With key letter winners back, including league scoring champion Aricka Lutz, Swanton is primed to compete near the top of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League girls basketball standings.
Last season the Bulldogs finished with a 4-3 league record, just a game back of a three-way tie for first place. Swanton was 17-6 overall.
With five of the eight NWOAL teams coming close to a league crown a season ago, it should be another battle in the 2020-2021 season.
“League should be very close from top to bottom,” said Swanton Coach Eric Oakes, who has a 67-50 career record. “A lot of the top players returning this season, think every team has a shot at the title. Front runners would be Bryan, Wauseon, Delta, Archbold probably leading the way.”
Bryan, Wauseon and Archbold tied for the title last season, while Delta was tied with Swanton.
For the Bulldogs, Aricka Lutz returns for her senior season after being named first-team All-NWOAL, first team in District 7, second team All-Northwest District and special mention All-Ohio. She scored 102 points in league play to win the scoring title and overall averaged 13.7 points per game during the season.
Her sister, Averie Lutz, is also back. She averaged 10.5 points per game and was named second team all-league and District 7, plus was honorable mention All-Northwest District.
Junior Frankie Nelson (honorable mention all-league) and senior Sammi Taylor are also back for the Bulldogs.
Letter winners lost from last season’s squad include Grace Oakes (honorable mention all-league/District 7), Morgan Pine, Ashlynn Waddell, Kara Truckor, Alexis Sarvo and Jessica Dohm.
Newcomers looking to fill the void created by losses include Madalynn Peluso, Trista Eitniear, Jayden Hendricks, Katie Floyd, Ashley Keaton, Emma Operacz, Megan Haselman, and Alaina Pelland.
Team speed, experience and defense will be strengths for Swanton this season, according to the coach. He said potential weaknesses are COVID and height.
“When healthy I think we will be above average and extremely competitive,” coach Oakes said.
The Bulldogs are scheduled to open league play with a home game against Bryan on Dec. 18.