huge it’s only a 13 point lead if they hit a couple of buckets are we don’t it’s a ball game.  I said right now is where we have to end it.  I thought we did a good job of extending our lead and making it tough to come back from,” said Upper Sandusky coach Jeff Winslow after the game.

          Eli Kinley made three three pointers in the first three minutes of the second half and Colonel Crawford coach David Sheldon says that was a dagger.  “That is a very good basketball team.  I mean there are five guys in double figures.  In the third quarter Kinley comes out and hits three threes.  He has had five threes in 12 games.  When you are playing a great team like that you have to pick your poison.  Credit that kid he steps up and buries three threes,” he told Swankonsports.com in the locker room after the game, “I think that is a learning lesson for our young kids.  I remember when Adams and Vent were freshmen taking some lumps early on now you see what they have grown up into as juniors and seniors.  They are explosive and they push the ball.  When you look at our stats we only turned it over 11 times.  Their pressure is them bringing it in transition.  I thought we had some mental breakdowns matching up and not knowing who we are guarding.  You just can’t do that against that many weapons.”

          Wes Vent led Upper with 21 points on Saturday night.  Kinley added 20 and Javon Dible 15.

          The Rams shot 62 percent from the field and made 13 of 23 three point attempts on the night.

          Winslow thought they passed the ball and were able to get some open shots.  “I think the reason we shot the three is we moved the ball so well and got it inside and they flatten out the defense and kick it out.  Those are pretty good shooters shooting those shots.  It is amazing how good of a coach I am when our kids put the ball in the basket.  It makes it look like I know what I am doing,” he said.

          Harley Shaum and Heath Starkey both had 14 for Colonel Crawford and Sheldon thought they were able to get the ball to them in good spots, but he says Upper is just really good.  “Our two posts get double figures and a lot of that is credit to our guards on dump off passes and their pressure and help over.  We did have a size advantage it is just they put pressure on your ball too and sometimes it is hard to get it into the post because of the pressure on the basketball.  I thought our kids tried to compete with them it is just they are explosive basketball team and there is a reason they have won that many games this year.  It is a junior-senior dominated basketball team that has played a lot of basketball.  We have guys in this program that want to be like that it’s just we are not at that level yet. We have 14, 15 year olds playing 17, 18 year olds and I thought that showed,” said Sheldon.

          Winslow says it was a key for them to try and take the ball out of freshmen point guard Cameron McCreary’s hands and he thought they did a pretty good job of that.  “What a freshmen he is going to be excellent, he already is excellent.  We really wanted to wear him down because he is their main ball handler, stirs their drink.  We wanted to make other people beat us.  We did a good job overall.  They made some plays in that first half.  They were getting to the basket and getting by us and I wasn’t too happy with that.  Give them credit they are good and are going to make some plays.  We stepped up in the second half and limited some of that,” he said.

 

Published 1/14/17

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Unbeaten Upper Travels to Crawford

  

          Upper Sandusky, number one in the statewide media poll in division two, and the owner of a 36 game regular season winning streak, is at Colonel Crawford for a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Saturday night.

          The Eagles trail Upper by a game in the conference standings.

          Last year, Crawford took it down to the very end before losing to Upper Sandusky.  Rams coach Jeff Winslow says this is a great rivalry.  “Since I have been here we have had some very good games against Colonel Crawford and both teams have had success over the last four years since I have been here.  The games are usually big when it comes to who is going to win the conference.  It is a fun rivalry, I have known Dave (Sheldon) for a long time and we are very familiar with each other’s systems.  We really look forward to playing them every year.  All of the fans come out.  It is going to be packed.  The atmosphere is going to be incredible.  This is why you play high school basketball.  It is a big time rivalry now and I think it is only going to get bigger for the years to come,” said Winslow.

          Colonel Crawford (8-3,6-1), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the small school division, has only lost once in the last five weeks and Winslow says they are young, but boy are they talented.  “Number one they are big with the Shaum kid and the Starkey kid they are big.  They play a lot of freshmen and juniors and they are just really talented.  Their point guard McCreary, he is just one of the best guards in the league, one of the better guards we have faced all year long and he is only a freshman.  So, even though they are young they are extremely talented and they don’t play like they are young,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “That is really impressive and as the year has gone on and watching them they just continue to get better.  They started out a little slow, but they just get better every game.  Colonel Crawford kids no how to win anyway.  This freshmen group hasn’t lost very often, so they expect to win.  It is impressive how talented they are with as young as they are.”

          Upper Sandusky (12-0,7-0), #3 in our large school division, has thrived on getting on long runs this season.  Winslow says that is because of their defense.  “We like to go on those big runs.  The reason we get out on those big runs is we get out and defend.  We try to get up into people and get in passing lanes, take them out of their offense and try to make everything difficult.  As tough as it is for their offense to score a lot times that leads to good offense for us whether it was a turnover or a missed shot that way we can get out and run in transition.  We are pretty good at scoring in transition.  If we go on runs I think we will be pretty successful.  Our runs have to start by playing well on the defensive end,” said Winslow.

 

Published 1/13/17

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Upper Sandusky Prepares for Two More “N10” Games

  

          Upper Sandusky has not lost a Northern 10 Athletic Conference boys’ basketball game since the 2014-2015 season and it looks like that streak is going to be hard to break.

          They are not just winning, but destroying teams, even some good ones.

          Coach Jeff Winslow says his kids have talent and just believe they are going to be successful.  “Right now we have kind of built some momentum with the way we are playing.  We are playing hard getting after it, winning games, and playing with a lot of confidence right now and I think that all starts because our kids get after it at every practice day in and day out and that is where we start getting in a roll.  It takes moving those things from practice to game situations.  Now it is to a point where the kids think they are going to win, expect to win and seem to be able to find ways to win,” he said.

          When it comes to the Rams it is hard to find anything negative.  Coach Winslow thinks even playing all smaller schools in their league when you consider the quality of those schools plus their non-conference schedule he feels they are tested.  “We play every “NOL” school in the original “NOL” except for Norwalk and we actually scrimmage them every year and every summer.  We have done that and we are picking up Lexington next year and that is a good pick up for us.  We are playing all of these bigger schools non-conference wise and I think that is important.  There is nobody quite as big as us in our league,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Like I have said before there is nice competition because they are so well coached and everybody knows what we do, so it is kind of like a tournament game in that way.  There are no secrets.  Even though Crawford is a little bit smaller, Buckeye Central, but traditionally they are very good basketball schools year in and year out, so they are good competition every year.  Playing those schools and then our non-conference schedule I think that gets us ready for tournament play.”

          Upper Sandusky (10-0,5-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, plays at Mohawk (1-7,1-5) in an “N10” game on Friday night.

          Winslow says the Warriors are young, but they have some kids with talent.  “They play four sophomores and that has always been a pretty good class for them and after watching them on tape the last couple of days I like them.  They have some guards that can handle the basketball and put it in the hoop shooting it and the one sophomore is big kid inside that handles the ball real well.  They are 1-7 I believe and after watching the film I am a little surprised they 1-7.  They have lost some close games.  They are a program that is trying to figure out how to win, especially the younger guys.  It is definitely going to be a challenge because they have some guys that have some basketball skill and some talent.  We are playing on their floor, so they will be excited.  I expect them to bring a good game at us,” said Winslow.

          They host Wynford (3-5,3-2) on Saturday night.  Winslow expects to physical battle from Royals, who are going to play sound defense.  “They are always going to be defensive minded, tough kids over there.  They are mentally tough.  They have had such a long tradition they think they are going to win every game.  They have grown up with that winning attitude.  I think some of it, I really do, is every year since I have been here they have made long football runs and most of their kids play both sports and they are still getting their basketball legs.  I think you will see better Wynford offensive team.  Until then they are going to rely on good defense and rebounding with their size and strength and toughness.  It is always a battle.  It is a big rivaly.  Upper Sandusky and Wynford we have played for years.  Every time we play it is a really physical game and gets a little chippy and that is always fun to get in games like that,” said Winslow.

 

Published 1/03/17

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Upper Rolls… Again

  

          Upper Sandusky is unbeaten and it is fair to say not really challenged this season, still they know they have to get better as a team.

          They walloped Bellevue (73-30) in a non-conference on Tuesday night to remain unbeaten on the season.

          Coach Jeff Winslow agrees they played very, very well on Tuesday night against the Redmen.  “I was a little concerned going in.  Ed (Rich) does a good job over there.  He has them believing and playing well and they do a lot of good things.  We just played really well Tuesday night.  We had 26 assists as a team.  When you do that you are moving the ball well and sharing it.  Nobody really cares who is getting the points it is so unselfish play offensively.  When you shoot well it makes it easy.  We have eight, nine guys capable of making threes at anytime during the game.  They all put it together that night and we had different guys making threes.  Two different guys Noah Dials and Wes Vent almost had a triple double.  Noah had nine rebounds and 12 assists, Wes had 10 rebounds, nine assists.  Not to mention defensively only giving up 30 points they did a really good job taking them out of their stuff.  We played really well and we want to keep getting better,’ said Winslow.

          A lot of Upper Sandusky’s success is based on their unselfish nature.  Winslow says his players really don’t care who is scoring the points, but just that they are winning.  “You want to always share the ball especially now a days it is tough to get kids to buy into that.  I am very fortunate that I have kids that their main focus is they want to win basketball games and go deep in the tournament.  They know there are going to be nights that they get their points, but they are just as happy when their teammates get the points.  It is a really good mix.  When you have talented guys and they are all willing to share you are going to be pretty good,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Wes Vent averaged 22 a game last year.  He sat out the first six games and he is just so unselfish with the ball.  He had 15 points, but had nine assists.  I think that is one of the better games he has ever played just from the standpoint that he passed the ball so well and defended well and rebounded well.  When you have an All-Ohio kid that is willing to sacrifice the 20 points a game for the betterment of his team you are going to be good.  It is fun to watch, fun to coach.  Hopefully we keep getting better and keep up with that unselfish attitude.”

          Upper Sandusky (9-0,4-0), #5 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, is at home for Bucyrus (1-6,1-3) in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play on Friday night.

          Winslow says they can’t disrespect Bucyrus or it could cost them.  “They are much improved.  They have been in games.  They are trying to learn how to win.  They have a lot of young guys.  Like I told the kids don’t be satisfied because well played well Tuesday.  We want to get bet better and play well every game.  One of the things that we always say we respect our opponent.  We don’t want to get into a position where we don’t respect our opponent and all of the sudden we look up and they have more points than us at the end of the game.  It is really important for us to respect everyone we play regardless of record.  We want to win every possession, win every quarter, so our kids have been pretty good at that.  We keep harping on that because these are 15, 16, 17 year old kids.  We really want to play well (Friday) night offensively and defensively and play a four quarter game,” said Winlsow.

 

Published 12/30/16

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Upper Rolling

  

          Upper Sandusky is again one of the best boys’ basketball teams in North Central Ohio this year and that is not unexpected.

          They blasted Buckeye Central (71-37) in Northern 10 Athletic Conference action on Tuesday night.

          Coach Jeff Winslow says it just seemed they did everything well, especially over the last three quarters.  “Especially after watching the film we played really, really well.  Buckeye came out ready to go and they shot the ball well early on.  They had a seven point lead at the beginning of the second quarter and then we went on a 57-18 run or something like that.  I just thought our defense picked it up a notch,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We didn’t allow many easy looks for them.  It was a one and done, we rebounded the ball.  We did such a good job us pushing the ball in transition and getting the ball down the floor fast and got a lot of easy ones and once you get the ball inside and get some easy ones the shooters on the outside relax a little bit and they start knocking them down.  I was really happy with how we played.  I thought all nine guys played really well.  We shot the ball well and defended well I couldn’t ask for much more.”

          Not surprising that the win Tuesday night coincided with the return of last year’s leading scorer Wes Vent from a six game suspension due to a violation of team rules.  He led the team with 16.

          Winslow says they were just able to build a lot of momentum on Tuesday night.  “Just the energy we get feeding off each other and everybody gets more confident and we start seeing shots go in the basket, so everybody things their shots are going to go in the basket.  It just kind of snowballed.  It just seemed like everything we were doing was working.  We were moving the ball well, sharing the ball, playing well together.  When we play like that we are going to be pretty tough to beat,” he said.

          Upper Sandusky (7-0,3-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, plays host to Seneca East (4-2,2-2,) a (65-44) loser to Colonel Crawford on Tuesday.

          Winslow says the Tigers are playing with more confidence than they did last year.  “He does a really good job with them.  This is their third or fourth year playing for him, so they are older.  The Diem kid is really athletic.  He rebounds really good for a guard, he takes it to the basket strong.  They have a big guy Ferris that rebounds underneath.  He is 6’5”, a big husky kid and then they have a shooter out on the perimeter.  They are tough to guard.  They can put the ball in the basket better than in year’s past.  He has them believing.  I think they are a confident bunch with a winning record right now.  They are going to come to our place ready to play.  They want to stay in the league race and they know they have to beat us.  I think it is going to be a really good ballgame, a good test for us,” said Winslow.

 

Published 12/22/16

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Upper Sandusky Ready for Two More

  

          Upper Sandusky has won all four its basketball games so far this season in rather convincing fashion.

          They play two more in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference this week, their first two conference games, at home against Carey on Friday and at Ridgedale on Saturday.

          In their last game, last Saturday, against Shelby, the Rams prevailed (74-65) in non-conference action. 

          Coach Jeff Winslow says they were on top of their game and they had to be.  “We played very well Saturday.  The kids knew, I told them, to win that game we knew we had to play very well because Shelby is a nice basketball team.  We came out from the get go and it started on the defensive end.  The big thing was we hit shots.  Our two shooters were really on and that is what they are capable of.  There were 12 threes out of those guys.  It seemed like anytime Shelby tried to make a little run those guys would make back to back threes.  When we shoot that way we are going to be pretty hard to beat.  We aren’t always going to shoot like that, but those guys have the ability to shoot like that every night. When we defend like we do and shoot like that good things are going to happen for us,” said Winslow.

          Upper won all of its regular season games last year and the first four this year, yet Winslow has not noticed any complacency.  “Part of it is this is a new group.  We have some returners, but a lot of these kids are not and they are chomping at the bit to make their mark as a varsity player and a varsity team.  Some high standards have been set the last two years here and they don’t want to let those standards down,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They know the bull’s eye is on us right now so we have to bring it every night.  Our practices are super competitive.  We have another nice JV team again.  The guys don’t have too much time to be complacent, so that hasn’t been a problem yet.  Sometimes maybe it gets to be a concern.  I think our kids understand that we have to bring it every night to win basketball games.”

          Carey (1-2,1-0) beat Colonel Crawford (50-43) in their first “N10” game last Saturday.  Winslow says the Blue Devils have the capability of putting a lot of points up.  “They have a lot of talent back, but they are young yet, a lot of those kids played as sophomores.  They are scrappy, gritty, and they play extremely hard.  They have the capability to shoot the basketball.  Sometimes they are streaky shooters and if they are on they can create a lot of nightmares for you.  It’s a big rivalry, the towns are only about 10 miles apart.  The place is going to be packed and it is going to be a really fun atmosphere.  Both teams I think are going to bring their “A” game.  If we want to beat the Blue Devils we better come out and defend because their kids have been putting some points on the board,” said Winslow.

          Ridgedale (2-1,0-1) lost to Seneca East (59-34) in their league opener.  Winslow believes the real key to this game is their ability to control the tempo.  “They have two really good players and their coach has done a nice job with them.  The other players kind of fit into their roles.  The have the Burton kid, who is a really good point guard.  He is as good as anybody in the league and can shoot the basketball.  Eldridge is a 6’5” load down there.  When those two guys have it going they can cause problems.  They will slow it down with some Princeton type stuff.  If they are able to slow the game down on us and get it to their tempo that is a concern.  They are pretty good at that, so we have to make sure we force tempo and get them going.  Anytime they have been able to dictate tempo they have given us problems. We have to get them to play fast and keep it out of the big boy’s hands.  I think he has been hurt.  I am not sure if he is back or not, but I plan on him being back.  He is probably the best pure post player in the league and he is going to be a tough match-up for us,” said Winslow.

 

Published 12/15/16

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They Want to be the Same Kind of Upper Sandusky

  

          Upper Sandusky won all of its regular season games last year and took the Northern 10 Athletic Conference title and they return a lot of players to their roster this season.

          Coach Jeff Winslow says his players can’t wait to prove they are a very good team again this season.  “We have had a really nice preseason.  Our kids have been working at it since a month after the basketball tournament last year.  They are really excited to get back and get started.  In summer workouts and fall workouts the kids have been in the gym and down at the park playing all of the time and the really excited for the season to start.  Now they are at the point where they want to start playing games.  They have been beating on each other enough.  They are chomping at the bit to get back at it,” he said.

          The approach to the game is going to be much the same as a year ago with a lot of pressure defense and up tempo offense.  “We have a lot guards in the program from the fourth grade all of the way up.  We are not loaded with a whole lot of post players.  So, we are going to run a lot of up tempo stuff, full court, trying to get the pace in our favor.  We want to get up and down and start our offense with our defense.  We want to pressure people into taking bad shots or turnovers and we end up with easier ones at the other end.  That will be a focal point for us coming into the season,” said Winslow.

          Upper will be at Willard of the Northern Ohio League on Friday.  Winslow says they want to get the game going full court because Willard is going to have some players that are going to be tough to guard.  “They are really big and have some athletes there.  They go like 6’7”, 6’5”, 6’5” and then they have a couple 6’3” kids.  So, their size can present a problem.  We want to make sure we do some things full court wise and maybe eliminate a little bit of that.  The main concern going in is to keep those guys off the glass and not let the ball get in the paint to their big guys because they can do some damage once they get the ball down in there,” he said.

          It’s New Riegel, now of the river division of the Sandusky Bay Conference, on Saturday for the Rams.  Winslow expects a very up tempo kind of game with the Blue Jackets.  “Just from knowing some of the players in their system JV wise and returning.  I have watched a little film on them, not a whole lot they are going to be you typical New Riegel team with kids that can shoot it, kids that can handle it.  They are all about 6’2”, 6’3”.  They like to play fast as well.  They like to run a lot of motion offense and they will pressure you defensively.  They have been a really solid program for a long time,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We are definitely going to have our hands full on Saturday night because they have a bunch of people that can play the game.  It should be a fun game playing against them.  Two teams with a lot of guards that want to get up and down.  I don’t like giving up points, but I imagine it is going to be a little higher scoring than usual.”

 

Published 12/01/16

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Upper and O-G Both Want to Run the Floor

 

          Unbeaten Upper Sandusky, the Northern 10 Athletic Conference champion, plays Ottawa Glandorf, of the Western Buckeye League, a division two district semi-final on Wednesday night at Ohio Northern University.

          Upper held off another team from the "WBL" in Wapakoneta (62-55) in a sectional final at Lima Senior High School last Friday.  Rams coach Jeff Winslow feels that prepares them well for Wednesday night.  "That win gives us some confidence.  They are in the same league as Ottawa Glandorf.  The played O-G really well the one time they played it was a close basketball game.  Both teams are very athletic and both teams crash the offensive glass, so we have some familiar areas there.  We are looking forward to go and play a team like Ottawa-Glandorf," he said.

          Ottawa-Glandorf is one of the top basketball programs in Northwest Ohio.  Winslow says the Titans (18-5) this year and very athletic really get on the offensive glass.  "What is really good about them is they are athletic.  They are balanced.  They have four kids that go in double figures for them and they really crash the offensive glass.  They really get out in transition, but I think their real strength is to be able to rebound misses.  If we don't comment to the box out with all five guys we are going to be in trouble.  If we can keep them off the glass it is going to be a good basketball game," said Winslow.

          Upper Sandusky does a lot of pressuring of the ball, both in man to man and zone traps, and they really push the tempo of the game.  Winslow says they are not going to stop doing that on Wednesday night.  "It is going to be interesting.  I was telling the kids that we are probably going to be the first team that plays against them that is not going to slow it up against them.  Nobody wants to play them in a fast paced game, but that is our game and that is how we are going to play it.  We are going to go out and go with it and I think they will go out and go with it," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, "I think from a fan's standpoint it is going to be fun to watch this basketball game.  Both teams are going to get up and down.  I really think both teams can do that.  I think the difference is going to be on the defensive glass.  Which team can keep the other off the offensive glass is going to be the team that comes on top."

 

Published 3/02/16

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Upper Edges Crawford; Stays Unbeaten

 

          Upper Sandusky survived a scare and outlasted Colonel Crawford (55-53) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Saturday night in North Robinson.

          It was an ending you don't see every day, in fact, this reporter has never seen it before.

          The final margin came on two Wes Vent free throws with .9 seconds left after Colonel Crawford was whistled for a technical foul for having six players on the floor.  "Tough way to lose.  We drew up in the huddle where we wanted guys on the foul line and one of the guys stood out there and I didn't recognize it.  We take the blame as coaches for not recognizing what we drew up in the huddle.  Give my kids credit that is the number four team in the state in division two.  We took them right down to the wire.  It is sad that it had to end that way.  I give credit to our kids, they never backed down all night.  Offensively we were ball tough against a very good basketball team.  Proud of my kids after a tough loss (Friday) night they came back and responded and gave it everything for 32 minutes," said Colonel Crawford coach David Sheldon.

          Trailing by one, Colonel Crawford's Derek Burkhart drilled a three pointer from the left wing to give the Eagles the lead (53-51) with 19 seconds left.  Upper Sandusky then worked the ball to leading scorer Wes Vent, who missed a twisting jump shot under pressure, but the ball was rebounded by Noah Dible and he was fouled with .9 left.  After he made the first free throw it was determined that Crawford had six players on the floor and the technical was called.  Dible then connected on his second free throw to tie the score and Vent swished the pair to give the Rams the lead.

          "I told those guys, yeah we got a break, but we earned that break.  Sometimes you have to earn the breaks you get and we did because for Noah Dible it is not unusual.  He is one of our leading rebounders, one of our leading offensive rebounders.  He is the best offensive rebounding point guard I have ever had and it doesn't surprise me that he stepped up to make that play.  That was a big play, without that the game is over," said Upper Sandusky coach Jeff Winslow.

          Upper Sandusky (21-0,16-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, is one the few unbeaten teams in the state.  Winslow says even after Burkhart's shot he had confidence they would win.  "He made a shot, but our guys believe in a close game we win.  I just thought we get the ball in and get the ball to Wes and let him try and win the basketball game.  We have a lot of gritty guys that just don't believe they are going to use.  I just thought we would make a play to win the game and we did," he said.

          Colonel Crawford (14-7,10-5) had the lead for most of the game.  Burkhart and Brody Martin both hit two trees in the first quarter as the Eagles took a (20-14) lead.  The led by as many as 10 in second quarter (28-18) and held nine point lead (34-25) at the half.   "I don't think their defensive pressure hurt us as much as the first time.  We got great driving lanes.  I thought we got to the basket and then we got kick out threes.  We attacked their man to man defense.  It is what it is," said Sheldon. 

          Vent scored 12 points, on threes, as Upper tied the score (40-40) after three quarters.  "He finally made a shot.  Once he makes a shot and starts feeling it and things are going for him.  How we get going is defensively.  We turned up the defensive pressure and quit giving up driving layups and get out on the break and get easy looks for him," said Winslow.

          Upper Sandusky had won the first match-up easier (60-39) at Upper, but Winslow says he knew what to expect.  "We knew that coming in.  David Sheldon is the best coach in this league.  They have a winning tradition, they have some tough kids, and we knew coming over here was going to be a battle.  We just told our kids that was decided to stay the course throughout the game and go on some runs.  They had a lot of energy early.  I think we did that (Saturday) night," he said.

          Vent led everybody with 27, 21 in the second half and Dible chipped in with 16.  Sophomore Hayden Bute led Colonel Crawford with 16.  Burkhart had 11.

 

Published 2/13/16

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Upper on to Next Goal

 

          Upper Sandusky continues to enjoy a great season.  They are still unbeaten and how now claimed an outright Northern 10 Athletic Conference title.

          The Rams won the title with back to back wins over Bucyrus (84-43) and Mohawk (64-42) last week. Coach Jeff Winslow says, yeah, it feels pretty good.  "It was goal number one and we accomplished it a little earlier than maybe we thought we were going to.  We accomplished that, it's out of the way, and now we move on to our other goals.  It was nice.  The kids with all of the hard work they put in they deserve it.  Sunday we had fun with it and Monday it was back to work," he said.

          On Friday night, the Rams (19-0,14-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, play at home against one of the hottest teams in the area in the Wynford Royals (12-6,9-4) in an "N10" game.  Winslow says the Royals have figured it out and are a lot better team than they one the beat (86-68) on December 28.  "They have seven or eight wins in a row.  They are on a roll.  They had a lot of football players early on with a new coaching system and it took a while to get things going.  Jason is doing a nice job over there.  There are in a grove offensively and they finally figured out what they want to do defensively," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They just have so many kids that can either shoot the basketball or take you off the dribble.  They are playing with a lot of confidence.  They are a tough guard and then they have tow big guys underneath.  So, we better be ready to play and play some defense or it's going to be a long night Friday night."

          The Saturday night the Rams are in North Robinson to play second place Colonel Crawford (14-5,10-3) in a conference game.  Winslow says this game is going to be a lot about tempo.  "That is always a tough place to play.  The place is always sold out and there is always a loud crowd going on.  They want to come down and make it a half court basketball game and play some man to man defense against us and make us score against their set defense.  On offense they want to run their sets.  We want to run with the ball and pick the pace up a little bit.  That game is going to come down to who can control the tempo.  The team that can control the tempo is going to have a big time advantage in that game," said Winslow.

 

Published 2/12/16

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Rams Can Put it Away

 

          Unbeaten Upper Sandusky can lay claim to the Northern 10 Athletic Conference title with two wins this weekend.

          The host Bucyrus on Friday night and travel to Mohawk on Saturday night for conference games.  If they win both games they are outright champs.

          Tuesday night, they hung on to beat the Shelby Whippets (80-78) in a non-conference game.  Coach Jeff Winslow says it was a good win over a solid team.  "That was a lot of fun (Tuesday) night.  There was a tournament like atmosphere.  A really good Shelby basketball team.  Both teams like to get up and down and we got up and down.  It was pretty close down at the end.  We were able to maintain that lead by holding the basketball and making some timely free throws.  It was a really good win for us Shelby is a really good basketball team, I know their record is 9-9, but when you look at their nine losses there are some pretty good teams that they have competed against they just haven't been fortunate enough to come out with a victory.  I feel good about how we went over to an environment like that and played well and got the win," said Winslow.

          Just like the week before against Buckeye Central it was a game that was close at the end and Winslow says it was good experience for the post season.  "It was another game where a team was close enough in the fourth quarter that we were fortunate enough to work on our end of the game situations and we did a really nice job.  In order to make a long run in the tournament those are the kind of things that you are going to have to get done.  So, it was a nice experience for us and it was good to win the basketball game," he said.

          Bucyrus (1-15,1-10) and Mohawk (4-12,2-10) have not had good seasons.  Upper beat Bucyrus (85-33) and Mohawk (80-42) in the first meetings this year.  Winslow predicts the outcomes will be closer this time.  "I have been telling the kids that especially teams like this that haven't had a lot of success this could make their season.  Beating an unbeaten is going to make their season.  I haven't had a lot of time to look at a bunch of film on these guys just getting done with Shelby.  I know that Bucyrus is playing a lot of younger guys, with some different guys thrown into the mix.  I know that Mohawk has the Mohler kid back, who was lost to them at the beginning of the year, the quarterback on the football team.  So, both teams have a little bit of a different look to them than what they had the first time we played them," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We have to maintain out focus every game.  Nothing is going to be easy.  So far in the second round every team has been tougher and there have been tighter games and these should be no different."

          Upper (17-0,12-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches in the large school division, has went through first two months of the season without loosing.  Winslow says if they go unbeaten through the regular season it will be through the process.  "You never want to lose a basketball game.  We didn't exactly set that out to be a goal at the beginning of the year.  We are just kind of taking it game by game.  Our first goal is to win the "N10" and we haven't won anything yet.  If we win one more game in the league we clinch a share.  If we in two more we clinch it outright.  If we accomplish that this weekend then maybe we look at that a little bit.  I keep telling the kids we don't want to lose any games because we don't want to lose any momentum going into the tournament.  We want to be playing our best basketball.  That's where we want to get it done by making a nice long tournament run.  It would be nice to be 22-0, but right now our kids and our staff just want to take it one game at a time right now," said Winslow.

 

Published 2/04/16

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Upper Still Developing

 

          Upper Sandusky is unbeaten and leads the Northern 10 Athletic Conference standings by three games, but they are still growing as a team.

          Last Saturday, they played a second half that was at half court tempo and were still able to beat a solid Buckeye Central team (53-46) in "N10" action.

          Coach Jeff Winslow believes they adapted well in the game.  "It was two different games.  The first half was our tempo.  We had a big lead at halftime.  We were out running with it.  The second half they were able to slow us down a little bit and play more of their style.  It was really good for us because you are going to run into these games toward the end of the season or in the tournament, so you have to play some half court basketball whether it is at the offensive end or the defensive end.  We did a real good job of after they made their run or matching it a little bit.  We did a good job in the fourth quarter of when we had an 8-10 point lead we just kind of went to our open offense where we were going to take nothing but a layup," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We just took a lot of time of the clock and getting a layup out of it two or three times.  It's just a backbreaker when you can take a minute and half or two minutes off the clock and then score a layup on it.  If we could have just finished with some free throws.  We were up 10 with a 1:23 we missed three front end of one and ones, which is not typical of us.  If we make our free throws it's a 15 point game again.  I give Buckeye Central a lot of credit their backs were against the wall.  They were second in the league coming in and if they win that game they cut it to a one game lead.  They are down 18 at halftime and they come out and gave us everything they have.  We kind of put them in the corner there and they came out fighting.  Our kids were tough enough to withstand that run by them."

          Upper Sandusky is a team that has featured creating offense from defense and pressing for four quarters.  Winslow says they know they can't do that every game.  "You are not going to have a 22 game schedule and have the game go exactly like you want it to.  Especially, in the tournament no matter how much you want to run there are going to be half court style games.  We like to press and get out and run and things, but we are also a very good half court defensive team.  We do a real good job in our half court offense.  It's not that we can't do that, it is just that we have been fortunate enough to get out and run.  When you play in a solid league and you play Buckeye Central that has been through the wars and a good coach like Phil Loy you are going to get those games on the road on a Saturday night.  I told the kids that was the kind of a fight we were going to have to battle.  It is a good prepare for the tournament because those are the kind of games you are going to face come tournament time," he said.

          Saturday night, the Rams (15-0,11-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, hosts Seneca East in an "N10" game.  The beat the Tigers (108-48) the first time they played.  Winslow says they have to forget that first game.  "That what I tried to remind the kids.  Colonel Crawford beat Wynford by 36 the first time and then Wynford beat them.  We can't take anything for granted and we have to respect our opponent.  We played really well and they play under what they can do.  They have gotten better since that game.  We have to respect every team we play and hopefully our kids understand that.  We have to get after it from the get go.  They are going to come at us with everything they've got.  I'm sure they have some tricks ups their sleeve they didn't use game one.  We have to be ready for anything and play hard at the defensive end," said Winslow.

 

Published 1/28/16

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Upper holds a Two Game Lead

 

          Upper Sandusky has built a two game lead in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference, but they face two road games in the league this weekend.

          The Rams haven't lost a game all season, yet coach Jeff Winslow says they are not void of weaknesses and they are working on getting better.  "There is lots of stuff we need to be better at and the nice thing is film doesn't lie.  We go in on Mondays and look at what we did on the weekend and there is lots of stuff we can get better at.  We talk about wanting to practice to be the best.  We are definitely not the best team in the state of Ohio, so we aren't good enough yet.  We see a lot things we need to improve on in film and that is what we really concentrate on when we get to practice on Monday and Tuesday," he said.

          Upper Sandusky (13-0,9-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, plays at Ridgedale (6-6,4-5) in an "N10" on Friday night.  Winslow says the Rockets are a scary team because of their starting five.  "They are a nice basketball team.  They have the big three and then their other two starters are pretty good too.  They aren't deep, so getting in foul trouble has given them problems.  They have a nice starting five.  Mo Britton is playing the best basketball that he has ever played.  He is scoring the ball well.  Eldridge is 6'4", 6'5" and has a lot of skill and is good at rebounding the basketball.  Burton is pretty good with the basketball himself," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "It is going to be a challenge to keep Eldridge off the glass and keep Mo in check because Mo is the kind of guy that can shoot it from 30 feet or take you off the bounce.  They switched Britton to the point right after we played and they have played a lot better since.  Going over there and playing they are playing with all kinds of confidence.  It will be a tough basketball game because those top three guys are pretty good players."

          Then it is a visit to second place Buckeye Central (9-4,7-2) for another league game on Saturday night.  Winslow says they will have to control Grant Loy.  "They are playing pretty well right now.  When you get done with Ridgedale then you have to go to Buckeye Central that is not an easy weekend.  Whatever happens Friday night we have to quickly channel our focus to Buckeye Central.  They are playing really well right now.  They only have two league losses.  They are right in the thick of things.  The (Grant) Loy kid is playing pretty good.  He has had some games when he has had 30 points and 15 rebounds.  If he is not the best player in the league he is one of the best.  Anytime you have a player that is one of the best on the floor you have a chance to win.  They are always well coached and they always come out and do a great job defensively.  We are going to have our hands full Saturday night going over to Buckeye Central," said Winslow.

 

Published 1/22/16

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Upper Continues to Roll

 

          After a big win over Colonel Crawford last Friday and the Eagles loss the next night to Carey, the Upper Sandusky Rams hold a two game lead in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference standings.

          The Rams (12-0,8-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, has been one of the more consistent teams in this part of the state this year.  Coach Jeff Winslow says that is because of the way they play defense.  "You have to come out focused night in and night out because you don't want to have an off night.  The one thing that helps you keep your focus and maintain the way you play is every night you can defend.  So, even on some of the nights when offensively it is not there we have done it at the defensive end creating turnovers for easy baskets and making teams take tough shots and limiting them to one and done by getting the defensive board.  You can do that every night no matter how you are playing offensively.  You can win a lot of ball games doing that," said Winslow.

          Upper beat Crawford (60-36) last Friday and then Carey knocked off the Eagles (58-52) the next night.  On Saturday, Upper hosts Carey (6-5,5-3) in a conference game.  Winslow says this is a petty good Blue Devils team.  "I think they are a nice basketball team.  Even early on they struggled a little bit, but I do think it was because of the all of the youth, a new system and a new coach.  They have a lot of athletes on that team and the one thing that they do that presents a problem is they can put five guys on the floor that can shoot the ball from anywhere on the floor.  Even their five men can step out and shoot the ball," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "That makes them more challenging to guard because you have to guard different people at the three point line.  Then they have the ability to take you off the dribble when you have to help a little bit to get out to those shooters.  When they are shooting the ball well like they are now they are a really tough team to beat.  Jamie (Young) has done a really good job over there and they are playing really well right now.  Hopefully, we can get the job done guarding the three point line and get another "W."

          Of course, the Rams have been able to force a lot of turnovers with their press this year.  However, Winslow says the Blue Devils can be hard to handle with a zone press.  "Fortunately for us the majority of our guys are interchangeable.  The way we guard, we all guard on the perimeter.  So, it is not as drastic a change for us, but you still have to get used to having to close out on all five guys.  Where it really worries you is sometimes we run some traps.  When you run a trap and they find an open guy and he can bust a three it makes it that much harder to rotate out if they can throw it out of the trap.  Sometimes you can't trap as much when a team like that shoots the ball well.  It is going to be an interesting challenge for us.  It's a big rivalry with the schools only being a few miles apart.  The gym will be packed," said Winslow.

 

Published 1/15/16

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Co-Leaders Clash in "N10"

 

         Upper Sandusky and Colonel Crawford share the lead in the Northern  10 Athletic Conference, but that tie will be broken on Friday night when the two teams play at Upper.

          The Rams (10-0,7-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, are coming off wins last week over Wynford (86-68) in league play on Wednesday and (76-73) over New Riegel in non-league lay on Saturday.

          Coach Jeff Winslow feels it was a good holidays for them.  "I think our kids handled it very well.  I think we made lots of improvements over the holidays.  We have a team that is pretty disciplined and goes to bed early and gets up when they should.  We played pretty well during the holidays and practiced pretty hard and we made it through that grind," he said.

          Colonel Crawford (9-1,6-0), #4 in the our small school coaches poll, won three games last week in beating Ridgedale (64-55) and Buckeye Central (47-42) in league games and Northmor (44-42) in a non-conference game.  Winslow says the Eagles just know how to win.  "The biggest thing that stands out is these kids just know how to win and expect to win.  Quite a few games that I have watched have come down early and have come down late and they just have the knack that they are going to win the game and they find a way to win it," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "That and their three guards Burkhart, Adams and Martin can really shoot the three very well.  So, those three are difficult to defend on the perimeter.  You have to be able to defend them and the plays they run for them.  They are really defending well this year, not that they haven't in the past, but they have really stepped it up a level this year.  It will be interesting the see, we have scored a lot of points this year and they haven't given up many and we have to see what gives."

          Tempo is going be a factor here.  Upper has scored 100 points in game this year, meanwhile Colonel Crawford has won a number of games in the 40s.  Winslow says they want a track meet.  "I am pretty sure they want to get into their half court offense and their half courts sets and we want to play an up and down transition game, so it is going to be a battle of tempo.  That is one thing we have talked to the kids about.  We want to get out and run and we have done a really good job this year of forcing tempo and not letting teams slow us down.  I think it is going to be a battle of them trying to make it more of a half court game and us trying to make it more of a fast paced game.  It will be interesting to see how that all plays out," said Winslow.

          The game is at Upper Sandusky and Winslow admits that makes it a little bigger for them.  "Anytime you go on the road in the "N10" they are tough games and it is nice to have this first game with them at home.  I expect a huge crowd.  We have been on the road quite bit, so it will be nice to get back home and play a game in front of a packed house and hopefully that works to our advantage," he said.

 

Published 1/08/16

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Upper Executing on Both Ends

 

          Upper Sandusky put on quite a show last weekend in scoring an average of almost 100 points in two wins in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play.

          They beat Seneca East (108-48) last Thursday and Bucyrus (85-33) on Saturday.  Granted not the best teams in the conference, but still a tremendous performance none the lest.

          Coach Jeff Winslow says the Rams are doing it with great effort and strong play on both ends of the floor.  "We are playing really well right now and we are executing guy one through guy 10.  With some of these bigger leads we have been about to play some younger guys for a quarter, quarter and a half and there is no let down.  We talked about us being balanced offensively and defensively the last time we talked.  That's what happened we are playing very well on the defensive end and then very well on the offensive end and it is just leading to a big margin of victory because we are just doing well on both sides of the ball," said Winslow.

          When a team averages more than 90 points a game you think of players with offensive skills and the Rams have that, but Winslow says they are playing excellent defense, which is setting up easy scoring opportunities.  "Not only do you get some easy lay ups off of some steals, but it just easier to get into our transition, secondary offenses where we are making some shots, we can outlet the ball and get right into our offense.  It kind of goes hand in hand, the better defense you play the better shots you get," he said.

          Upper Sandusky (7-0,5-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, plays host to rival Mohawk (2-4,2-3,) a (54-42) winner over Seneca East on Saturday.  Winslow says the Mohawks are starting to but some things together.  "Mohawk is very much improved team over the last couple of years.  Mike (Mathey) is doing a really good job.  He has had some young guys over the last couple of years.  They are starting to come around," he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday, "They are getting really good guard play.  Their two guards have been playing together for quite a while now.  Their point guard is one of the better point guards in the league.  He is going to be a tough match-up for us.  We will see (Monday) night how our defensive pressure will be able to handle him because he is quite a load and goes to the basket well and is a strong kid and he can shoot the basketball, so that is going to be an interesting match up for us."

 

Published 12/21/15

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Upper Gonna do Their Thing

 

          Upper Sandusky shares the lead in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference with Colonel Crawford and the unbeaten Rams have done it their way.

          In likely their best game of the season on Saturday night they destroyed Buckeye Central (69-42) in an "N10" game behind 26 points from Wes Vent.

          Coach Jeff Winslow says they played well on both ends of the court and that added up to a good win.  "We played a complete ball game.  It was definitely the best game we have played all year with our defensive pressure and getting out on the break and scoring in transition was really good on Saturday," he said.

          They were able to hold Buckeye Central's Grant Loy to only 14 points on the night.  Winslow says they are a balanced team that care score anywhere on the court, plus they are equally solid at scoring and defending.  "We can score inside and outside, we have people that can do both and people that score of the dribble.  Also, we can get out and guard people and score the basketball.  When you do both of those things who are going to be successful," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Right now, we are doing both of those things.  I really think it starts at the defensive end and when we apply that kind of pressure and we get after it defensively it leads to a lot of easy baskets.  It gets you going offensively when you do that."

          Upper Sandusky (5-0,3-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, travels to Seneca East (2-3,1-2) in a conference game of Thursday night.  Crawford beat Seneca East (75-59) on Saturday night.  Winslow says the Tigers have good post play and they can't allow them to get the ball down low.  "This team is much improved.  Coach Aichholz has done a really good job.  They have some athletes and some size and some strength.  He is doing a really good job getting them to play to their strengths and get the ball inside to their big guy.  He can be a load underneath.  Hopefully if we can apply defensive pressure and be able to take that away.  If we allow the ball to get inside it could be a long night," said Winslow.

          Starting the season with five straight wins is getting people to take notice, but Winslow says they are not about to change their approach to the game.  "We were kind of under the radar going in a little bit.  We try not to worry about that.  Our goal is to get better everyday.  We practice really well and we do everything the way we are supposed too.  We are going to play our style of ball.  I try to tell the kids they have to play us, we aren't going to play them.  A team might take some notice and try to make an adjustment.  We are just going to play our style of basketball.  We think if we do that the wins will keep coming," said Winslow.

 

Published 12/17/15

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Upper wants to Keep it Going

 

          Upper Sandusky handed Colonel Crawford its first loss of the season last Friday night and now they want to be able to take that momentum into the tournament with a win against Crestline on Friday night.

          Colonel Crawford shot just 23 percent, 11 of 48, from the field and Upper Sandusky coach Jeff Winslow says they made them take a lot of tough shots and then were able to get the rebound.  "We played a really sound ball game all around, but defensively I thought we just gave them fits.  We executed the game plan very well.  One of the great things we did is not only did we defend well, but it was one and done.  Sometimes you don't finish the defensive effort by getting the defensive rebound and we really did a good job of keeping them off the glass all night long.  We really keyed on making them take tough jumpers.  Entenmann had 21, but I thought everyone of his 21 was tough.  Holding Gulley to six points, he has been their sparkplug all year, that was big.  We also limited the opportunities of their other two shooters," said Winslow.

          Upper Sandusky (15-6,13-4), #5 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball poll in the large school division, plays Wapakoneta in the division two tournament a week from Friday.

          Winslow says their play has been pretty consistent all year long.  "People in the community have been saying how well we played, but we have been playing like that for most of the year.  We have had a few games where we have struggled a little bit, but other than that we have really had a solid year all of the way through and we are still young yet.  We play a freshman, a sophomore and three juniors.  At times you are going to be up and down with that.  It seems that we are playing well at the right time.  We are really defending and we are starting to click on offense, running with ball, and executing the way we want to execute.  Hopefully, we continue that Friday against Crestline," he said.

          Crestline (1-18,1-15) has struggled to get over the hump in a lot of games, but Winslow says they have an excellent player in Nate Coffman.  "They have not had a really successful season wins and losses wise, but the Coffman kid is the real deal, he may be the best post player in the league.  He is a really tough match-up because you have to honor the three with him, he can take you off the dribble, and he is just a beast inside.  He is averaging a double with 17 and almost 11 boards a game,  he is a huge concern coming in," he told Swankonsporys.com on Wednesday, "You have to keep him off the offensive glass, you have to limit his touches in the low post.  When he gets it going they have some shooters around him.  They can be a tough match-up at times.  They have just struggled to consistently play a game for 32 minutes."

 

Published 2/26/15

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Upper Feeling it Right Now

 

          Upper Sandusky averaged nearly 80 points a game in wins over Bucyrus and Mohawk last week in Northern 10 Athletic Conference action and the Rams really seem to be clicking.

          They beat Bucyrus (77-62) on Friday and Mohawk (80-48) on Saturday to remain in a share of second place in the league standings. 

          Coach Jeff Winslow says they are being really unselfish and aggressive in crashing the offensive boards.  "We are playing really well right now, especially offensively.  Our offensive efficiency is incredible right now.  On Friday night we scored on every possession in the second half except for five or six, something like that.  We are sharing the ball really well right now and you can tell that because we had 24 assists on 28 makes on Friday and it was 23 assists, something like that on Saturday.  For the weekend we had almost 50 assists.  Anytime you are sharing the ball like that you are going to be pretty good offensively," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Also, we have made a really effort to get after it in our two losses I though we were a little lackadaisical and you could tell that because we had 15 offensive rebounds on Friday and 18 offensive rebounds on Saturday, so anytime you can get that many offensive rebounds you know you kids are giving effort."

          Right now, Winslow says they are turning down good shots in order to great shots and that is why they are making such a high percentage of their looks.  "We didn't shoot well against Buckeye Central and Crawford there because we were taking good shots, but they weren't going down.  On Friday night we were getting great looks because we were making the extra pass and the pass was right on the money, so all we had to do was catch it and fire.  When you are that wide open your shooting percentage is going to go up.  Right now, we are passing up the good shot for the great shot and I think that is why we have been successful shooting the ball," he said.

          Upper Sandusky (14-4,12-3), #5 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball poll in the large school division, will be at Wynford (9-8,8-6) in a conference game on Saturday night.  Winslow says the Royals can put some points on the board.  "We like playing fast and they like playing fast and this has the potential of being a really fun basketball game.  They can flat out shoot it.  They have three kids shooting over 40 percent from the three point line in Tea, Miller and Crall.  If you let those guys get going it could be a long night.  They are almost at 40 percent as a team from three, they like to shoot a lot of threes and they like to get out in transition and get stuff going.  Their post player gets out in transition and gets some easy ones.  To shut them down in transition you really have to guard that three point line because they can light it up when they get going shooting the basketball," said Winslow.

 

Published 2/10/15

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Upper Faces a Solid Bucyrus Team

 

          Upper Sandusky is in a battle for second place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference and they would also like to have a good seed in the upcoming division two super sectional tournament.

          They play at Bucyrus on Friday night in a conference game.

          After losses to N10 leader Colonel Crawford (58-44) and Buckeye Central (45-42), the Rams responded to handle Seneca East (86-45) in conference game last Saturday and then beat Tiffin Columbian of the "NOL" (65-39) on Tuesday. 

          Coach Jeff Winslow says he was excited about how the players regained their focus.  "I thought it was a pretty good win for us on Tuesday night against Columbian, who is really big and physical team out of the "NOL."  I was a little worried going in about their size, but we played really, really well on Tuesday night and seemed to be on the right track and seemed to have a new motivational plan like a team on a mission right now," he said.

          Upper has scored some points this year, but Winslow says most times that is because their defense is giving them some easy opportunities.  He says their defense has really played well the last two games.  "I thought in our two losses our intensity wasn't what it needed to be, especially at the defensive end.  When we aren't playing good defense, we aren't scoring a lot of points.  We made an effort to talk about that and the kids responded by coming out and giving the proper effort and it just shows up defensively.  We were really physical and we were all over the glass and not allowing offensive rebounds and pressuring the ball and making things hard for the opposing team.  When you look at our games and when we score in the high 60's, 70's and 80's that is generally the result of our defense getting stops and being able to get out on the break and get some easy buckets," said Winslow.

          It was Upper Sandusky (12-4,10-3) winning the first match-up (81-53) on December 27, but Winslow says he knows the Redmen (10-5,8-5) are much better than they were that night.  He says they know what they have to do to win.  "I realize how good they are.  They are right there in the upper portion of our league standings.  They are really well coached, and Tony (Rose) does such a nice job, and they do a nice job of playing to their strengths.  They play at their pace and they do the things they do and they do them well.  The players seem to understand their roles and they don't try to do things that are outside their capabilities.  We handled them pretty easily at our place the first time.  I keep telling our kids they are for real and that wasn't the real Bucyrus team and they didn't play well at our place," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They are a team to contend with.  Saturday night they played Crawford and they gave Crawford a really tough game.  It was down to the last couple of minutes of the fourth quarter before that game was decided.  This is a team with double figure wins and they have won a lot of close games and they seem to be really tough at home.  They got us last year over there at Bucyrus."

 

Published 2/06/15

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Upper Doing it on Both Ends

 

          Upper Sandusky is big factor in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference race this year.  They are playing excellent basketball and trial conference leader Colonel Crawford by just a game.

          Jeff Winslow, in his second year as the Rams head coach, says they have been executing on offense and defense.  "I think that we are doing a very good job defensively at that end of the floor, which leads to our offense and we have rebounded the ball well all year.  Another thing that has been a nice addition is we have shot the ball pretty well.  Our kids worked hard all summer and fall long to become better shooters and we actually have some guys that can put the ball in the basket and that makes things a lot easier," he said.

          In a battle between two good teams last Saturday, Upper Sandusky outlasted Carey (78-74) in overtime behind 23 points from Carson Mittermaier.  Winslow says they showed some tenacity in order to get the win.  "It was a huge win for us.  They are our one blemish in our league this year.  We felt, and I know they are very good team, we felt we should have had that one and shot ourselves in the foot at the end.  We came out and we thought they would have trouble guarding us because we have five guys that can score on the court at any time and we thought they would have trouble with that and they did," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We actually had a pretty good lead going into the fourth quarter.  We kind of self destructed a little bit, but we righted the ship and made enough plays to win the basketball game.  I can't say enough about my kids and how they toughed that game out.  They could have folded after losing the lead and going into overtime.  Our kids really hung in there and they really felt we were going to win the basketball game."

          Upper (9-2,8-1), #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball poll in the large school division, will be at home against Ridgedale (5-8,3-7) on Friday night in an N10 game.  Upper won the first meeting (64-50) the week before Christmas.  Winslow says they have to keep their noses to the grindstone.  "I don't think their record is an indication of how good a team they are.  They are one of the scarier teams.  They have been in a lot of games and they are talented.  The Britton kid can score, but they have some other kids.  The Cannon kid and is really concerning a long with the Elder kid.  If those kids come to play they could be a tough out.  When we went over there they had a seven point lead on us at halftime.  There is no doubt we have to come out ready to play on Friday night or it could be a long night.  They run the Princeton style offense.  They want to hold the ball a little bit on you, work it, so you have to be on your toes," said Winslow.

 

Published 1/20/15

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Upper in Must Win Situation

 

          A win on Friday night at Galion and the Upper Sandusky Rams will likely make the division four playoffs and will have a chance to share the North Central Conference.

          In order to get part of that “NCC” title they would need Colonel Crawford to lose to a Crestline team that has only won one game.

          Upper lost a tough one to Crawford (28-27) last week.  Coach Jake Moyer says they just made too many mistakes early in the game.  “You can’t play a team of Colonel Crawford’s caliber and make as many errors as we did and expect to win.  We just made too many errors.  We did fight back.  We took it to a one point game.  It could have been anyone’s game there at the end, but unfortunately for us we just could prevail,” said Moyer.

          The Rams (7-2,4-2) also lost a one point overtime game to Bucyrus this season.  Moyer says those are the tough ones.  “The blowouts you can just kind of forget and let go, but the one point losses kind eat at you a little bit and we have had two of those this year,” he said.

          Galion (8-1,5-1) has a chance to secure the same things that Upper does and has the chance to lose the same things too.  Moyer says the Tigers have tremendous athleticism.  “Galion is a very solid team.  They have some great skilled kids on both sides of the ball.  Just looking at them on video I am very impressed by the quarterback and their running backs.  Their offensive line is pretty solid,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Defensively they have a lot of quickness.  They bring a lot of pressure from the outside.  They will play man to man in the secondary, so they have a lot faith in their skilled kids.”

          Darian Watkins is the Galion quarterback and a very good defensive back.  Moyer says he can make plays on both sides.  “We have seen him make plays on both sides of the ball.  He is a true athlete and that is why he is regarded as highly as he is,” he said.

          As far as the playoffs go, Moyer says it is all about what they do and it doesn’t depend on what happens around then, so they have to go out and get it.  “We kind of control our own destiny there in order for us to get in we have to win.  It is a really simple formula.  It is what it is we can’t depend on anyone else to get us in or take us out,” he said.

 

Published 10/30/13

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Upper Sandusky Battles Colonel Crawford

 

          Two of the three leaders in the North Central Conference lock horns on the Friday night as Upper Sandusky plays host to the Colonel Crawford Eagles.

          After losing in overtime the week before to the Bucyrus Redmen, Upper came out with fire in their eyes and took a 26-0 halftime lead and went on to down Buckeye Central (26-8) last week.  Coach Jake Moyer says they needed to finish the job better.  “We took care of business at least the first half.  We went in with a substantial lead at halftime and there was a let down there.  We tried not to let it happen, but when you are ahead by a substantial margin it is tuff to get them cranked back up for the second half,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “There was a lot of emotion that went into the first half and I think we were a little bit drained at that point.  It is our job to get them ready and it is their job to finish the second half strong and we are going to talk about that this week.”

          Colonel Crawford (7-1,4-1) comes in after an impressive (20-14) win over Wynford.  Their first win over the Royals in 17 years.  Moyer says they have a lot of good players, especially quarterback Nate Klingenberger.  “Our thoughts are the same as they were last year they are a very, very good team.  They return their starting quarterback, who is just an excellent passer.  He has some great receivers to throw to.  Their defense is playing fairly well.  They are going to a real adversary.  I really think they are one of the top teams in the league, not just because of the record, but because of the personnel.  Their coach has done a whale of a job getting them ready,” said Moyer.

          Although the Eagles can still fill the air with footballs, Moyer agrees that they are running a bit more this year then last.  “I think they are a little bit more of a balanced attack.  Last year they almost exclusively threw the ball, but he does so many things well.  He can throw deep.  He can throw medium.  He can throw the screen pass.  So, he is a rare bird,” said Moyer.

          Upper (7-1,4-1) also has an outstanding quarterback in Tylor Pritchard.  Moyer compares the two signal callers.  “They are similar in some ways yes and some ways no.  Klingenberger can really throw a nice, soft pass.  He can drill it when he needs to, but we use the phrase he can throw it in a bucket.  When he throws that long pass he gets a lot of nice arch on it and drops right down into his receivers arms,” he said.

          Colonel Crawford has given up two scores in each game of their current four game winnings streak and Moyer says their defense has shown a lot of improvement.  “We have caught them a couple of times on video the last few weeks with our film exchanges and stuff.  You can see their defense is getting a lot more confidence.  They are working hard at getting back towards the playoffs as we are and Galion is I know.  It is going to be a shootout I think,” he said.

 

Published 10/22/13

© Swabnkonsports.com    

 

 
 

Upper Set to Battle Back

 

          An overtime loss to Bucyrus last week cost the Upper Sandusky Rams, but not that much as they remain in a share of first place in the North Central Conference.

          Galion also lost in overtime and the Rams, the Tigers, Wynford and Colonel Crawford are all 3-1 in the “NCC” with three weeks to play in what is the final year of conference.

          Last week, Upper was down by 22 points entering the fourth quarter, but they made a big rally to get into overtime.  They went for two in overtime and coach Jake Moyer says he would do it again.  “What I have been telling people around here is and everyone that saw said it was just the perfect storm the entire first half.  If anything could go wrong it did go wrong.  That goes from the coaches all of the way down to the kids.  It was just a mess up the whole first half.  It was a bunch of different things, not just one thing in particular.  I was very proud of the kids because they regrouped at halftime.  They settled themselves down in the third quarter.  In the fourth quarter I am looking at the scoreboard and we are down 30-8 and I thought all my goodness what are we going to do?  Then all of the sudden the kids caught fire and they started gaining some confidence back and they went on a blitz and we tied the score up and went into overtime,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They scored first and made the kick.  When we scored and every kid in the huddle turned and looked me and held up two fingers and I said fine we are going to go for two, the kids wanted it, it’s their game, they had fought back, and they deserve an opportunity.  I am not sorry I made that decision.  It is just one of those things that happened.”

          One thing the coach has noticed in practice this week is the players, and the coaches, have been more focused.  “The practices have not been more intense, but I would say more focused.  I think with a lot of the hoopla that went on the last couple of weeks we kind of lost our focus just a little bit and now they are getting that focus back.  We had a very good defensive practice (Tuesday).  A lot of good drills were going on and (Wednesday) it is the offense’s turn and we are going to see if we can tune it up a little bit,” he said.

          Upper (6-1,3-1) plays host to Buckeye Central (2-5,1-3) in an “NCC” game this week.  It might be considered a trap game with Colonel Crawford and Galion coming up the next two weeks, but Moyer says he has a lot of respect for Buckeye.  “They play a very sound and solid offense and defense.  I don’t care what their scores or their record is it appears to me that they are playing it a little close to the vest, which is not necessarily a bad thing because they are trying to limit their mistakes on both sides of the ball.  If you eliminate those mistakes then you are giving yourself a better than even shot at winning.  So, I think they are doing a good job with their kids,” said Moyer.

          He says Buckeye Central is getting more healthy too.  “That is a scary prospect.  I think their running backs are their linebackers.  Those kids are pretty stout young men and they come to play,” he said.

 

Published 10/17/13

© Swankonsports.com      

 

 
 

Rams Plays Dangerous Bucyrus

 

          They are unbeaten this year and made the playoffs last season, but still when people talk about the best football teams in North Central Ohio they don’t seem mention the Upper Sandusky Rams.  That’s a mistake.

          Right now, the Rams (6-0,3-0) share the North Central Conference lead with Galion.

          Upper shut out Wynford (26-0) last week, holding the Royals to only 88 yards of total offense.  Rams coach Jake Moyer credits his defensive line for excellent play.  “The old saying is you people in the stands with offense, but you really win the games with defense and that we very evident on Friday night,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I thought that was the best our defensive line had played as a unit.  We were very proud of them.  They ran to the ball, which is what they have to do and they completed all of their assignments.”

          It was Upper Sandusky’s first win over Wynford since 2004.

          Upper is led by senior quarterback Tylor Prichard and Moyer says he is able to get them into the right formations and he is a playmaker.  The coach says his quarterback gives them great balance.  “That is the one thing we have going for us is we are definitely not one dimensional.  We have several very good young men we can throw to on the flanks.  We have a couple of very good running backs.  The hub is Tylor Prichard, our quarterback, who makes it all happen,” he said.

          Upper Sandusky plays at Bucyrus (2-4,1-2) on Friday night to take on the Redmen.  Bucyrus plays fast and runs a lot of plays on offense.  Moyer says that tempo shouldn’t bother them too much.  “That does present problems for us, not as much this year as in previous years, because we actually do that is practice ourselves.  So, our kids are pretty much used to that upbeat tempo and we see that just about everyday,” he said.

          Bucyrus quarterback Cole Murtiff has thrown for almost 1,400 yards and eight scores, but Moyer says the Redmen can run it too.  “I think they run the ball very well.  They have some speed in the backfield.  We really like their quarterback.  They have some speed on the flanks with their receivers.  Their lineman are good sized kids and run well so we are going to have our hands full (Friday),” he said.

          Upper Sandusky plays at Galion on the final week of the regular season, but Moyer says his kids are not peaking ahead at that match-up or any other game.  “Our kids have done a really good job and are battle tested.  We talk about that you have to take things one step at a time.  You can’t look ahead because surely you are going to get knocked off if you do that.  The kids have done a great job of focusing on the opponent at hand,” said Moyer.

 

Published 10/11/13

© Swankonsports.com   

 

 
 

Kicking Game Will be Huge in Upper-Wynford Battle

 

          Upper Sandusky plays host to Wynford in a key game in the North Central Conference on Friday night.

          They share the lead with Galion after the first two weeks of conference play in the “NCC.” 

          The Rams (5-0,2-0) dominated Riverdale (54-7) last week to keep their record unbeaten.

          Coach Jake Moyer had expressed some concern to Swankonsports.com last week about homecoming activities, but he says the players responded with great focus.  “We have a pretty mature bunch of senior kids.  I know sometimes they don’t act like it and I am sure their parents might disagree, but they are pretty good at focusing in when it comes to game time and competition and that really helps,” said Moyer.

          Upper has been able to put some points on the board this year against Carey (40), Mohawk (48) and Crestline (53) in their opening game in the league.  Moyer believes they can do a lot of different things.  “We are really multi dimensional.  We have a lot of different weapons and I think that makes us pretty difficult to defend.  We don’t rely on just one person all of the time,” he said. 

          Wynford had a long regular season winning streak snapped last year, but they still made the playoffs and this year they are undefeated in the league.  Moyer says they just know how to win.  “It comes from a lot of years of winning.  There is a belief system that goes in to that.  They believe they can win and they work hard towards that goal.  Every year it’s a great challenge they are well coached over there,” he said.

          Last year, Wynford beat the Rams (21-12) and Moyer knows they are going to be tough to beat this year too.  He says they do a lot of things well.  “I think it’s their consistency.  They have a real nice running game with Brown.  We are very concerned about him.  We are also concerned about their sprint pass game, which hurt us last year where they try to get to the edge and they made some great passes to defeat us.  Their defense is very solid.  We just know we are going to have a great challenge before us,” said Moyer.

          It should be a tightly contested game and if it is Moyer thinks that special teams are going to be a big part of the story.  “We have to take care of the football because turnovers will kill you.  The kicking game is paramount.  Anytime it is a tight game it usually comes down to the kicking game and field position,” said Moyer

 

Published 10/1/13

© Swankonsports.com       

 

 
 

Upper Sandusky Stressing Fundamentals

 

          With Galion, Colonel Crawford and Wynford, Upper Sandusky sometimes does not get the attention they deserve because the Rams are a very good football team, an unbeaten one in fact.

          They drilled Crestline (53-6) last week in the North Central Conference opener for both.  That comes after wins over Carey (40-19), Seneca East (28-27) and Mohawk (48-19) on week three.  Coach Jake Moyer says they work hard on fundamentals and it is paying off.  “We are pretty happy with the execution on both sides of the ball, but coaches are never satisfied.  We always want perfection even when it is really not attainable.  We are working very hard to get better at what we do.  We work hard on fundamentals every day and that’s where it starts,” he said.

          Upper (4-0,1-0) has some younger players that have earned a lot of playing time and that has made them a better team.  “What we have found is we have some good young players that are contributing heavily, which we didn’t know that they would be able to do,” Moyer told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We scrimmaged very tough opponents, which I really like to do.  That tells you really where you are.  I think that is very important.  We scrimmaged Mansfield Madison and River Valley.  Those are two very good programs, so we felt at that time that these young people just might be able to help us out and they are.”

          Moyer says they are showing some improvement in the trenches and that is what needs to continue to happen for them.  “The offensive line is a work in progress and we seem to be making small strides there.  That’s why we work our fundamentals everyday in practice.  The same thing with the defense too.  I am not really worried about my linebackers, we are in pretty good shape there.  The defensive line is getting better everyday.  I think we are pretty hard to run on,” said Moyer.

          Riverdale (0-4,0-1) comes to Upper for a conference game on Friday night.  The Falcons have been outscored 201-16 over the first four weeks, but Moyer says they are getting some of their better kids back off suspension.  “They had a few boys suspended from what I understand and they got those boys back last week.  So, you are getting some experienced kids back.  They should be getting back in pretty good shape and in game form.  We expect them to give us all we can handle on Friday night.  It is homecoming and there are a lot of distractions besides just the game, so we are really trying to work hard on our focus,” said Moyer.

          This could be a trap game for the Rams and Moyer says he has to make sure they players have the right focus.  “They are very distractible.  With homecoming courts and that stuff and the dance looming on Friday night it is tough to rein them in, but it is our job to do that,” he said.

 

Published 9/26/13

© Swankonsports.com   

 

 
 

Defense Still the Name of the Game at Upper

 

          Upper Sandusky truly plays like no other team in North Central Ohio.  They are very patient on both offense and defense.

          This season they have been a team of streaks.  They had a six game winning streak going until the past week when they lost to Ontario, Marion Harding and Bellevue.

          Coach Shane Adams says they need to more fully understand that defense is going to be what wins them games.  “It’s the ups and downs of a young team.  The mountains and the valleys and we have to get that figured out to get consistency.  The big thing we have to do is buy in 100 percent completely to our defense.  That slipped a little bit on our losing streak as we gave up too many easy baskets.  Rotating seven kids on most nights, sometimes eight we have had a tendency to get a little bit tired and lose our toughness down the stretch.  That’s part of maturing process.  That is what we are going to continue to work and do the rest of the year,” said Adams.

          Upper doesn’t have a bunch of gifted scorers, so they have to do it other ways and Adams says he wants his players to change their mental approach.  “There is definitely some growth.  They are looking at scoring points and understand that is where maybe they get the credit, but they have got to kind of switch that and understand it’s a team effort and you have to buy into that defense first because you have to have your defense every night to give you a chance to win, especially since we have been on the road the last three games and three more,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Six straight road games it is a test of your perseverance and your toughness.  That’s where you find out what you were made of and what kind of growth you have had and that is what we are working on.  We have to understand when you have difficult times in a game and how to fight through and get stops.  We have to focus on getting stops.”

          Adams says they can’t get too nervous about what the score is and concentrate more on what they need to do as individuals, especially on the road.  “It is a change in flow and change in rhythm and many times hostile environments.  You have so many things you can’t control.  What a team has to understand is to keep their focus, to understand you can only control the controlables.  That is tough, especially with a young team to go in and keep that in your mindset.  That’s where we need to grow more and more is that it’s a process.  You don’t worry about the scoreboard, you worry about the process.  If you do the process correctly the scoreboard takes care of itself,” he said.

          Upper Sandusky (7-7,5-2) plays at Crestline (3-11,1-6) on Saturday night.  Adams says they must do their thing.  “We have a fourth straight game on the road.  It’s not going to be easy.  There is a new facility.  Any time you go into play a hungry team in their house it’s going to be a tough environment.  We really have to make sure we take care of the basketball and play defense.  We will be focusing on defense,” he said.

 

 
 

Upper is Building

 

          Last year Upper Sandusky used a very patient offense and great defense to win the North Central Conference black division, but this year they are going to be a much more inexperienced team.

          Coach Shane Adams says there has been a pretty big learning curve for some of the younger players on the squad during preseason work.  “We have a lot of learning to do.  We are a very young team.  Going into Willard we have to play our very best with our young kids and our leaders.  We have three kids back from last year, two of which will be our big leaders,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Every day, every practice that we have had over these first few practices there has been a learning curve.  It will be interesting to see what we come up with on Friday night and whether or not we will be focused and disciplined enough to take that game plan into a tough place with a great coach and great team up at Willard.”

          Coaches tend to be nervous types always concerned that there are elements of the game they should be better at or offenses or defenses that they have not yet installed.  Adams says they have a lot of things they need to understand and execute better before Friday.  “To be honest the inconsistency of a young team.  We are still having a hard time communicating.  When you don’t communicate your rotations on defense are slow and when your rotations are slow you give up easy baskets and then you give up runs.  The same thing on offense in understanding spacing, roles, just understanding the chemistry of each other.  That just totally makes you nervous because you don’t know how they will adjust when that adversity hits.  Any game on the road there will be adversity and just staying composed and completing a game plan on the road will be the biggest goal for us on our first night out,” said Adams.

          Upper will be at Willard in their season opener on Friday night.  Adams knows it will be a challenge because Willard does so many things well.  “Willard does a great job.  They mix up defenses.  They can play man or zone.  They will press if they see the need to.  If they think our guards are venerable.  Offensively they have many, many different sets they run.  They also look to get out on transition.  Our shot selection will be very important.  To be truthful as young a team as we are it is hard to focus too much on what they do when we can not yet do what we do,” said Adams.   

 

 
   

Upper Sandusky Makes the Postseason

 

          Upper Sandusky is one of three teams to make the postseason playoffs out of the black division of the North Central Conference.

          The Rams (7-3) travel to Columbus Bishop Hartley (10-0) for a first round game in division four on Friday night.  The Hawks lost to Kenton in last year’s division four state semi-final. 

          Upper had sort of been the sleeper in the “NCC” this year, but coach Jake Moyer says they have shown steady improvement going into this season.  “We had a very good regular season.  We are really on track for changing the face of this program.  The first two years we were 2-8, then 1-9 and last year 5-5 and this year 7-3.  So, we feel like we are on the upswing.  My assistant coaches have done an excellent jog of preparing the kids.  They smartest thing I do is get out of the way and let them coach,” said Moyer.

          An 18-14 win over Ontario on week five likely was the stepping stone to the playoffs for the Rams. 

          Moyer says they like to get out and throw the football with quarterback Tyler Prichard, but they have the ability to run the football when called on too.  “We are basically a no huddle pass offense, however, we do mix in the run.  In many of our games we have had an exact 50/50 split between pass and run.  That puts the pressure on our opponent’s defense.  We feel we are on the right track,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday.  Prichard is also the Ram’s middle linebacker and Moyer says he is the keystone of their team.  “Tyler has done a wonderful job as quarterback and our middle linebacker.  He has a great understanding of the game.  He watches a lot of video.  He is schooled up very well.  We feel very good about Tyler and we get him again next year,” he said.

          Make no mistake about it the Hartley Hawks are a very good team, but Moyer says they are not unbeatable.  “They are a very, very good football team with a great tradition.  They have been in the playoffs a lot of times and have been very successful.  They have some great talent on their team.  They have one young man who is already signed or I guess looking at Notre Dame and they have another young man that will probably end up at Toledo.  They have some talent, but they are not unbeatable.  We are going to give it our best shot and we are just going to let the chips fall where they may,” said Moyer.

          Hartley doesn’t like to put the ball in the air very much, but Moyer says they have been forced to defend some other great ground games this year too.  “Probably a little bit between Ontario and Galion.  They’ve got some speed.  They’ve got some size, so they are pretty difficult to defend although they don’t throw the ball very much.  They are basically a ground attack, but they do it well,” he said.   

 

 
   

On to Another Challenge for Upper Sandusky

 

          There were not a lot of people talking about the Upper Sandusky basketball team at the beginning of the season, but there sure are a lot of them talking now.

          The Rams beat Colonel Crawford (36-24) last week to finish an impressive 12-1 in the North Central Conference this season and claim an outright black division title.  Coach Shane Adams, in his second year with the Rams, says they made some adjustments offensively in the second half against Crawford.  “We were excited with the win.  It’s a tough place to play.  They are a well coached team.  They have great skilled players and shooters.  We didn’t get our offense going early, we missed some shots, to their credit.  They missed some too and it was a close game at halftime.  We were able to come out and stay tough, keep our defense going, and get some easier baskets down the stretch and come out with a victory.  Now we move on to a new season,” said Adams.

          Upper (17-3), and #4 in the final Swankonsports.com basketball power poll in the large school division, plays Galion, a fellow member of the black division in the division two sectional semi-finals Tuesday night at Bucyrus High School.  Adams says they are not going to change much in their approach to the game for the tournament.  “Our whole motto all season long has been to stay humble, no matter if we win lose or whatever happens, we have to go back to work each an every day and improve.  It’s no different now.  They only thing that changes is it’s a brand new season and everything you have done is gone.  It doesn’t matter any more.  If you look back on it, you appreciate the journey, but now you have to move forward and live in the moment.  That’s exactly what we have to do.  This is a one game season,” Adams said.

          Upper beat Galion twice during the regular season 30-29 (in overtime) and 51-35 in the second game.  Adams says Galion has all of their players able to play in this game and that makes them tough.  “This is a tough athletic team that we have already played twice and both games were close.  We have to come out and play a great perfect game against a team that is healthy and has everyone back.  They have tough guard play, they have good inside play and they play hard on the defensive end.  So, they are going to be hungry, they are going to be ready.  They are going to be a tough match-up for us and they are going to be ready to play.  We need to stay humble and keep our poise and composure throughout the game,” he said.

          Galion has kids that have a variety of skills and they are tough to guard because of all of the things they can do on the floor.  “McCuen is an extremely great player.  When you have a 6-6 kid that can play inside with his back to the basket, he can face up at the elbows, he can shoot the three in transition.  He can move and screen, he can do everything.  It is tough for us to guard him,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Durbin can handle the ball outside, he can shoot the three ball from deep.  You have Trey Quaintance that also can shoot the ball.  You have good drivers.  They have the Huggins kid back, he is a 6-4 kid that hits the glass.  He’s athletic and runs the floor hard.  You have kids coming off the bench that don’t stop.”

          Upper Sandusky has won more than half of their games while not scoring 40 points in the process.  The tournament is typically a more half court kind of game and Adams says that what they do well.  “I believe by the end of the season most people’s transition defense is locked down, so you are not going to give up easy baskets.  It is a possession by possession game.  That have been our motto all season long is every position counts.  You have to take care of the ball and great a great shot every time down the floor.  The same with the defensive end and make sure they don’t get great shots.  I think that is the game of basketball in a nutshell.  It’s the teams that can execute on both ends that are going to be successful at this time of year.  We pride ourselves in being disciplined and detail oriented and the play great defense.  We aren’t going to change that we just have to make some adjustments to the scouting report and their personnel.  You can’t worry about the noise, the refs, or what everybody else is doing.  You just have to concentrate on what we do,” Adams said.

          Galion (9-11) has been up and down, but they have beaten Colonel Crawford, Ontario and Wynford this year.  Adams knows a win can not be taken for granted.  “They have beaten some very tough teams this year and have lost to some that probably think they shouldn’t.  They are a good team and very dangerous so we have to come out ready to roll,” said Adams.

 

 

 
   

League Championship Game in the “NCC”

 

          It’s unofficial, but it amounts to a league championship game in the North Central Conference on Friday night when Upper Sandusky, the black division winner, visits Colonel Crawford, the silver division winner.

          Upper (16-3,11-1) secured its division title with wins over Buckeye Central (54-40) and Bucyrus (36-18) last weekend.  Coach Shane Adams says the kids have just worked extremely hard this year and they are deserving of that division title.  “We are absolutely excited about that opportunity to come out and play the way that we did over the weekend, especially for our seniors as we are winding down the regular season.  We talked about it all season long one game at a time, one play at a time.  I think we have to keep that momentum going.  It was very deserving for the kids.  I think they worked very hard.  They believed in what we do.  They bought in whole heartedly and I am just proud of their effort.  Buckeye Central with the Erwin kid and the Finney kid, and several shooters, they played extremely well at our place.  You go into Bucyrus and they have incredible shooters on their own floor,” said Adams.

          As you can tell by the scores of their games Upper Sandusky plays very good defense and Adams says the kids have taken ownership of the importance of playing solid defense.  “We have defense written on everything we have and everything we do, it’s our identity.  We understand that there is no individual bigger than the team and nothing epitomizes that more than defense.  It takes heart, it takes effort, communication, all of the things combined together.  Our kids have really made sure that we take care of business on the defensive end,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “I guess what some people don’t understand about defense is it’s something you have to work on daily just like shooting the basketball.  The rotation, the communication, the footwork, is something you really have to commit to and it’s hard work.  It’s really a credit to our team for putting that work in each and every day.  I am sure there are some days when we go back to work that they aren’t very happy with the work that goes in, but at least now they can smile from the accomplishments dedication that they have had.”

          The Rams are also patient when it comes to their shot selection on offense.  Adams says they understand what a good shot is and how that allows them to contain the other team too.  “We talk everyday about every possession counts.  Every time we have the ball we have to do something good with it whether we get a lay up or a post feed or an open shot by who we want to shoot it.  I like the patience and discipline and I have been very happy with the players and their willingness to share the basketball and not being selfish in getting their shots and their points, but taking the best shot for the team each and every night.  That’s crucial for our success because good offense creates great defense.  If you take bad shots it gets run outs for the other team.  It makes your transition defense a lot tougher to play,” said Adams.

          Colonel Crawford (16-3,10-2) has enjoyed an outstanding season too.  The Eagles play nine guys on a regular basis and they are the top three point shooting team in the league.  Adams says they more than live up to their record.  “They are an incredible basketball team.  They are well disciplined and execute very well on offense, great shooters, great ball handlers.  They can be patient or play a fast game.  They average over 60 points a game.  They shoot the three point shot very well.  They don’t give easy baskets on defense.  I mean that’s why they are 16-3.  They are a very, very good basketball team and it will be a huge test for us, especially at their place.  We are excited to play a great team like Colonel Crawford and are just going in there and take one game and see what we can do and how well we can play,” said Adams.     

 

 
   

Upper Sandusky Can Clinch

 

          If things fall right, Upper Sandusky can claim the black division of the North Central Conference this weekend.

          Right now, the Rams own a two game lead over both Wynford and Ontario with three conference games to play. 

          Upper (14-3,9-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com basketball power poll for larger schools, plays host to Buckeye Central (9-8,5-5) in an inter-divisional game on Friday night.  They then travel to Bucyrus (6-11,3-7) for a black division game on Saturday night.

          In what has been an outstanding season for the Rams, one their biggest wins of the year came last Saturday night when they scored with one second left to beat Wynford (53-52) in an “NCC” game.  Coach Shane Adams says they have been talking about executing little things all season and on Saturday that added up to a win.  “We just got through talking all this week about inches and little things making the big things happen inch by inch whether it’s football or basketball.  You have got to pay attention to details whether it’s one point or one possession, no matter what it is.  I think it is very important for us to keep focused on the process,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “The Wynford game we were up as many and nine points in the third quarter and we lost that lead and were down by as many as five in the fourth.  In a one-point game every possession counts.  With four seconds left we were able to execute and get the ball in bounds and score and win by one point.  If you don’t think little things make big things happen that’s a big difference on that side of a one-point victory.  We have to keep building from there and learning for our mistakes, which we had quite a few, especially in the third and fourth quarter.”

          It has been somewhat of a disappointing year for Buckeye Central in basketball, they expected to chase Colonel Crawford a little more in the silver division.  Still, Adams says the Bucks have all of the elements of a good team.  “In breaking them down and trying to take this game in they are a very dangerous basketball team.  They are very senior loaded across the line.  They have got shooters at every position.  They have good size and good strength.  They are well coached and are able to play zone as well as man defense.  We have our work cut out for us.  We are going to have to come ready to play because they are a very tough team.  They want to be peaking at this time as well.  We have to stay humble as we always say.  We have to play with passion and stay to together and really concentrate on what we do,’ said Adams.

          With his team on the threshold of some pretty big things, Adams says one their real strengths is team chemistry.  “This team all year long since last March we have talked about it not being about one person, but it being about the team.  We really have to make sure we rely on everybody.  You know get rid of your ego and do your job.  We have kids that are accepting, and I wouldn’t even call it accepting because every role on the basketball floor is extremely important, especially when you’re buying in at the defensive end.  It’s five guys guarding the ball.  We have a very selfless team that really focuses on making others better.  I give all of the credit to our kids because they have really bought in and care about each other,” said Adams.     

 

 
   

Upper Can Take Two Game Lead

 

          Upper Sandusky can clinch no less than a share of the black division title in the North Central Conference with a win Saturday night at Wynford.

          The Royals are in second place in the division and are the only team to have beaten Upper in a conference game this year.

          Upper Sandusky (13-3,9-1) plays and unconventional style that often times keeps games in the 30’s if not lower.  Rams coach Shane Adams believes they take pride in defense and they also know what to do on offense.  “We pride ourselves on the defensive end of the floor.  It’s a place were you have to be unselfish and play with your heart and play for one another.  That’s kind of what we try and do each and every night out.  Defensively we try and make opponents work each and every night,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “It’s a credit to our kids on how hard they work.  The obviously the game plan and make sure you take great shots at the other end.  It is a cliché that defense wins championships and offense wins games, but good offense creates great defense.  You have to make sure to take care of the ball on one end and take great shots, play transition defense and play disciplined on both ends.”

          In the first match-up Wynford (38-36) came out on top and Adams says the Royals know how to win and they are not afraid to bang around a little bit.  “They have a winning tradition.  Their kids down there no how to win whether it is football, basketball or any sport.  They have a toughness about them.  They are well coached.  They are disciplined.  Their physical style of play and their ability to rebound the ball very well makes them a very tough team and a very tough match up for us.  They do what they need to do to get wins whether they have to play whatever tempo.  They are a tough match-up.  They got us at their place earlier in the season.  It’s a situation where we have to go down there and play our best to come up with a win,” said Adams.

          It is hard to run a fast break on Upper Sandusky because they get back so well on defense and never put themselves in a bad position.  Adams believes Wynford will try to run if they get the chance.  “Obviously they have some great athletes.  Seth Rall and Zach Chatlin are two of the top scorers in our league.  They can score on the inside and they can score on the outside.  I think they are very disciplined in their approach.  I think they will try and run when they can to get easy baskets, but I also think they don’t mind running us through screens and making us play defense on the other end.  Coach Ehresman does a great job of doing what’s best for his kids and puts them in a successful position.  I think when the moments arise I think they will try to push the ball up the floor and take advantage of their size inside,” he said.

          Adams has not wanted to talk about winning a division title or anything of that nature all season and he says they still just want to take things one game at a time.  “It’s a situation where you can never put too much into one game.  You have to really focus on the process and doing what you do and making yourself better each day.  Wynford poses a big match-up for us, no doubt.  They have tough kids.  They got us the first time though.  They have confidence.  The last time they were a month behind basically due to such a long run in football, so watching them now on film they definitely have their basketball legs.  They are conditioned and they are going to be a very tough match-up, especially at home in their place.  We have to focus on the process of what we have to do to become successful.  Stay humble and learn each and every day.  I think that’s the key for us is making sure we stay on task and improve every day,” said Adams.

 

 
   

Upper Sandusky Trying to Maintain Lead

 

          It’s a tight race at the top of the black division of the North Central Conference with Upper Sandusky with one loss, Wynford with two and both Ontario and Galion with three.

          Upper hosts Galion in a crucial game for both on Friday night.

          The Rams (11-3,8-1) have been really controlling the pace of the game and playing great defense to take command in the division.  They beat Ontario (32-29) and Crestline (42-27) in games that were played on Thursday and Saturday of last week.

          Upper Sandusky coach Shane Adams says they have really been relying on their defense and that part of their games has carried them to where they are now and last week was no exception.  “The Ontario game was a rescheduled Thursday night game.  It was a big game for us in the league.  They are a well coached team.  We squeaked one out there in a tight one by three in the end.  We had to rely on our defense.  Our offense wasn’t there on that night.  With Crestline the same thing kind of happened there.  We weren’t clicking on the offensive end, but our defense was good enough to hold us in that night.  A lot of things we have to do better.  I have to give credit to the kids.  They worked extremely hard,” said Adams.

          Galion (7-8,6-3) started the season very slow, but they have won five of their last seven games.  Adams says the Tigers are playing outstanding basketball right now and they will be a tremendous challenge for them.  “I believe they are playing as well anyone in the “NCC” right now to be honest.  You know, a new coach, first year, getting things implemented takes some time for kids to understand the communication of the system and expectations and build chemistry.  They are playing as good right now as they have all year,” Adams told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They have improved every week.  They have some great young guards out there that are very quick and can handle the ball well and shoot it.  Obviously the McCuen kid inside along with their other two bigs coming.  They have some great talent.  They are playing well together and playing extremely hard.  They are going to be a great challenge for us on Friday night.”

          Almost a total contrast to they way Upper has been playing the last month, Galion has been running the floor and looking to get quick, easy hoops.  Adams knows it’s going to be a battle for control of the tempo.  “I believe they have looked at what they do well and tried to find their strengths and get away from their weaknesses.  They have some quickness at the guard.  Their bigs are athletic and long.  They can get out and pressure you.  They can pressure the ball in a full court setting or a half court setting.  They also push the ball and look for easy baskets on the other end.  I think the kids are buying into it well.  They know if they play hard on the defensive end and get some deflections and steals it makes for easy run outs.  They also have good shot selection.  It’s nice to have all five guys on the floor be able to shoot from the outside,” said Adams.

          Upper has a chance to put some space between them and Galion, but Adams understands the race is far from other.  “You know, it’s so wide open with so many games yet to go and a lot of teams having to play each other, but it’s definitely a big game for us because we know that Galion is a very athletic team and they play extremely hard.  We definitely have it on our schedule as a big one.  We have to make sure that we focus on one game at a time.  Galion this week and then move forward.  You really have to execute at this time of year.  You have to make sure that on every possession it counts even more than it did early in the year when you were learning.  We have to make sure we go into Friday night and execute on both ends of the floor.  I’m sure Galion is going to come in and be ready to roll,” said Adams.

 

 
   

Upper Knows it Will be Tough

 

          Upper Sandusky, the black division leader in the North Central Conference, plays host to Ontario Thursday night in a game that was postponed last Friday.

          Upper (9-3,6-1) coach Shane Adams says he likes the fact that they were able to reschedule the game some quickly on the calendar.  “Obviously we would have liked to have played, but the snow didn’t allow for it.  We had a single game this week, so it makes it nice to have another double weekend.  We still have a day to prepare for Crestline,” he said.  It’s a double weekend, but there is a Friday in between and Adams says he has learned to adjust to that set up.  “As a younger coach I didn’t like it.  I liked to have them back to back so it gave you four full days to prepare.  Three days to really work hard and another day to sort of veer off.  I am learning now that it does give you and extra day to change gears and adjust, especially with young teenage gentleman.  Sometimes trying to change the thought process without a day in between can be difficult.  The Thursday, Saturday, we have enjoyed it the one time that we have had it this year,” he said.

          Right now, the black division is very tight with Upper Sandusky (6-1) in front followed by Wynford (5-2), Ontario (4-2) and Galion (5-3).  Adams knows they have a opportunity to create some space.  “You know, every game is important.  This one is a tough one against a very talented, well coached opponent, with skilled basketball players with good size.  We played in the first “NCC” game back before Christmas, so a lot of time and improvement has happened for both teams,” he told Swankonsports.com. “I think it’s a great time to go out and see how much we have improved.  We are happy it’s on our home court.  We want to make sure we protect our home court.  There are a lot of chips on the table there for this one, so hopefully we can bring our best because I know they will.”

          Ontario has had some games when they have put some points on the scoreboard.  Adams says the Warriors (7-5,4-2) have guys at all five positions that have a lot of skill and can do a lot of things.  “You look at any basketball team and you try to break down kids by their strengths.  They have great penetraters in their guards.  They have great shooters and they have three or four of them.  They have good quality posts whether you want size, quickness or skill.  They have some options to go at every position.  They are a tough guard.  I mean you have to be on your game.  They have kids that just make plays, they are competitors, so they are a tough match-up on any night.  We will have to play our best ball on Thursday,” he said.

          Upper Sandusky won the first meeting (61-46) by making 36 of 43 free throws.  However, Adams knows this is going to be a different challenge.  “One of the ways we have grown this season is adjusting to the way that referees call the game.  That is part of the maturing of the player and the team.  You never know how they are going to let you play on the inside or the outside.  I think defensively discipline is always a key.  Learning how to adjust to whatever the refs are calling.  We have to make sure to make the disciplined play.  Make the jump stop and make good passes.  Defensively trying not to reach and leave our feet.  Ontario being very athletic, very quick and able to get into passing lanes, they will make it tough on us,” said Adams.

 

 
   

Upper Sandusky Thinking About Themselves

 

          Upper Sandusky shares first place with the Wynford Royals in the black division of the North Central Conference.  They continue to be one of the best teams no one talks about.

          Maybe it’s because of the way they play.  Upper isn’t flashy, but the Rams (8-3,5-1) bring their lunch box to the game every night.  You would be hard pressed to find a team that works harder than the Rams.

          Last week, they beat a quality Tiffin Columbian team (55-49) out of the Northern Ohio League and then downed Riverdale (58-32) in an “NCC” game.  “I was just really proud of our kids.  They just came out and played very hard.  A tough game at Tiffin, they are extremely physical and well coached basketball team.  We knew going in there we would have to play very well to have a chance.  We executed down the stretch and made some free throws.  Getting out of there with a victory was big for our confidence.  At Riverdale we were tied early, but our kids started executing late,” said Upper Sandusky coach Shane Adams.

          Upper plays good, solid defense, but Adams thinks they can continue to improve in that part of the game, and they need too.  “I was proud of our effort this weekend, but there are definitely some things we will have to shore up, especially on the defensive end.  We continue to work on that.  We have a couple of tough games coming up.  It never gets any easier.  It’s a challenge every week for us and hopefully we get better each and every day,” added Adams.

          Upper plays host to the Ontario Warriors (6-5,3-2) in a crucial “NCC” game, especially for Ontario on Friday night.  In their first meeting on December 16, the Rams cashed in on 36-43 free throws and beat the Warriors in 61-46 in Ontario.  Adams says this will be a different Ontario team that they will see on Friday night.  “It’s all about the process.  That’s what we have to keep track of.  Executing what we do and trying to do what we do.  Obviously they are going to come in with a game plan.  A veteran coach like coach Balogh and great players and athletes for Ontario.  It’s tough for us match-up wise, so we have to play very hard team oriented basketball,” Adams told Swankonsports.com, “As long as we don’t make the event too big, the game too big and we focus on what we do.  Our whole week is going to be about discussing the little things.  If we do the little things correctly, the big things will happen.  We have them at home, so you have to protect your home floor.”

          Adams says they will look at the tape of the first game, but they not going to try the same formula because the Warriors will take advantage of that.  “Not at all, you can’t talk about the past.  That was something that has already happened.  Both teams have moved forward.  We have talked about being the most humble team in the state, in other words getting better every single day.  Growing and becoming better as an individual and then as a team.  I don’t think you can dwell on the past.  You can look and see what happened, but Ontario will do things differently and make adjustments that are necessary to get a win.  We have to make sure we come to play and give the best effort possible,” said Adams.

 

 
   

Upper Relying on Defense

 

          Upper Sandusky is tied for first place in the black division of the North Central Conference and if they are going to have a chance at the title it is going to be because of their defense.

          With some injuries they have had to change their approach to the game offensively and rely even more on the tough defense they have already been playing.

          The Rams (6-3) play at Tiffin Columbian (7-2) in a non-conference game on Thursday night.  Of course, these schools up until this year were in the same league, so they are familiar with each other.  Upper coach Shane Adams says the Tornados are a physical team that can do a lot of things.  “They are a very good team.  Well coached by coach Beaston.  They play great man defense.  They bring back four seniors.  A great post in Heminger.  A couple guards with Lonsway and Boyer and then of course a great scorer in Loura.  They have a great foursome there and they have role players all around that do a great job off the bench.  They will be a great beast in the “NOL.”  They have had a couple of tough losses.  Coming off football season they are a couple of weeks behind, so they are just getting their basketball legs back.  It will be a very tough game for us to go in there and compete with a very tough Tiffin team,” said Adams.

          Adams says they have to be able to compete with Tiffin’s physicality to have a chance to win.  He says Tiffin is going to make it tough for them to score.  “They have tough kids.  That’s what makes them tough on defense.  They like to grind it out.  They are strong going to the basket.  At the offensive end they have four or five players that can step out and shoot the three point shot.  Defensively they make you earn everything you get.  They are just a tough opponent all the way around, well rounded.  They are senior led, so they have that experience and they have that football toughness to go with it.  It’s going to be a tough challenge for coming off a loss to Wynford last week,” said Adams.

          Last week, Upper beat Galion (30-29 in overtime) and lost to Wynford (38-36) in games that were very slow paced.  Adams says an injury forced them to alter their style a little bit.  “I think to understand the story of our season.  We lost Justin Mattic he is one our best athletes.  He is an inside and outside presence.  He was giving us four and half steals a game and five offensive rebounds, which gave us more possessions.  He was also averaging 12 points a game.  When you lose a player like that out of your lineup it changes some roles.  They have to learn to step up into those roles, so our scoring has been down,” Adams told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “What we have to learn that we have always hung our hat on defense.  We have to make sure we get stops so we have a chance to win on every night.  That’s kind of what last weekend went into.  It was an ugly game.  Obviously, getting a 30-29 overtime win over Galion wasn’t what we were looking at.  What we wanted we to go in there and have our defense give us a chance to win.  The next night against Wynford the offensive rebounds killed us.  We couldn’t keep them off the offensive glass.  They got us by a bucket in the end, but I was proud of our kids.  They stuck to the game plan and tried to do it.  As we try to establish new roles for our players we try to hopefully move forward and grow every week.”

          Upper Sandusky plays at Riverdale in an inter-divisional game in the “NCC” on Saturday night.  Adams says they need to make Riverdale adapt to what they do.  “The tough thing is in the “NCC’ every night with so many schools so close.  We have to be prepared every night out.  We have to improve our game and really focus on us.  You never want to say it’s not about the opponent, but at some point you have to make sure you are getting better each and every day.  Riverdale, being just down the road from us, they will be ready to play and going to their place it’s a tough place to play.  We have to do a good job of establishing what we want to do by dictating not only tempo what they kind of shots we want.  They have some good outside shooters,” said Adams.     

 

 
 

 

Upper Plays Well

 

          Upper Sandusky beat two very good teams over the past weekend, but the Rams still know they have to get better if they want to compete for a division title in the North Central Conference.

          They certainly got started on the right foot when they defeated Ontario (61-46) in an “NCC” game last Friday and then backed that up with a win (57-40) over previously unbeaten Carey of the Midland Athletic League on Saturday night.

          Upper Sandusky coach Shane Adams has already addressed with his team that they have to keep on an even keel and not get too cocky just because they beat two good teams.  “We have talked about it all year long that we have to stay humble.  You are never as good as you think you are when you win and you are never as bad as you think you are when you lose.  The goal is to focus on the process and do the things we need to do every week.  One of the things we talked about that the beginning of the season is to be the humblest team in the State of Ohio,” he said.

          It was the free throw line that was the difference for the Rams versus Ontario.  They made 36 of 43 charity tosses for 83 percent.  Adams says they don’t always make that kind of percentage, but they were able to make them when they had too.  “I would say that isn’t always true of us, but on that night we were able to hit them when we had too.  We work on it everyday in practice of course.  Ontario is a very talented team with a great coach.  We knew going in there that we had to execute our game plan.  I thought our kids did a good job of doing exactly what we went in there to do.  Ontario with a back-to-back, they had Shelby coming in their house the next night, so we might have caught them on an off night.  In the “NCC” we have to play them again and we were just happy to get out of there with a win,” said Adams.

          Upper Sandusky (3-1) is off to a solid start, but Adams knows they have a lot of work to do on both offense and defense if they are to reach their potential.  “There are a lot of things we have to work on.  Each and every day defense is our top priority.  We break it down to individual all they way to team defense.  Our offense even works to build our defense,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Our turnovers here lately have really cost us and that’s one thing we have to do a better job with.  Sometimes I think kids when they play the game try to make that spectacular play rather than the fundamentally sound play.  We talk about the pass that comes before the pass that leads to a score is just as important.  We work on team offensive basketball.  Hopefully, each and every week we can build on the foundation.  Each and every night it seems like we have had a kid step up.”

          Upper travels to Lucas for perhaps the first meeting ever between the two schools in basketball.  Lucas (0-5) is a young basketball team that has struggled so far, but Adams knows they can take nothing for granted.  “Well, you know, it’s a road trip for us.  It’s that game over Christmas break that kids are out of school and on any given night, you have to be ready to go when you play on the road.  Lucas has a couple of kids scoring in double digits.  They are doing some things to get better each and every week.  We just have to concentrate on what we do.  What we focus on is what we do and try and take some things away they do.  We have been trying to focus on the things we did wrong against Ontario and Carey.  Hopefully we can go on the road and compete on Friday night,” said Adams.  

 

 

 
   

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