June 24, 2016


Wadsworth seeks defensive identity

WADSWORTH — Scott Callaghan’s first season as Wadsworth’s boys basketball coach was a rousing success.

The Grizzlies reached double-digits in victories and made a memorable run to the Copley Division I District championship game.

A new year, however, brings new challenges.

“For us to reach our potential, we must develop a defensive identity,” Callaghan said. “We must be a team that dictates the pace of the game, and we must be a team that makes more effort plays than our opponents.”

Wadsworth’s first job is replacing for All-Gazette guard Jeremiah “Phil Ford” Lawson, who led it in scoring and assists, and is now playing at a Florida junior college.

Lawson’s backcourt mate, though, is back for a second season as a starter. Senior Taylor Smith averaged 5.9 points and 2.5 assists while shooting .358 beyond the arc. The 6-footer played the point last year, but could play everywhere but center this winter.

“Taylor is our captain, our best ‘team defender’ and our headiest player,” Callaghan said.

Senior Joe Goddard led Medina County with 52 3-pointers and is the Grizzlies’ top returning scorer at 10.3 points per game. The third-year varsity player is deadly when he spots up in the left corner of the court.

“Through hard work, he has become a more complete player,” Callaghan said.

Wadsworth should be solid in the paint with center Mitch White, a 6-4 senior, and 6-3 sophomore Anthony Schrock, who showed flashes of brilliance when healthy one year ago.

“Mitch is an athletic, energy player who must rebound and defend,” Callaghan said. “Anthony is the best athlete in the program and is coming off an awesome football season. He’s our best rebounder, our best shot-blocker, and is becoming a complete offensive threat.”

Junior Alan Sheppard assumes Smith’s spot at the point, earning it by being the “most improved player in our program” and “a gym rat who loves the game,” according to his coach.

Forward Chad Baughman, another 11th-grader, started most of last season and will be counted on to provide instant offense. He scored 7.7 points per game as a sophomore, highlighted by a 26-point explosion at Highland.

Junior guard Anthony Lorubbio was also named one of the Grizzlies’ captains and should serve as their defensive ace for the second straight season.

Callaghan said all seven of the aforementioned talents will start this season, depending on the opponent and the circumstance, and his lineup could fluctuate on a regular basis.

Since each member of the septet helped Wadsworth go 11-13, including 5-9 in the Suburban League, big-game experience is not a concern.

“If we guard people and rebound the ball, we will be a fun team to watch play,” Callaghan said.