Bexley High School boys basketball coach Dave Gustin believes his team's strength this season will be a balanced offense.

Bexley High School boys basketball coach Dave Gustin believes his team's strength this season will be a balanced offense.

"There are going to be nights where we have three or maybe even four guys in double figures," said Gustin, who is in his eighth season leading the Lions.

Bexley likely will need a balanced offense in its opener on Friday, Dec. 2, at Licking Heights. Last season, the Lions defeated the Hornets 114-108 in triple overtime as 2011 graduates Evan Porter and Jon Primes had 33 and 29 points, respectively, and 6-foot-4 senior forward Jalen Robinette scored 31.

Bexley finished 11-11 overall last season, losing to Hamilton Township 69-59 in the second round of the Division II district tournament. The Lions, who beat Hilliard Bradley 64-60 in the first round, lost five players, including Primes, a first-team all-district selection who averaged 17 points and six rebounds.

"Jon Primes was a huge factor for us," 6-2 senior forward Matt Tumen said. "I learned a lot from Jon because he went hard every day in practice and became one of the best players in the league."

"When I think back on last year, I remember a team that appreciated each other," Gustin said. "They laid a solid foundation for this year."

In addition to Robinette and Tumen, Bexley returns senior Tyler Bringman (6-0, guard) and junior Ethan Knisley (5-11, guard).

Robinette averaged 14 points and six rebounds last season and made honorable mention all-district.

Also on the roster are seniors Aaron Eldridge (6-3, forward) and A.J. Gogan (6-4, forward), juniors Will Gingery (6-3, forward), Josh Hoffman (6-0, guard), Tyler Kondracke (5-11, guard), Patrick McClendon (5-10, guard) and Grant Murphy (6-4, forward) and Tyler Seckel (6-1, forward) and sophomore Sam Nolan (6-0, forward).

"Our inside scoring is going to equal our outside scoring," Gustin said. "Our interior guys are going to be able to score and our perimeter guys are going to be able to score."

"We have a lot of strength down low with Jalen coming back," Tumen said. "All of our players can play any position. We can go inside or out."

The Lions expect to challenge for the MSL-Ohio Division championship.

Last season, the Lions went 6-8 in the league to finish fifth, behind co-champions Granville (11-3) and Heath (11-3), as well as Columbus Academy (10-4) and Newark Catholic (8-6).

Rounding out the standings were Licking Valley (5-9), Whitehall (5-9) and Lakewood (0-14).

Bexley opens league play Dec. 10 at home against Licking Valley.

Gustin believes Academy, which returns three players who averaged more than 10 points, may be the favorite to win the league.

"Academy has the most back from last year, so they're going to be one of the favorites," he said. "But our league is going to be pretty balanced. Anyone can beat anyone on any given night. If you don't come ready to play, you are going to get knocked off."