The Dublin Scioto High School boys basketball team won five more games last season than it did the previous season, and third-year coach Mike Moler likes what he has seen from the Irish thus far.

The Dublin Scioto High School boys basketball team won five more games last season than it did the previous season, and third-year coach Mike Moler likes what he has seen from the Irish thus far.

Scioto finished 9-14 overall last season after winning just four games in 2013-14. With four starters back, the Irish hope to continue that trend.

"It's nice to have some experience back," said Moler, whose team opened Nov. 27 with a 71-35 win at Watkins Memorial and begins OCC-Cardinal Division play Friday, Dec. 4, at home against Westerville Central. "I really like their resilience. They continue to play hard no matter what's happening. They're good kids who like each other and do a good job sharing the basketball."

The returning starters are 6-foot-4 senior guard Nick Pothoven, 6-2 senior forward Jason Greiwe, 5-10 senior guard Paul Lombardo and 6-0 junior guard Brandon Vertolli.

Pothoven averaged 10.8 points last season and was named honorable mention all-district and all-league. Vertolli averaged 8.3 points and Greiwe averaged 5.2.

Pothoven had 27 points, including four 3-pointers, against Watkins Memorial and Vertolli scored 11 points.

"We have been playing solid defensively and playing within ourselves," said Moler, whose team finished fifth (5-9) in the OCC-Cardinal last season behind champion Westerville South (13-1). "We don't have anyone who will 'wow' people when they walk on the court, but we have a good, solid group of guys."

Rounding out the roster are senior Brian Johnson (6-1, guard), juniors Dimetri Brandon (6-0, guard), Alex Coleman (5-10, guard), Gus Mwamba (5-10, guard), Jake Wehder (6-4, forward) and Jackie Winchester (5-11, guard) and sophomores Noah Brechbuhler (6-0, guard) and Jacob Jones (6-0, guard).

"Consistency in our shooting will be big for us and rebounding will also be important," Moler said. "We don't have a lot of height, so we have to shoot well and be ready to rebound."

Celtics continue high expectations

Jerome has high expectations after producing a record-setting season a year ago.

The Celtics have returned four starters from last season, when they finished 24-3 overall, placed second (12-2) in the OCC-Cardinal and won their first district championship. Jerome defeated Grove City 61-57 in a Division I district final before losing to Northland 64-47 in a regional semifinal.

The Celtics set their program record for victories in a season and advanced past a district semifinal for the first time.

"It's a little different situation with the pressure on and with things always changing," third-year coach Jamie Pearson said. "We're going from being the hunter to being the hunted. One good thing is that Westerville South is considered the top team in the state and Bradley beat us once last year, so maybe we're hunting them. We're relying on playing team basketball and doing what we need to do."

The returning starters are 6-2 senior guard Mason Baich, 6-0 senior guard Blake Bickett, 5-11 senior guard Seve Stavroff and 6-6 senior forward Colton Irion.

Baich averaged 16.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.0 steals last season and Stavroff averaged 16.8 points, 3.9 assists and 2.5 steals. Both were named second-team all-district and first-team all-league.

Irion averaged 14.3 points and 5.9 rebounds and made honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league.

Baich, the program's career scoring leader with 1,001 points, has been nursing a back injury and missed the team's 51-49 season-opening win over Mason on Nov. 27 in the Ohio Hoops Classic at Wilmington College.

Stavroff tipped in the game-winning basket as time expired, finishing with 19 points, including three 3-pointers. Irion had 12 points and 6-1 junior guard Zach Watson scored 10.

Pearson does not expect Baich to play in the Celtics' league opener Friday, Dec. 4, at Hilliard Bradley.

Rounding out the roster are senior Jake Wilson (6-6, forward), juniors Eddie Anders (6-3, guard), Kyle Burrier (6-2, guard) and Joe Dunnan (6-1, guard) and sophomores Andrew Golda (6-6, forward) and Lucas House (6-1, guard).

"Everyone knows about our big three in Mason, Seve and Colton, but Kyle Burrier and Zach Watson are very comfortable with what we do," Pearson said. "We have exciting young players coming along like Eddie Anders, who is one of the best shooters in the area, and Jake Wilson has made one of the biggest strides for us."

Shamrocks still looking for identity

Coffman has returned three starters from last season, when it went 22-2 overall, won the OCC-Central at 13-1 ahead of runner-up Upper Arlington (11-3) and reached a Division I district semifinal before losing to Grove City 42-40.

But questions remain for the Shamrocks, who open Saturday, Dec. 5, at home against Kettering Alter.

"We have a lot of talent back, but we're still looking for our identity," 14th-year coach Jamey Collins said. "We had some strong personalities last year leading us and we're waiting to see who takes over those roles this season. The kids work well together and they are better kids than they are players."

The returning starters are 6-7 senior forward Luke Vargo, 6-0 senior guard Seth Fuller and 6-4 senior guard Noah Gleeson.

Vargo, an Air Force Academy appointee, averaged a team-high 13 points and 5.5 rebounds last season and was honorable mention all-district and first-team all-league.

Fuller, who has signed with Elon University in North Carolina, averaged 12.1 points and 2.6 assists and was second team all-district and first-team all-league, and Gleeson averaged 5.2 points and was honorable mention all-league.

Rounding out the starting five are 6-5 senior guard Sam Payne and 6-7 senior forward Jason Boateng, who has committed to Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne.

"Payne should have a great season coming off both knee surgery and a high-ankle sprain in the offseason," Collins said. "And Jason Boateng is healthy and has continued to improve."

Rounding out the roster are seniors Griffin Grady (6-3, guard) and Nick Thompson (6-7, forward), juniors Casey Kirk (5-11, guard), Nick Mollica (6-1, guard), Steve Scott (6-1, guard) and Ibn Williamson (5-11, guard) and sophomores Nick Carlson (6-5, forward), Marcus Ernst (5-11, guard), Trevor Grady (6-6, forward) and Trip Zinni (5-11, guard).

The Shamrocks begin OCC-Central play Tuesday, Dec. 8, at Thomas Worthington.

"The league is much-improved all the way around," Collins said. "Everyone has to be at their best every night they play."