The Alter boys high school basketball team is experiencing some growing pains. Three starters returned from last season’s surprise final four squad. But it’s who didn’t return that has had the most impact.
The Knights (2-7) fell to rival Chaminade Julienne 64-59 in overtime on Tuesday night at Trent Arena. It was Alter’s fifth straight loss.
“I told (CJ) Coach (Joe) Staley before the game started, it’s always easy being the assistant,” said first-year Alter coach Eric Coulter, who drew the unenviable task of following Joe Petrocelli as the Knights’ main man following his retirement from coaching last spring.
“You have the best job in the world being an assistant. You can offer suggestions and it’s up to the coach to take them or not.”
Juniors Michael Schwieterman, Dean Lemon and Kraig Howe all are returning starters and will be key if Alter is to jump-start its season. But missing is super guard Jaaron Simmons, now a freshman at the University of Houston. And, of course, “Petro.”
Coulter had a couple of terms as a Knights assistant before landing the head coach job. “Petro” was the only Alter coach in program history until retiring. He amassed 800-plus wins.
“Following a legendary coach is very difficult; there’s no doubt about it,” Coulter said. “But the kids make it special. The place (Alter) is a special place and hopefully we can get it turned around.”
- Trotwood-Madison has dropped a Jan. 25 boys basketball game against Middletown. Rams athletic director Guy Fogle said that was done because Trotwood played in the Midwest Showcase last month at Indianapolis.
That nixes an intriguing matchup that apparently will play out next season. Mark Baker, in his first season as the Middies head coach, previously was the head coach at Trotwood.
Already at the maximum 22 regular-season games, Trotwood (8-0) chose to drop Middletown (7-3) over other remaining non-league games against Prime Prep (Texas) at Flyin’ to the Hoop, Dunbar, Alter and Lakota West.
- Unbeaten Versailles (8-0) suffered an unlucky break when all-world junior Kyle Ahrens snapped a tibia and fibula in a recent holiday tournament game against West Liberty-Salem.
According to the Greenville Daily Advocate, the highly sought-after 6-foot-5 junior won’t require surgery but isn’t expected to return this season.
Just five points shy of scoring 1,000 for his career, Ahrens has multiple scholarship offers but is uncommitted. Among the many offering are Dayton, Xavier, Cincinnati and Michigan State. Ahrens was a key member of the Division III state runner-up Tigers last season.