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BOYS' BASKETBALL: Huron League Preview (PHOTO)

Grosse Ile's Danny McCarty

The Huron Chiefs narrowly missed out on a Huron League basketball title last year and will aim for just a little higher finish this year with a new coach at the helm.

First-year Coach Joe Cieslak will take over for Huron and will rely on three returning seniors to lead the Chiefs.

Bill Ames returns and will play guard and forward for the Chiefs while 6-foot, 6-inch Tony Flaim mans the post. Karan Ghuman will play on the wing and will be relied on as a defensive stopper throughout the season.

Junior point guard Tyler Olson will run the offense while fellow junior Zach Schlarb will provide solid rebounding and defense in the post.

Other contributors will be junior guard Justin Wolber, senior forward Tom Eskew, senior guard Anthony Stone, sophomore guard/forward Chris Schultz and junior forward Cameron Cox.

“We’re a smart team and we shoot pretty well from the outside,” Cieslak said. “We’re in the process of getting to know them better and seeing what we can do.”

“We’re still in the getting to know each other stage and we’re probably going to play a combination of defenses until we see what works best,” he added. “We’ll probably run a bit more than they have in the past.

The Chiefs opened the season against Garden City last night and will take on Woodhaven on Tuesday.



Grosse Ile

With a number of key returners from last year, the Grosse Ile Red Devils will look to their team leaders to push them near the top of the Huron League standings this winter.

“We want to be in that top half,” Grosse Ile Coach Bryan Friel said. “Last year we came in fourth and I’d like to improve on that.”

Senior guard Brian Christen, senior guard Will Sassack, senior forward Tyler London and senior center Keeton Ross all return to the Red Devil starting lineup.

Senior Danny McCarty will play a key role in the Grosse Ile backcourt and senior Jordan Nellenbach returns to the court after missing last year with a broken leg.

Junior forward Tom Daly will see a lot of time as will sophomore guard Andrew Mitroka, junior center Ramone Stewart, junior forward Grady Bennett and junior guard Eric Smorch.

“Our top guys are very experienced,” Friel said. “We’re trying to be a little more aggressive defensively and more up tempo than last year.”

The Red Devils hosted Woodhaven last night in the season opener and will travel to Roosevelt on Monday.



Riverview

Riverview also welcomes a new coach and he, too, will rely on senior leadership throughout his inaugural season with the Bucs.

Sam Lamb takes over for JJ Hatzl and has a group of five seniors that will pace Riverview this winter.

The Bucs will likely feature an all-senior starting five with Khalil Neal at the point, Connor MacDougall at shooting guard, Max Mousouleas at small forward, John Hutchinson at power forward and Nate Salletich at center.

Greg Burris and Nolan Glime, both sophomores, will both see a lot of time for the Bucs.

Also in the mix will be sophomore guard Drew Kroull, sophomore center Todd Kissel, senior guard Jonathan Houdek, junior forward Alex Dubois and senior guard Tyler Kouts.

“We’ve got a whole new offense and system for the kids, so it’s going to take time for them to adapt to the new situation,” Lamb said. “We’re going to be looking to push the ball a lot more and pressure teams man-to-man.”

Riverview opened with Anderson last night and will take on Roosevelt tomorrow night.



Flat Rock

Looking to improve on a four-win season from a year ago, Flat Rock returns a pair of senior captains who will look to lead the Rams to a better finish.

Shooting guard Mike Chickeral returns after breaking his foot seven games into last season.

Fellow captain Mike Blosser will be a force in the post for the Rams and will likely lead the team in rebounds once again.

“Those two are the leaders, the heart and soul of this team,” Flat Rock Coach Dave Bogataj said.

Of the 12 players on the roster, 11 have had varsity experience before.

Three-year varsity player Greg Simpson will play the point for the Rams this season and will be joined by senior Mitchell Mayberry and Justin Nichols in the starting five.

Senior forwards Colin Knoch and Daris Hampton will see plenty of time for Flat Rock as will junior forward Matt Vack and junior guards Kevin Fritz, Mike Mayberry and Cody Ratcliffe.

“We’re not very tall, so we’re going to try to use our speed,” Bogataj said. “We’re going to have to be physical and athletic to make up for our lack of size.”

Flat Rock opens the season on the road on Friday with a trip to Dundee.

Last Updated: 12/4/2012 1:41:31 PM EST

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