Jacob Daniel wants to see toughness from his St. Charles Preparatory School basketball team.
The fourth-year coach has no starters back from a team that finished 13-7 overall last season after losing to Zanesville 41-26 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
But Daniel believes his team will be competitive with a hard-nosed defensive attitude.
"Our foundation for what we like to do starts with defensive toughness," said Daniel, whose team finished 4-4 in the CCL last season, behind Watterson (7-1) and Hartley (6-2) and ahead of DeSales (2-6) and Ready (1-7). "The players have bought into playing tough man-to-man defense in the past, and we want them to buy into playing football on the hardwood. That's the way things are in the CCL."
The roster includes seniors Russell Bateman (5-foot-10, forward), Joe Flynn (5-9, guard), Dan Loesing (6-0, guard), Michael Lutter (6-0, guard) and Bryce Spees (6-0, guard). Also on the team are juniors Ben Hale (6-1, forward), Matt Hennessey (6-4, forward), Sean Hennessey (6-3, forward), Remy Powell (6-2, forward) and Nathan Puthoff (6-3, post player) and sophomores NiQuille Bell (5-8, guard) and Nick Pappa (5-11, guard).
Lutter (6.4 points per game) and Spees (3.6) are the top returning scorers.
"We lost all five starters, but we have a hard-working group," Daniel said. "The guys are fighting in practice and giving us a great effort.
"We have a coachable group, but we need that consistent effort and they need to find their roles. We can play people tough, but our depth is inexperienced."
The Cardinals opened Nov. 30 with a 44-42 loss to Westerville Central. They begin their CCL schedule Friday, Dec. 7, at home against DeSales.
"We need to work on our consistency, and we need to be tough," Daniel said. "We're trying to get past the mistakes. We'll have three or four guys in the right place and one guy gives up the rebound or the open shot and that hurts us.
"We're a work in progress. We've had a lot of guys play a lot of basketball in the offseason and now we're trying to jell."
Hockey team still learning
The hockey team is looking to improve on last season when it finished 18-13-1 overall, losing to Springboro 5-4 in overtime in the second round of the district tournament. The eighth-seeded Cardinals had a first-round bye.
"We need to work on g etting to know each other and also learning a new system because a lot of things have changed," said first-year coach Rob Sangster, who replaced three-year coach Art Roehrenbeck.
"We're learning a lot of the new things that the players are not used to doing. Learning the new system will come with ice time."
St. Charles finished fifth (9-8, 18 points) in the Capital Hockey Conference-Red Division last season, behind Dublin Jerome (14-1-1-1, 30), Olentangy Liberty (12-4-1, 25), Cincinnati Moeller (10-4-1-2, 23) and Dublin Coffman (10-6-1, 21). Upper Arlington (14-2-1, 29) won the CHC-White and DeSales (9-6-0-1, 19) won the CHC-Blue.
This year, the Cardinals are in the CHC-White with DeSales, Olentangy Orange and Thomas Worthington.
The top scorers back are senior forward Kevin Dugan (11 goals, 4 assists) and junior forwards Daniel Schirtzinger (12, 13), Ryan Cleary (7, 16), Jacob Weikert (6, 14) and Mitch Wade (7, 10).
The Cardinals also return both goaltenders in senior Teo Juratovac and junior Alec Ward. Juratovac, who has played varsity the past three seasons, had a save percentage last season of .884 and Ward had a .912 save percentage.
Defenseman Daniel Schmeling, Dugan and Juratovac are the Cardinals' only seniors. They have 12 juniors, including Ryan Brady (defenseman), Patrick Brennan (defenseman), Elliot Cooke (defenseman), Max Howson (forward), Alex Lippert (forward), Alec Organ (defenseman) and Logan Rupert (forward).
The roster also includes sophomores Nicolas Carducci (defenseman), Jack Cleary (forward) and Clayton Klosz (forward).
The Cardinals finished 2-2 in the season-opening Midwest Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North after losing to Oakville (Ontario) Abbey Park 7-4 on Nov. 25 in the Blue Division third-place game. They defeated Westerville 6-0 on Nov. 23 before defeating Burlington (Ontario) Robert Bateman 4-2 and losing to Carmel (Ind.) 6-4 on Nov. 24.
"We have a really great group of kids and supportive parents. We'll have some tough times, but guys will be able to deal with that," Sangster said.
St. Charles opened CHC play Dec. 1 by losing to Liberty 4-1 at the OhioHealth Ice Haus. The Cardinals also defeated Watterson 4-0 on Dec. 2 at the Ice Haus.