GALION — The offseason leading up to the start of the 2016-17 campaign for the Galion Tigers’ boys basketball team has been quite the storied tale. After a .500 record last season and a sectional championship, now former head coach Colby Bright announced his resignation as leader of the squad due to excessive negativity.
Enter new head coach and varsity basketball rookie coach Matt Valentine.
Valentine has plenty of past playing experience (football, basketball and baseball) and coaching experience (20+ years) at various levels to qualify him for the task at hand. He will be joined by varsity assistant coach Mike Valentine, junior varsity coach Ted Maglio and freshman coach Colton Moore.
Valentine’s squad took some hits from last year’s team as they lost Houston Blair, Gavin Ratcliff, Kalvin Rinehart and (now freshman coach) Colton Moore to graduation. In addition to the above missing pieces, the Tigers are not returning a single letterwinner from the 2015-2016 team.
Matt Valentine refers to his team as “the true underdog” in an e-mail and listed “play as a team and win at life, everyday, on and off the court” as the goals looking forward.
He will look for success from the four seniors, four juniors, four sophomores and a lone freshman that will suit up in the orange and blue varsity this winter.
The four seniors taking to the courts this season will all be entering their second sport with a first-year head coach. Bobby Gilbert, Tristan Baldy, Mario Freeman and Nicholas Sorrenson were all part of the football program, along with rookie coach Matt Dick in the fall.
Colton Powell, Colten Skaggs, Nathan Eckert and Takoda Crisman will be the juniors on this year’s edition of the Tigers. Sophomores Zhamir Anderson, Gage Lackey, Tristan Williams and golf standout Jack McElligott will all be on the varsity team alongside the other underclassman, freshman Isaiah Alsip.
Galion’s squad will start the regular season this year on the road at Bucyrus against the Redmen on Friday Dec. 2.
The first home action will take place on Thursday Dec. 8 against the defending Northern-10 Athletic Conference champion Upper Sandusky Rams. Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division action will begin on Saturday Dec. 1o on the road against the North Union Wildcats.