Elk County Catholic Crusaders
Head coach: Aaron Straub
2019-20 Record: 27-2
Playoffs: Beat Brockway, 57-20, in the AML Semifinals; Beat Johnsonburg, 49-42, AML title game; Beat Austin, 69-18, in District 9 Class 1A quarterfinals; Beat A-C Valley, 46-16, in District 9 Class 1A semifinals; Beat Cameron County, 53-36, District 9 Class 1A championship game; Beat Imani Christian Academy, 56-34, in PIAA Class 1A first round; Lost to Cornell, 53-44, in PIAA Class 1A second round.
Top returning players: Mark Kraus (Sr., G, 10.4 ppg), Mason McAllister (Sr., F, 3.9), Jordan DePrator (Sr., F, 2.8 ppg), Joe Wolfe (Sr., F, 16 games, 8 points), Charlie Breindel (Jr., G, 2.5 ppg)
Top players lost: Regis Wortman (14.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.8 spg, Shot 58.4 percent from the field; Was a first-team All-District 9 selection), Leo Gregory (6.0 ppg), Carter Lindemuth (5.2 ppg), Will Uberti (5.3 ppg), Ben Hoffman (2.4 ppg), Isaac Wortman (3.8 ppg)
Key newcomers: Luke Jansen (Jr., G, Will play off guard), Tommy Slay (Jr., F, Will play both inside and outside for us)
Keys to the season: ECC has to replace 63.9 percent of its scoring from a year ago. We will certainly count very heavily on a good mix with our returning senior players and our juniors. We are also looking forward to the development of our sophomores and freshmen. The keys to our success including international individual preparation during the three-week pause … Remain COVID free as individual players, the team, and the program – being able to get in our games and gain game experience … Developing defensive players – especially on-the-ball defenders. We had three REALLY good on-the-ball defenders that we lost to graduation … Playing big, although we are a relatively tall team (last year were a relatively small team) we need to play big. Just because you are tall does not mean you play big … Not settling offensively on a quick shot or a default three. We need to gain an attacking offensive understanding and mindset. Developing a mindset to value the ball … We are very short on game experience. One of our keys to success will be how quickly our game experience translates to basketball understanding.
Things your team was doing during the COVID-19 pause of winter sports: We were meeting daily through Google Meet. That went well. We have provided the team with a strength, agility, quickness, and skill development workout that they can complete at home. Our coaches have worked hard to develop a very good plan for the three weeks that we will be off. The obvious key will be how hard the kids have worked during the pause in practice and games. How seriously they have taken the workouts and how intentional they were with performing the workouts. The three weeks will be a monumental opportunity for not only our team but all the teams in the area to improve and return after the pause better, stronger, quicker, and refreshed with a greater appreciation of what it means to have the opportunity to compete.