Boys Basketball: 2018-19 team-by-team preview capsules

Boys Basketball: 2018-19 team-by-team preview capsules
Liberty coach Brian Tombs directs players during the first half of the Lions' win over Century on Feb 26, 2018. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times)

Coach: George Wunder, 17th season

Last year’s record: 15-8, 7-5 county


First game: Dec. 7 at Franklin

Key losses: Azariah Knox, Zach Owings

Key returners: Jacob Diehl, senior G; Matt Huber, senior F; Jared Lamb, senior F; Carter Truby, senior G; Justin Wunder, junior G

Outlook: The Knights bring back their share of talent, despite losing a first-team all-county forward in Owings. Truby returns, and was second on Century in scoring a season ago at 13.7 points per game. Lamb led the team in field-goal percentage at 51.5, while Truby made 33 percent of his 3-pointers. “We are excited with the experience that we have returning from last year’s team and are now focusing on building team chemistry with the new players on the roster,” Wunder said via email.

Francis Scott Key

Coach: Ryan Kimble, 11th season

Last year’s record: 12-13, 6-6 county

First game: Dec. 6 vs. Catoctin

Key losses: Josh Brown, Amir Cole, Anthony Murray

Key returners: Matt Diehl, junior F; Greg Mullinex, senior G; Tim Shifflett, senior G; Noah Vipond, senior F; Kyle Williams, senior F

Outlook: Key lost 80 percent of its regular contribution last winter, Kimble said via email, led by a first-team all-county pick in Cole. But the return of Vipond (14.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) is a welcome sight for the Eagles, who will have several new starters this season. “We will work to keep improving and hopefully make some noise as we reach deeper into the season and into the playoffs,” Kimble said via email.


Coach: Brian Tombs, 7th year

Last year’s record: 20-4, 12-0 county (champs)

First game: Dec. 7 at Frederick

Key losses: Steven Goetz, Ronak Morgan, Jack Selby


Key returners: Cam Blankenship, senior G; Tristan Kent, senior C; Jack Merchak, senior G; Peyton Scheufele, junior F; Connor Stewart, junior G

Outlook: The reigning county champs made program history last winter, but fell short of capturing a regional title. This year’s quest gets help with the return of Kent, last winter’s Times Player of the Year, who led Carroll in rebounding (10.3 per game) and field-goal percentage (64.9). Scheufele and Stewart are also back to add depth. “Looking forward to see how our guys respond to last season’s success,” Tombs said via email.

Manchester Valley

Coach: Bernie Koontz, 10th year

Last year’s record: 5-18, 2-10 county

First game: Dec. 5 at Catoctin

Key losses: Bo Schene, Justin Shipley

Key returners: Dayne Koontz, senior G; Tommy Murray, senior F; Hunter Olshefski, senior F

Outlook: Filling the void of a 1,000-point scorer is Man Valley’s main objective on offense. Schene graduated after surpassing 1,100 career points and earning first-team all-county honors. The Mavs also lost Shipley, who averaged 9.0 points and 5.1 rebounds last winter. “The team has a good balance of guard and post play,” Bernie Koontz said via email. “We are hoping to have a balanced attack on offense and work to improve on the defensive end of the floor.”

South Carroll

Coach: Jim Carnes, 4th year (30th overall)

Last year’s record: 13-11, 8-4 county

First game: Dec. 5 at Catoctin

Key losses: Matt Gamble, Josh Kaye, Cody Parks, Kollin Pavlik

Key returners: Ryan Gallagher, senior F; Mason Gavin, senior G; Dylan Graham, senior G; Andrew Warehime, senior F

Outlook: Carnes said via email the Cavaliers have been beset by injuries, and for starters they look to replace their leading scorer from a year ago in Parks (12.8 ppg). Parks also grabbed 5.1 rebounds per game, while Gamble averaged a county-best 2.6 steals. Graham is back after averaging 12.1 points as a junior. “We hope to be competitive,” Carnes said.


Coach: Brett Kanther, 4th year

Last year’s record: 11-11, 7-5 county

First game: Dec. 7 vs. Thomas Johnson

Key loss: Shaun Blaney

Key returners: Jacob Busic, senior F; Drue Giles, senior G; Joe Wright, senior F

Outlook: Giles is back after a first-team all-county campaign last season, when he averaged 13.3 points, 3.4 assists, and 2.3 steals. Giles also made 77.3 percent of his free throws. Westminster gets some football bodies in the post with Busic and fellow senior Christian Etchison. “Success will hinge on team chemistry and players’ commitment to embrace/accept their roles,” Kanther said via email.

Winters Mill

Coach: Devon Lesniak, 2nd year

Last year’s record: 2-21, 0-12 county

First game: Dec. 10 at Hereford

Key loss: Devin Callahan

Key returner: Chandler Gentzel, junior G

Outlook: The Falcons can only improve after a winless CCAL record last season, and they bring back their leading scorer to help boost the offense. Gentzel averaged 15.3 points, fourth most in Carroll, and led the county in 3-point percentage at 40.7 (44-for-108). Callahan chipped in with 9.1 ppg, so he'll need to be replaced on offense. “We have a very young and inexperienced team but practices have shown good energy and been competitive,” Lesniak said via email.