West Noble has come up short of its goals the last two seasons, but this year it has everything in front of them with the return of some key players.
If there’s anything you need to know about the Chargers under coach Ethan Marsh, it’s that they fight for 32 minutes. West Noble was in every game last year. All nine of its losses were by single digits and four by a single possession. The Chargers have increased their win total in the last three seasons with Marsh at the helm.
The Chargers will be dangerous once again because it has one of the elite scorers in the area and the state in Austin Cripe. The Bethel University commit averaged 23 points per game during his junior season. Cripe has a quick first step and is always able to find the right driving angle to get to the rim. He can also create around the perimeter. His handle is fluid and knows how to get his teammates involved.
One teammate he’ll be looking for often this season is big man Bradyn Barth. The junior became a real force late last season and finished with 7.4 points and three rebounds per game. Barth has worked on his craft in the paint and knows how to be an effective rim protector. He gives the Chargers a solid post presence that won’t be matched in several games this season.
Senior Nevin Phares gives the Chargers some more size and length. Phares uses his reach wisely, cutting off driving lanes and clogging up passing lanes. He’ll need to be a more consistent scorer but has shown the ability to score from all three levels.
Seniors Derek Slone and Luke Schermerhorn also return after being contributors a year ago. Slone will help quite a bit with the ball handling duties while Schermerhorn has showcased he can hit an outside shot. Both are scrappy defenders that help create a lot of turnovers.
The newcomers for the Chargers are David Slone, Zach Huff and McKale Bottles. All are expected to have an impact and help build the depth of this roster.
“Depth will be a question for us early. We have a few guys that don’t have much experience that will need to step up this season. We do have quite a bit of length that will, hopefully, make us difficult to play against,” Marsh said.
The Chargers bring back one of the area’s best players and have an emerging big man who looks to make a leap this season. With many questions about the rest of the NECC, West Noble could be in line for its first conference title since 1986 and first sectional championship.
WHY NOT HIGHER?
West Noble lacks depth that has varsity experience. The scoring duties have been put on Cripe’s shoulders the last two years. Someone else will need to step up for the Chargers to get over the hump and turn those close losses into wins.
Dec. 30 vs. Blackhawk Christian at Trine
The Chargers rarely play teams from the Summit City so the addition of one of the premier programs in the area to the schedule is nice to see. This will be a great matchup that will test West Noble in a number of different ways.
Bradyn Barth, junior
For the Chargers to finally bring home some hardware, Barth needs to solidify the flashes he made late last season and during the summer. Cripe is going to get his every night but if Barth can become a double-double threat on a nightly basis, West Noble will be tough to stop.