Bad taste may lead to great things for Russia.
Long considered one of the Miami Valley’s top small school programs, the Raiders were upset in the district semifinals last season by Shelby County League brethren Houston and the sting still hurts. Russia entered the game 21-1 and ranked No. 2 in the state. The exit was shocking.
This season the Raiders have the talent to make their faithful forget that loss.
SCL player of the year senior Brook Schafer returns as do four other key letterwinners in fellow seniors Andy Zumberger, Mitchell Hoying, Abe Francis and Jesse Grosean.
The ingredients are there.
“We’re returning a solid nucleus from our 21-2 season last year and we’re looking for depth to go with our five letterman,” longtime head coach Paul Bremigan (319-204, 23 seasons) said. “This is a versatile and athletic team that can play many different spots.”
Schafer, a 5-9 guard, averaged 10.4 point per game last season, while Zumberger, a 6-6 post, chipped in 11. Zumberger was also first team SCL.
Hoying (6-3, W) is the team’s leading returning scorer after averaging 12.7 points last year (HM SCL).
Francis (6-0, G/F) and Grosean (5-11, G) both averaged 8 points.
In addition to their tough SCL slate, the Raiders face five MAC teams.
Winning the SCL is the first goal, though, and something Bermigan’s team has done three straight years. The Raiders are favorites to make it four.