Boys basketball preview: Lebanon

Schedule

Dec. 4 Mason

Dec. 10 at Xenia

Dec. 14 Centerville

Dec. 17 Fairborn

Dec. 18 at Edgewood

Dec. 21 at Springboro

Dec. 30 West Carrollton

Jan. 4 at Dayton Carroll

Jan. 7 Miamisburg

Jan. 8 at Kettering Alter

Jan. 14 Monroe

Jan. 21 at Fairborn

Jan. 22 Kings

Jan. 28 Xenia

Jan. 29 at Clayton Northmont

Feb. 1 at West Carrollton

Feb. 4 at Miamisburg

Feb. 5 at Trotwood-Madison

Feb. 12 Troy

Feb. 18 Springboro

Roster

PLAYER POS HT YR

Colton Conover C 6-4 Sr.

Bradd Ellis G 5-9 So.

Ben Esposito F 6-2 So.

Nick Esposito G 5-10 Jr.

Matt Esterkamp F 5-9 Jr.

Christian Franer F 6-5 Sr.

Jake Hammons F/C 6-5 Sr.

Luke Morgan G/F 6-1 So.

Beau Smith G 5-10 Sr.

Dylan Smith G 6-2 Jr.

Kevin Wilburn G 6-1 Jr.

LEBANON — In each of the last three seasons, Lebanon High School’s boys basketball team has won at least a share of the Greater Western Ohio Conference South Division title.

To a win a fourth, however, coach Pat Murphy is going to have to do things a little differently.

With just two lettermen returning, Murphy has tweaked the team’s offense, abandoning the dribble-drive motion offense for a more traditional, motion-based offense.

“No coach likes to use the term rebuilding, and I’m no different. Our goals are the same as always — win the league and get to the district finals,’’ Murphy said.

Backcourt

Senior Beau Smith (5.9 points per game last season) is a three-year letterman and Lebanon’s only returning varsity guard.

“(Smith) needs to score, create for us on offense, play solid defense and be our leader on the floor,” Murphy said.

Outside of Smith, Murphy remains unsure about who will be in the varsity rotation.

“It’s not a huge concern. ... We’ve just got to get it figured out soon,” Murphy said.

Frontcourt

Lebanon has three seniors who figure to get minutes in the post this season, led by returning three-year letterman Colton Conover. Christian Franer and Jake Hammons are both 6-foot-5 bodies that will be looked to for rebounds and strong play in the post.

“We have some seniors with some size down low, and that’s one of the main reasons we switched offenses, so that we can get those guys more touches,” Murphy said.

Outlook

Where will the points come from? Lebanon averaged 54 points a game last season, and more than 40 of those points graduated. Smith is the team’s top returning scorer at 5.9 per game.

Lebanon will have to find scoring from new sources this season, and if the Warriors do, they will be able to push Springboro and Fairborn for first place in the South Division. If not, it could be a long season for the Warriors.

Contact this reporter at (513) 696-4526 or shayes@coxohio.com.