Zanesville bumps up to D-I; Blue Devils looking for return to regional

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Zanesville Basketball
The Zanesville Blue Devils (20-3) are coming off their third straight regional appearance. However, those trips were in Division II where the Blue and White have spent the last four years. This season head coach Scott Aronhalt’s troops will be back in Division I.


The Zanesville Blue Devils (20-3) are coming off their third straight regional appearance. However, those trips were in Division II where the Blue and White have spent the last four years. This season head coach Scott Aronhalt’s troops will be back in Division I after a four-year hiatus.

Zanesville is one of just two teams in the Eastern District that will perform in the Division I ranks with Tri-Valley being the other participant.

For most teams, the jump to the higher division would be a huge deal but the Blue Devils are no stranger to success in Ohio’s big boy division. Not only does the Blue and White play a lot of the premier schools in Ohio on their regular season schedule, but coach Aronhalt’s teams have earned success at this level in the past. Zanesville won the 1995 Division I State Championship along with being crowned the 1997 runner-up.

The conference schedule will feature one of the best teams in the state regardless of division in the Chillicothe Cavaliers. The defending Southeast Ohio Athletic Leauge champions are the early favorite, but the Blue Devils will be right on their heels. Zanesville dropped two decisions to the Cavaliers last year (SEOAL championship game and the regional semi-finals). The Blue and White dropped a 51-49 nod to the Cavaliers in the regional semi-finals to end their two-year streak as regional runner-up.

Also on the schedule will be non-conference games with Massillon Washington, Reynoldsburg, Newark, Wheeling Park (WV), and Warren Harding at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center for the Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic. The latter is arguably the most talented team in the state especially with the addition of Warren JFK transfer junior Desmar Jackson to an already loaded outfit.

Making this transition a little easier will be the return of senior three-year starter Logan Aronhalt (6’4). The youngest son of the coach is one of the best all around players in the state. Last season, as a junior, Aronhalt earned 1st Team All-Ohio accolades and averaged 17 points per game and seven rebounds per outing. The Albany (Division I) signee’s stock soared after a stellar spring and summer with team CBIZ on the AAU circuit.

Along with the above mentioned Aronhalt, is the return of senior point guard Cedric Harris (6’0). Together, the two are arguably the best one-two combo in the Eastern District. The two are also teammates on team CBIZ. Harris averaged 10 markers per game, while dishing out six dimes per 32 minutes. Zanesville’s point guard is also a defensive stopper, and shot an astounding 81 percent from the charity stripe last year.

Senior Andre Harris (6’4) returns as well. The taller Harris has great length and should really play a huge role in the success of this team. He is able to guard taller players with his length and is very active on both the offensive and defensive ends. Look for Harris to be a consistent double figure scorer this season.

The most improved player will be junior Joe Prati (6’6). The junior had a productive summer by improving his foot work and overall understanding of the game. Prati should be a force in the paint on the defensive end and will provide a legitimate inside presence on offense. The junior’s emergence should help out a team that was hurt on the boards last season especially against Chillicothe.

Other players vying for the final starting spot will be senior Shane Centers (6’1), Bryson Gillard (6’4) who is a senior with a big body, junior Brandon Mills (5’10) is an excellent shooter, and senior Lucas Graham (6’0) will return in mid-December after suffering a broken leg in football.

“We will have excellent size and speed, but the key to this team is how well our bench performs,” Aronhalt stated.

Lost to graduation was All-Ohio performer Kodey Haddox (Kenyon College), lock down defender Dakota Matz (Bethany College), and solid role player D.J. Harris.

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