Warren’s ultimate goal ‘to play for D10 title’
Warren’s boys basketball team returns three senior starters and another senior who was first off the bench from a 16-8 team that advanced to the District 10 4A playoff semifinals. Over the past three seasons, the Dragons are 47-23, but have been eliminated by Hickory in the playoffs each year.
Expectations are high, even in the incredibly-tough District 10 4A classification.
“Our goal every year is to play for a D10 title,” said 22-year Warren head coach Jeff Berdine. “4A is so strong in boys basketball. Being the top seed (in the playoffs) last year was a different feeling as it garnered some respect for a good region record and a tough nonregion schedule. This year, the goal is no different; put the pieces together as we move through the regular season, look to improve each game, and give ourselves an opportunity to be in the title game.”
Senior captains include point guard Tommy Nyquist and Brady Berdine — returning Region 6 all-stars, as well as Braylon Barnes and Konnor Hoffman.
Nyquist averaged 12.3 points, shooting 48% from the field. He dished out 6.2 assists per game, as well as shooting 35% from 3-point land. Berdine scored 12.5 points per game (299 points), including 34 points in Warren’s two 4A playoff games. He was second on the team with 5.6 rebounds a game, second with 3.0 assists, and tied for first with 2.1 steals. Barnes averaged 10.3 points and 4.5 rebounds, and Hoffman 5.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals off the bench.
“All of them have taken different roads to get to this point,” said Coach Berdine. “It starts with Tommy; he is a four-year starter, (and) he is one of the hardest workers I have ever had. He, Brady and Braylon like to lead by example. They show up, work hard, and are accountable. Konnor will flat out tell you when you aren’t getting it done, plain and simple.
“Last go round for me with one of my sons — Brady now and Ben previously — and several of these student-athletes,” added Coach Berdine. “I have had the opportunity to work with Brady, Braylon, Tommy and Konnor for a long time; (this season) should be enjoyable. I feel I have always been harder on my own sons than other players. For that, I give them tons of credit and the respect they have earned.
“We have several players that I think are ready to take the next step to the varsity level,” added Berdine. “Junior Chase Sitler, sophomore Logan Crissey and senior Johnny Corbett are the main three making the jump to the varsity level this year and will get the first chances starting out the season. Senior Dylan Johnson is also moving up to the varsity level this year from JV. I do expect Grady Corey (junior), Jacob McMeans, Tage Wyman, Lucas Thrift and Colin Zdarko (sophomores) to hopefully earn some opportunities this year as well, to increase our depth and gain valuable experience for next year.”
Freshmen include: Bill Bennett, Presley Weldon, Holden Demers, Charlie Blum, Bradey Chase, Max Spiegel, Carsen Benton and Landon Wood.
The Dragons open today at the Brookville Tip-Off Tournament against Union at 4:30 p.m. at Brookville Area High School. Host Brookville will play Brockway later tonight with the consolation and championship games Saturday.
Warren’s nonregion schedule continues next week, hosting Seneca on Wednesday and Cathedral Prep on Friday and Harbor Creek on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at Warren Area High School.
“December will be a good test for us,” said Berdine. “We will look to create tempo early in games to jump start our offense and focus.”
In addition to Region 6 opponents in Franklin, Oil City, Titusville (3A), Corry and Conneaut (4A), teams to beat in Class 4A include Grove City (Region 5) and General McLane (Region 7).