With key players returning the Swanton Bulldogs will look to compete near the top of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League this season.
The Bulldogs showed flashes of their potential last season, as they were the only team to defeat Evergreen. But, they had trouble with consistency, ultimately finishing with a 10-14 record.
Coach Joel Visser said the team has a “good senior class with a mix of some talented but inexperienced sophomores.”
Two key returnees are set to lead the way for Swanton.
Andrew Thornton is back for his senior season after averaging 13 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists per game last year. He was named second team All-NWOAL, second team in District 7 and honorable mention in the Northwest District.
Senior Josh Vance, who averaged 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game, also returns. He was second team all-league and honorable mention in District 7.
Trent Weigel is another senior returnee, who averaged 5 points per game in the 2019-2020 season.
Those players led Visser to say experienced senior leadership would be a strength for the Bulldogs. Team speed and chemistry were also mentioned as strengths for the team.
The fourth returning letter winner for the Bulldogs is Sam Betz, who scored 6 points per game last year.
The Bulldogs did lose two letter winners from last season’s team — Justyn Bartlett (6 ppg), who was honorable mention all-league, and Jake Crow.
Depth could be a weakness for Swanton, according to Visser.
Looking to fill the void of the lost letter winners and add depth are five newcomers. They are seniors Blake Szalapski and Jacob Campbell, and sophomores Hayden Callicotte, Cole Mitchey, and Nathan Vance.
The Bulldogs will look to climb up the ladder in the NWOAL after finishing 2-5 in league play last season. Swanton’s last league title came in 2015.
“NWOAL will again be very strong and talanted as well as balanced from top to bottom,” said Visser.
The Dogs open the season on Friday, Nov. 27 at home against Lake. The first league contest is Jan. 7 against Evergreen.