With the high school basketball season just two weeks away, every day before the season starts we'll take a glance at a WBL squad. (Yesterday, Celina: http://theeveningleader.com/content/preseason-wbl-basketball-glance-celina  )
Today, a look at the Defiance Bulldogs, who look to win 14 or more games for the sixth straight season.
The Evening Leader's Winter Sports Preview will be inserted in the newspaper on Tuesday, Nov. 29, featuring winter sports team pictures, schedules, rosters and previews from teams from St. Marys, Minster, New Bremen and New Knoxville.
Roster and Schedule Link:
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Letterwinners Lost: 1
Returning Letterwinners: 7
2010-2011 Record: 17-5, 7-2 in the WBL (2nd place), Lost in district semifinals to Toledo Scott
Key Loss: C Eric Stapleton (14.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG)
Key Returners: F Anthony Kidston (6-2, Sr., 2nd Team All-WBL, 11.6 PPG, 4.5 APG), G Doug Herrett (6-2, Sr., 3rd Team All-WBL, 10.4 PPG), G Tory Guilliam (5-11, Sr., 6.5 PPG, 3.0 APG).
Surrounding Cast: Josh Scott (G, 5-9, Sr., injured for 2010-11 season), Jacob Moore (G, 5-7, Sr.), Shea Murray (F, 6-5, Sr.), Jordan Tobias (F, 6-3, Jr.).
Newcomer: Kameron Shankle (F, 6-0, Jr.)
The Scoop: Defiance loses just one player from a team that rolled all the way to the district title game a season ago, but that one loss is a big one. Eric Stapleton was a 6-foot-8 force in the middle of the paint who scored, rebounded and kept teams away from the basket with blocked shots.
Defiance held teams to a WBL-low 45.3 points per game a season ago — largely because of Stapleton's looming presence.
Now it must find new post answers.
"This team's ability to rebound will go a long way in deciding how good the 2011-2012 team will be," Defiance head coach Kirk Lehman said. "We must find a post presence to replace Stapleton at both the offensive and defensive end."
"Defensively, this team has many question marks," Lehman added.
Defiance has plenty of firepower from the perimeter, though.
Anthony Kidston transferred to Defiance two years ago and will now be one of the focal points of the Bulldogs. the 6-2 wing scored 11.6 points per game last year and was a second-team All-WBL performer. He shot 71 percent from inside the arc and hoisted up more than 100 three-pointers and hit at a 37 percent rate.
Doug Herrett gives Lehman quality guard play and was a third-team All-WBL player last year who hit more than 40 three-pointers last season at a 35 percent clip.
Tory Guilliam is another experienced guard who scored 6.5 points per game last year.
"We return a number of quality perimeter players that will be the strength of the team," Lehman said.
Defiance scored 54.1 points per game last season, shooting 51 percent from the floor and 36 percent from behind the three-point arc. They hit free throws at a 63-percent clip.