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The Covington boys basketball program has undergone many changes since the Buccaneers posted a 5-18 record a year ago.
Gone are graduating seniors Gray Harshbarger, Chad Yohey, Tyler Fraley and Jack Shell - four players who combined for several years of variety experience - and the loss of incoming senior Andrew Cates, who suffered a season-ending injury in football playoffs.
Which makes things that much more challenging for first-year coach Karl Ratermann, who takes over the program after the seven-year tenure of Matt Pond. And Ratermann said it will be a work in progress, learning a new system.
“For sure,” he said. “We are implementing a whole new system. I think they are (getting better every day). Normally, you schedule all your summer stuff in April and I didn’t get hired until May. But, what we did do in the summer, went pretty well.”
Ratermann is very familiar with Covington
basketball as he was a long-time
assistant under Roger Craft from
“I had been watching my son play for Fort Loramie the last couple years,” Ratermann said. “He just graduated last year. So I was looking to getting back into coaching. I wasn’t going to leave the area and I had been at Covington before (with Craft).”
This familiarity should help the transition become much smoother, even with Covington planning to run something a little different from a motion offense.
“In the motion offense, you have specific places you are supposed to be,” Ratermann said. “We are trying to give them a little more freedom. I think they are starting to understanding.”
The Buccaneers will play at man-to-man defense.
“Even with that, there are different forms of man defense,” he said.
As always, Covington will be tested each and every night with brutal non-league games and a very competitive Cross County Conference schedule.
“Ever year, there are teams from the CCC that do well in the postseason,” he said. “They always have two or three really good teams.”
Covington has the talent to be right there with the upper echelon teams in the league. The Buccs return four lettermen from a year ago in seniors Zach Kuntz (6’3”), Spencer Brumbaugh (5’9”), Kleyton Maschino (6’2”), and Kadin Presser (6’1”).
Plus, juniors Jaden Barhorst (5’11”), Jake Hamilton (6’3”) and Wes Gooding (6’1”) saw spot minutes at the variety level a year ago.
Rounding out the varsity roster for Covington are juniors Grant Humphrey (5’10) and Cooper Jay (5’9”), along with sophomore Tyler Alexander (6’3”).