Third-year Cambridge High boys' basketball coach Don Vogt says he'll
know if or when his 2007-08 squad has the makings of a good team “when
the dust clears.” Right now, things are understandably a bit cloudy for the
Bobcats as Vogt welcomes back just three lettermen from last year's
team, which posted a second straight 14-8 record. That trio returns a
combined total of just 5.6 points per game.
Third-year Cambridge High boys' basketball coach Don Vogt says he'll know if or when his 2007-08 squad has the makings of a good team “when the dust clears.”
Right now, things are understandably a bit cloudy for the Bobcats as Vogt welcomes back just three lettermen from last year's team, which posted a second straight 14-8 record. That trio returns a combined total of just 5.6 points per game, however, so finding the right mix is essential for CHS this winter.
“I look at our scrimmages like a horse kicking up dust,” related Vogt, who is 28-16 in his first two CHS campaigns. “After the dust clears, you sit down and see where you are. What are our strengths and weaknesses, both as a team and as individuals, and how do we get better at those things.”
“Practice has been very good,” he continued. “It's nice to have been here for a while, so the kids know what to do. With more continuity, we can get so much more accomplished.”
Despite the varsity inexperience, Vogt says this year's team shows great promise.
“We have very little experience back this year,” the Bobcats' mentor admitted. “We have maybe a tad more quickness on the floor and maybe more pure shooters. Our kids were very intense and aggressive last year, but I would say having more quickness on the floor may come across as having more intensity out there.”
Disciplined play and gaining experience are at the top of Vogt's list of keys to a successful season for the 'Cats.
“The biggest key for us is being very disciplined in what we do,” he said. “We have a small margin of error, so we've got to be in the right place at the right time.
“Another thing we need, which will only come with time, is experience,” he added. “I think we have a good group…an intelligent group…and a hard-working group, but that experience only comes with playing varsity ball.”
The Bobcats' only three returning lettermen are senior forward Tyler Brown (6-4), senior guard George Liptak (5-11) and junior guard Nick Liptak (5-10). Brown averaged 2.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last season while the Liptak brothers combined for three points per game. Nick Liptak contributed 61 assists and 20 steals as a starter while George Liptak had 28 assists and eight thefts.
In addition to Brown and George Liptak, the team's senior leadership also comes from guard Trevor Markley (6-0) and forward Zach McVicker (6-0).
Several juniors will be in the mix.
Along with Nick Liptak, the 11th graders include guards Shayne Leggett (6-1), Winston Turner (5-9), Thomas Norris (5-7) and Timmy Harvey (5-9) along with forwards William Cline (6-3), Taylor Leppla (6-3), Ben Shepard (6-2) and Luke LePage (6-5).
“We have some capability inside with Brown and Leppla,” Vogt commented, “and even with McVicker and Cline, who don't like to play with their back to the basket a lot but can certainly do it. We don't have as much strength or size underneath, but the 'threes' and 'fives' make up for it in other ways.
“You can do some things with the defensive schemes that we have even though we don't have size,” he said, “like doubling and trapping to offset the size.
“When you talk about shooters, you've got to look at Shayne Leggett, Trevor Markley, William Cline and George Liptak,” Vogt continued, “and for ball-handling, we have probably three guys – Nick Liptak, Thomas Norris and Winston Turner – who will work in that capacity.”
Shepard, Harvey and LePage are expected to split time with the junior varsity.
Other juniors on the JV squad include guard Robert Baldwin (5-10) and forward Phillip Trillhaas (6-2).
The sophomores are guards Luke Fabian (5-7), Ryan Hatmaker (6-0) and Kyle Cox (6-0); and forwards Tyler Hurst (6-2), Jordan Linscott (6-4) and Ryan Jamiel (6-3.
Graduation claimed seven players from last year's team – Justin Linscott, Cory Miller, Bear Holdren, Justin Laishley, Thomas Hall and Trent Mosser.
Linscott earned all-Ohio Division III honorable mention, first team all-OVAC Class 4-A, all-ECOL and all-District 12 and second team all-Eastern District and he participated in the OVAC and District 12 all-star games; Holdren was second team OVAC, ECOL and District 12 and honorable mention all-Eastern District; Miller was first team all-District 12 and second team OVAC and ECOL; and Laishley was second team District 12 and honorable mention ECOL.
Vogt's staff has a bit of a new look this year, with newcomer Mike Swank as the varsity assistant and veteran Tom Boehm as the junior varsity coach. Kevin Fondale (9th grade), Tim Leppla (8th grade) and Joel Wisenbarger (7th grade) round out the staff.
“We have a great mix of seasoned experience and knowledge and some very energetic people,” Vogt said. “Our staff is working hard to get everyone on the same page.”
Expect Dover to be at or near the top of a well-balanced league, according to Vogt.
“Dover has great tradition and a coach (Bob Von Kaenel) who has his program well established, and that's what we want here,” Vogt stated. “I see a lot of balance in the league this year.”
The only new opponent on the Bobcats' schedule is Morgan, which replaces Groveport Madison. Other non-ECOL games for Cambridge are Marietta twice, – including the season opener on Friday, Nov. 23 – and single games with Sheridan, John Glenn and Wheeling Park.
“We've got a lot of guys who are right on each-other's heels as far as ability,” Vogt said, “and we'll have the luxury of playing a lot of guys this year and a lot of them are very interchangeable.
“There's still a lot of dust out there.”
Friday, Nov. 23 – Marietta (H)
Friday, Nov. 30 – New Philadelphia (H)
Friday, Dec. 7 – Claymont (A)
Tuesday, Dec. 11 – Coshocton (A)
Friday, Dec. 14 – Meadowbrook (H)
Friday, Dec. 21 – Dover (A)
Saturday, Dec. 22 – Sheridan (H)
Friday, Dec. 28 – John Glenn (H)
Friday, Jan. 4 – River View (A)
Saturday, Jan. 5 – Morgan (A)
Tuesday, Jan. 8 – Wheeling Park (A)
Friday, Jan. 11 – Indian Valley (H)
Tuesday, Jan. 15 – New Philadelphia (A)
Friday, Jan. 18 – Claymont (H)
Saturday, Jan. 19 – Marietta (A)
Tuesday, Jan. 22 – Coshocton (H)
Friday, Jan. 25 – Meadowbrook (A)
Tuesday, Jan. 29 – Dover (H)
Friday, Feb. 1 – River View (H)
Friday, Feb. 8 – Indian Valley (A)