Year after year of turnaround has left Lakewood Park Christian’s basketball program spinning its wheels, despite a sectional title in 2017.
Now, Steve Oberlin takes over the program in the hope of adding consistency to the program he saw become champions firsthand.
“The bad thing is, there has been rebuilding for four years when you keep changing coaches like that,” Oberlin said. “You are always rebuilding and trying to get the program going.”
Oberlin will be the school’s fourth head boys basketball coach in as many seasons and the fifth in the past seven years.
Oberlin takes over for Wayne Brooks, who spent just one year leading the Panthers. Brooks went 8-17, posting back-to-back wins just twice including in sectionals over Fremont and Hamilton. A year prior, Rod Wilmont led the program to a 17-9 record and a sectional title after taking over the program from Chad Hibbard.
After starting his coaching career with AAU and in Ohio, Oberlin became the tennis coach and a women’s basketball assistant coach at Defiance College. He later joined Wilmont’s staff at Lakewood Park for the 2016-17 sectional championship season as the junior varsity coach.
With a year away from the school behind him, Oberlin is eager to be a Panther again.
“I just felt that Lakewood is a good place where I could work on building a program; something where I can do things I want with the whole program the way I want it to be ran,” he said.
Some of the players that will lead Lakewood Park could be the same guys that Oberlin had on the junior varsity two seasons ago, but the program is expected to be led by a pair of seniors in Zeke Farnsworth and Dylan Miller, who both saw varsity action on the sectional title team as sophomores.
“Zeke and Dylan played very important roles back two years ago so we will look forward of them taking charge,” Oberlin noted.
Outside of Farnsworth and Miller, Lakewood Park will also return Josh Pike and Caleb Kruse to be part of a core four replacing a seven-player senior class that graduated last spring. Oberlin says there is a good deal of talent at the freshman level as well.
“With being young, that doesn’t bother me,” he said. “It is a good time to implement my type of fundamentals and my type of coaching. Three years down the road, I think we will be doing OK.”
Oberlin says he also plans to make it a priority to build on working with the younger kids, down to grade 4 and on to eighth grade.
The Panthers will begin their season in October with a home scrimmage against Central Noble. Their regular season will kick off at Hamilton on November 20.