TOLEDO — Four Cumberland boys are back from last year's 16-12 basketball team, one that went 4-1 in the Little Okaw Valley Conference Southeast Division.
Among the four is last year's JG-TC Player of the Year, Tyson Magee, along with JG-TC All-Area player Zach Wolke. Connor Butler and Gabe Hatfill are the other two. The four together averaged 42.8 of the 57.7 points per game last season.
The Pirates are 2-3 this season and are to play host to Casey-Westfield Tuesday.
"Our overall size and length and our athleticism and shooting are what I hope to be the strengths of the team," said Cumberland coach Justin Roedl.
Magee led the JG-TC in scoring at 20.6 points per game, led the Pirates in steals (1.7) and shot 48.1 percent from the field, including 36 percent from beyond the three-point line. He averaged 2.3 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game.
Wolke, a first-team all-LOVC player, averaged 14.8 points, 4.1 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.5 blocked shots per game. He also shot a team-leading 38.3 percent from beyond the three-point line.
"I feel we are a decent-sized team and have some kids that when they want to, they can get up and down the floor," said Roedl, whose team allowed an average of 55.5 points per game last season.
"We have been working on defense, communication, work ethic and playing four quarters," said Roedl, who emphasized defense.
A total of 23 players are on the roster, including seven freshmen, three sophomores, 11 juniors and two seniors. The other senior besides Magee is 6-6 Logan Devall.
"Having a lot of upperclassmen back is a plus when it comes to plays and understanding what we want from them on both ends of the floor," said Roedl. "Plus it has made the transition in practice smooth because they know the drills and what we are going to do. It was also nice to have a few that have played or started varsity ball in the past to get us through the first game jitters."
Gone from last year due to graduation are three players, including second-team all-SE Division player Mike Wolke, who averaged 7.6 points per game.
Roedl said he would like to get up and down the floor as much as possible.
"The only problem is we are not in basketball shape yet, and it has really shown over the first week or so of games," said Roedl.
Hatfill is 6-4 and averaged 3.6 points per game last season and is at 6.8 so far this season. Butler averaged 5.3 points per game last season, while Magee is 6-2 and averaging 20.2 points per game so far this season, while Wolke is 6-3 and scoring 22.4 points.
Cumberland lost to Marshall 52-45 and in its own Thanksgiving Tournament beat Altamont 71-57 and Edwards County 73-67 before falling to Newton 81-76 and Charleston 80-74.
"Overall we have shot the ball fairly well, and the new kids and freshmen are catching on fast," said Roedl.
Roedl said the team is currently not a deep team.
"We have been dealing with some injuries and other things that has forced some inexperienced players into games earlier than we wanted," said Roedl. "Add that to the fact we are still working on condition side of things along with a fairly tough start to our schedule has made things a little rough."
Roedl sees the division as well balanced and one of their goals is to win the division.
"We have goals to play for a championship in every tournament we are in this year along with winning the regular season division championship," said Roedl. "We would like to win more games than we did last year and advance further in the regional."