The Delaware Christian School boys basketball team lost one of the top players in program history to graduation, but second-year coach Jon Landrum thinks the Eagles have developed others who will have success this season.

The Delaware Christian School boys basketball team lost one of the top players in program history to graduation, but second-year coach Jon Landrum thinks the Eagles have developed others who will have success this season.

Ben Evans, a 6-foot-9 post player now playing for Malone University, averaged 17.1 points and 11.3 rebounds last season and was named first-team all-MOCAL and third-team all-district in Division IV.

Delaware Christian was 2-1 overall before playing Morral Ridgedale on Dec. 12 and is 2-0 in the MOCAL. After opening Dec. 1 with a 77-54 loss at Ready, the Eagles defeated defending league champion Tree of Life 76-54 on Dec. 5 and beat league-newcomer Northside Christian 63-20 on Dec. 8.

"We finished strong last year and that wasn't all Ben Evans," Landrum said. "Guys stepped up and we started to really see the foundation of something we were excited about. There is a lot of experience on this team, and if our scrimmages are any indication of where we are, I think we can surprise people."

The Eagles, who last season finished 6-16 overall and went 3-5 in the MOCAL to finish fourth behind Tree of Life (8-0), returned three starters in 6-1 senior forward Daniel Gaudio, 5-9 junior point guard Roger Gill III and 6-4 junior guard/forward Adam Standley.

"Roger has tremendous ability as a playmaker, both in creating his own shot and in creating shots for others," Landrum said. "As a young player, he's still working to find that balance, but I've seen some very strong progress. He has one of the best skill sets on the team, and I feel confident this will be a breakout season.

"I've been blown away by Adam's development. I've never doubted his talent. It was just a question of whether he would be able to assert himself enough to maximize it. Now, all I'm questioning is how anybody is going to be able to match up with him. He's 6-4, has range beyond the 3-point line, can handle (the ball) well enough to play spot minutes at the point and now he's physically asserting himself in the post and (on) the offensive glass."

The Eagles returned two other letterwinners in 6-0 senior guard Gabe Hedges and 6-2 senior forward Drew Sedoti. Also back are 6-0 senior guard Brady Gregory and 5-10 sophomore guard Isaac Rindfuss.

Rounding out the roster are senior Riley Michalak (5-11, guard), junior Andrew Dunnavant (5-9, guard) and sophomore Keenan Siebert (5-10, guard).

Gill had 17 points and Sedoti scored 11 against Ready. Standley had 17 points, Gregory scored 11 and Dunnavant added 10 against Tree of Life. Against Northside, all 12 players scored, led by Gill and Rindfuss with eight points apiece.

"Our program has been down the last few years, but (Gaudio, Hedges and Sedoti) were determined to make something of their senior season," Landrum said. "They were in the gym all offseason, lifting weights, conditioning, shooting and anything necessary to get better."

Without a dominant inside presence, the Eagles plan to focus on their speed and versatility.

"On offense, we're emphasizing pace and space," Landrum said. "If we could go through an entire game without ever getting into a half court set, I would be thrilled. Defensively, we want to pressure. Even with Adam being a tall guard, we're undersized as a team. What we lack in size, we make up in speed and versatility."

Girls basketball team facing low numbers

The girls basketball team is hoping it can remain healthy this season, as the program consists of only 10 players.

Moreover, 5-9 junior post player Abbey Evans was scheduled to have surgery Dec. 10 and is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks, according to 11th-year coach Jackie Boggs, and 5-7 junior guard/forward Caitlyn Ruminski will be splitting her time this winter between basketball and club soccer.

Both are among seven returning letterwinners for the Eagles, who were 3-3 overall and 3-1 in the MOCAL before playing Madison Christian on Dec. 12.

Last season, Delaware Christian finished 12-9 overall and 6-2 in the MOCAL, placing second to Granville Christian (8-0).

"We have only eight available for the whole season, and that's if all goes well moving forward," said Boggs, who entered the game against Madison Christian seeking her 200th career coaching victory. "But we do have experience with four starters returning and another letterwinner."

The returning starters are seniors Elizabeth Blackburn (5-8, guard), Erin McCullough (5-10, post player) and Liz Sullivan (5-9, forward) and junior Madie Morgan (5-6, point guard). Sophomore Anna Fuller (5-7, guard) is the other returning letterwinner.

McCullough averaged 15.1 points, 12 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 1.4 blocks last season and was named first-team all-MOCAL and second-team all-district in Division IV. Blackburn averaged 4.9 points and was honorable mention all-league, and Sullivan averaged 3.5 points and 5.7 rebounds.

Completing the roster are juniors Brianna Blackburn (5-8, forward) and Olivia House (5-7, guard) and freshman Makayla Gill (5-6, guard).

"The three seniors have the potential to put up a ton of points this season and we need them to lead in all areas of the game," said Boggs, whose program is not fielding a junior varsity team because of low numbers. "Madie will determine how strong we will be in our half-court offense. Our juniors will give us stability on defense and offense."

Delaware Christian lost its first two games, falling to Delaware 53-37 on Nov. 20 and Granville Christian 54-39 in a MOCAL contest Nov. 24, before beating Gahanna Christian 57-8 in a league game Dec. 1.

After a 51-33 loss to Fairfield Christian on Dec. 3, the Eagles defeated Tree of Life 51-25 on Dec. 5 and Northside Christian 41-28 on Dec. 8 in league contests.

Through six games, McCullough was averaging 17.5 points and Elizabeth Blackburn was averaging 7.2.