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The Suburbanite
  • Manchester boys looking to contend in upcoming season

  • Coming off a disappointing 8-13 campaign a year ago, Manchester is looking to turn its fortunes around this season and contend for the team’s first PAC-7 title since 2004-05.

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  • Coming off a disappointing 8-13 campaign a year ago, Manchester is looking to turn its fortunes around this season and contend for the team’s first PAC-7 title since 2004-05.
    The Panthers got out of the gates slowly last year, winning just three of their first 11 outings before making a strong run in the second half of the season. Their ledger eventually ended in the opening round of the Salem Division II Sectionals when they fell to Rootstown 60-53.
    Things should be different this season, as the red and black boast a veteran ball club, returning six letter-winners for 33rd year Head Coach Gene Schindewolf, who is 378-215 at Manchester (28 years) and 426-260 (32 years) overall.
     “We feel that we could have a good group of athletic, hard-working kids,” Schindewolf said. “We had a good summer, and the team chemistry really improved. We are a bit behind right now (due to football playoffs), but we know the kids will work hard to be ready.
    “I really think we will play our best ball later in the season as we move through the year. I would hope we can compete for a league championship and make a run at Salem in the tournaments.”
    Returning to the hardwood are 6-foot-1 senior guard Bryan Daily, 6-foot-2 senior wing Nick Jordan, 6-foot-1 junior wing Austin Klein, 6-foot-4 senior post Jamar Dukes, 5-foot-9 senior guard Chad Robertson and 6-foot-2 senior post Daulton Baksa.
    Manchester’s lineup should also get a big lift from senior Nick Peyakov, a 6-foot-4 post player. Peyakov opted to sit out his junior year to concentrate on his off-season conditioning program for football, which paid off as he led the Panthers to another gridiron title.
    Other newcomers include 5-foot-9 junior guard Matt Sipos, 6-foot-3 junior post Kanyon Collins, 6-foot senior guard Mark Terry and 5-foot-11 junior guard Aaron Hoxworth.
    “Our goals this season are to get better every day and be peaking by February,” Schindewolf said. “I feel that we are athletic and could be very deep, but we lack some experience from some guys, even letter winners, who didn’t play a lot last year. Finding the main scorer who wants the ball in key situations will be key.”
    If Manchester is looking to contend, they will have to unseat defending champion Canton Timken.
    “The league will be quite competitive again,” Schindewolf said. “Timken hasn’t lost a league game in five or six years. CVCA has a bunch of players back and (Bob) Peters is one of the best players in the league. Tuslaw is young, but they have many talented kids. The other schools are always tough. We feel we can contend if we gel as a team early in the season.”
    With the expanded schedule (22 games) this year, the Panthers have added two new opponents: Waterloo (Dec. 18), and Struthers (Jan. 2).
    Page 2 of 2 - The Panthers got their season under way Dec. 1, routing Akron North 67-46 in a non league game.
    Daily and Peyakov both scored double digits with 20 and 13 points, respectively. Collins was tops with six rebounds, while Dukes had five boards and three steals.
    Manchester also battled St. Thomas Aquinas on Tuesday night, dropping a hard-fought 56-50 decision in Louisville.
    Dukes and Peyakov had 11 points apiece.