BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
OWEGO - Owego head coach Chris Evans referred to last season as a "stellar 17-5 campaign" in which the Indians finished as the Section IV Class B runner-up.
"We started last season in Atlanta at the Craig Sagar Memorial and finished up in the Section IV Class B championship game against an excellent Seton CC squad that finished a basket away from a state title," Evans said. "Although we finished short of our goal (a sectional title), we still managed to finish with the best OFA record since 1991."
The Indians return some talent, but will also need to replace some talent.
Three-year starters Kobe Bogart (6-foot-5) and Christian Sage (5-9) lead the way. Bogart averaged nearly 21 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while Sage averaged 17 points, 4.5 assists and three steals per contest. Both first-team All-STAC performers.
"They will be counted on to carry a heavy load," Evans said.
Joining the starting lineup will be the athletic Rob Merrill, a 6-3 forward whom Evans says excels in the open floor.
"He will be counted on the replace all-defensive stalwart Cam Neira, who is now playing soccer at BCC," the coach said. "This senior trio is joined by fellow classmate Isaiah Bishop who will have to replace Will Donovan as one of our primary rebounders and interior defenders. The other big loss from last year, long-range shooter Dylan Evans, will be ably replaced by JV call-ups Evan Hamed (6-2) and Brendan Evans (5-7), both of whom are shooters with great range.
"Another JV player from last year who will be counted on to man the interior this year is 6-3 Michael Wasyln, a strong presence who has had a superb preseason. And still another newcomer to the varsity squad who has enjoyed a strong preseason is Nate Bennett (5-9), a guard who will see his share of minutes.
"Hoping to work toward more minutes off the bench will be 5-11 senior Damien Plater, 6-3 senior Collin VanVorce, 5-9 junior Jozelle Race, 5-11 junior Cole Taylor, 5-10 junior Devon Johnson, 5-11 junior Joey Higgins, and 6-4 junior Cooper Phelps."
Owego opens the season tonight at 6 p.m. in the STOP-DWI Tournament at Binghamton against Norwich, the 2017 Class B champs. Binghamton hosts Vestal in the other game and The winners will meet Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
"Although we still play a schedule filled with Class A and AA teams, we still hope to have a successful season - working toward another successful post-season," Evans said.
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