Senior leadership is key to success for Tiger hoops

on and off the court this season

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (November 18, 2020)  – This, fourth in a series of high school winter sports previews on Loveland Beacon, takes a look at  2020/2021 Tiger Men’s Basketball.

Seniors returning from LHS Tiger Mens Basketball Team from 2019-2020 will be key for this season (Provided)

Coach Rob Reis enters his sixth season as head coach of the Loveland High School Men’s Basketball program after the team posted a 12-11 overall won-lost record and a fourth place finish in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference (ECC) with a 7-7 league record last season. Six players graduated from last year’s team including Collin Hedgepeth, Brenton Foust, Alec Soth, Ian Cox, Sean McElveen and Tripp Towle. Reis has his focus on returning seniors to help improve during the season and do better than the first-round loss to Lakota West last postseason.

Reis named four Tiger seniors on this 2020/2021 roster as key contributors to watch. Aaron Krabacher stands out as one of the top returning seniors. He averaged 4.7 ppg last season and considered by the coach to be an “excellent shooter and rebounder.”

“Great leader with a great work ethic,” said Reis when talking about Krabacher. “He led us through the COVID summer by showing up to the gym almost every day.”

Coach Reis also pointed to senior Sam Cox (2.0 ppg last season) as one of the top returning players.

“Good shooter- shot 47.6 – percent from 3 point last season – and an elite defender,” Coach Reis said. “He is also a great leader with a great work ethic.”

He describes Krabacher and Cox as the primary top returning seniors on the team.

“Both of these young men are as good a leader as any coach could want or ask for,” said Reis. “They have helped us continue to build a program culture where our players are accountable to one another. Coaches can focus on coaching technique and strategy. Our senior leaders make sure our players are motivated, focused and working with a sense of urgency.”

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Drew Gleason and Zachary Danner are two more seniors who had great summers improving their game. Reis says Danner’s summer attendance was “phenomenal” and he’s ready to make the jump to varsity basketball. He’s shown strength in his play around the basket and in rebounding. Hard work in the weight room is paying dividends for Gleason getting the ball to the rim in transition and in the halfcourt. Casey McCluskey, Caleb Herbon, and Pete Craft are other seniors Coach Reis expects to contribute.

“We’ll lean on our seniors quite a bit,” Reis said, “especially with so much practice time lost to quarantined players.”

It’s no surprise Reis points to the lost practice time from quarantined players as maybe the biggest concern going into the season.

“Luckily we have great kids who have put in a lot of work during the off-season,” he said, adding what it will take for the Tigers to find success on the court this season.  “If we can be a strong defensive and rebounding team. . . Everything starts with our defense. We want to be a mentally and physically tough team. Offensively, we want to be very balanced, with multiple scoring threats; as well as a balance of outside shooting and attacking the rim.”

Looking at the league and top games on the schedule, Coach Reis used the words “balanced” and “no clear favorite” to describe the league. Another word he used is “unknowns” as a result of three new teams in the league with the addition of Lebanon, Winton Woods and Little Miami along with several new coaches.

“I think there are several teams that have a chance at the league title,” Reis said. “It should be a battle every single night in our league and we can’t wait.”

The wait won’t be long with the opener on the road at Harrison less than two weeks away on Tuesday, December 1, followed by the first league game at West Clermont that Friday, December 4. The first Tiger home game follows on Tuesday, December 8, as Loveland hosts Walnut Hills at 7:30 p.m.

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