Patriots led into season by 6 seniors


By Ben Stroup - bstroup@aimmediamidwest.com



Some of the most important components to a winning basketball team can be coached. Shooting, passing, dribbling, etc.

Some others, though — intangibles like experience — can’t.

Fortunately for Olentangy Liberty, experience is one thing it most certainly doesn’t lack.

The Patriots will be led into the season by their six seniors — Ben Roderick, Nick Nakasian, Mitchell Kershner, Joey Thatcher, Wyatt Hofer and Jack Metzger.

Roderick, a second-team All-State selection, was having a stellar junior campaign, averaging 25.8 points and seven rebounds before suffering a season-ending injury against Olentangy on the last day of January. After rehabbing during the offseason, he’s ready to pick up where he left off last winter.

Nakasian, a second-team All-League performer a year ago, is back after averaging 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds last season and Kershner, who was Honorable Mention All-League, returns after averaging 10 points and five boards during the 2017-18 campaign.

Hofer, meanwhile, will handle things in the post, Metzger will add depth on the wing and Thatcher, one of the team’s several three-point threats, will run the show at point guard.

Liberty coach Greg Nossaman said a few others, including sophomore Henry Hinkle, will add depth to a team that, understandably, has pretty good chemistry.

“Good chemistry is improtant … and good ball movement at the offensive end,” Nossaman said. “Playing solid defense and playing aggressive are also key points this season.”

The Patriots have the pieces to compete in what looks to be a competitive OCC-Buckeye Division.

“The league will be very good,” Nossaman said. “Our conference is very tough and this is the best schedule we’ve had since I’ve been here. We have to be ready every night.”

Liberty starts the season Saturday against Cincinnati Taft at Gahanna Lincoln. Tip is set for 3 p.m. After that, the Patriots open league play by hosting Olentangy Orange next Friday in Powell.

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By Ben Stroup

bstroup@aimmediamidwest.com