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Gators are confident headed into season

| Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2002

The Geibel boys basketball team had a fairly successful season in 2001-02. The Gators posted a 15-5 record and went to the playoffs before being beaten in the first round.

This year, head coach Ken Misiak believes that Geibel can again make the playoffs and make their stay in the postseason an extended one.

"Right now our main goal is to win the section, and that's what we're working for," Misiak said as he enters his 44th season as the team's coach. "We don't want to go into the first round of the playoffs and just sit down. We know there's a lot of competition in Class A, but if we keep working, we'll be okay."

Geibel's main competitors will feature Section 2-A rivals Avella, California, Carmichaels, Jefferson Morgan, Mapletown and West Greene.

If the Gators hope to win this section, they'll have to play to their strengths. And the team's biggest asset is its ability to put the ball in the basket.

"We have good shooters," Misiak said.

The coach listed seniors Jordan White (guard) and Dale Speggen (guard) as well as sophomore Robert Ramsey (guard) as solid outside shooters.

On the inside, the Gators may lack a little size thanks to the loss of Chris Cox, who graduated and is now playing at Penn State-Fayette.

"Inside, we'll miss Cox, but we have some speed," Misiak said.

Look for seniors Travis Welc (center), Zack Leonard (forward) and John Bokat (forward) to do some good work in the paint and on the glass.

The five seniors on this team are also the club's returning lettermen, which means the Gators have a good mix of experience and leadership.

They also have some depth thanks to 16 underclassmen.

"So far, we are in a better position than what we were last year," Misiak said. "We have more depth and more balance."

Although the Gators return four starters from last year in White, Welc, Bokat and Speggen, Misiak pointed out that starting jobs for this season are still on the line.

"I'm not settled on any positive five," Misiak said. "Hopefully we'll get that done during our exhibition games and scrimmages."

The seniors should see plenty of action, but don't be surprised to see players such as Ramsey and freshmen Kellen Holmes (forward) to step into some key roles throughout the season.

In addition, juniors Earl Gilbert (guard), Jeremiah Voithofer (forward), Nick Staffieri (center), Mark McCahill (guard), Tory White (guard), C.J. Riedmann (guard), Kevin Barry (guard) and Brandon Welc (forward) as well as sophomores Zack Voithofer (forward), Andrew Broadwater (guard), Zach Hewitt (center), Joe Fagan (forward), Nathan Fox (guard) and A.J. Ardabell (forward) give the Gators a lot of deep talent, which could come in handy during the long season.

Misiak, who is assisted by Bob Fedorko and Jerry Valencik, knows that the team has to step up on defense this season.

"Our defense isn't quite where it needs to be, and defense is what wins it," Misiak admitted. "But I think we'll be able to wear teams down and that should be to our advantage.

"I'm excited," Misiak continued. "Our kids have really been working hard at the game."

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