SARAHSVILLE- Last year in head coach Craig Sebring's first season as head coach at Shenandoah, the Zeps had a rather successful 14-8 season.
With eight seniors and five letter winners returning, the 2012-2013 Zeps appear to have a chance to be just as good and maybe a whole lot better than they were a season ago..
"We have a lot of experience and a lot of depth and that is a good thing," said Sebring of his veteran roster. "Expectations are pretty high for me, but I think we have a chance to do really well."
If the Zeps are to take a step forward in the Pioneer Valley Conference this season, a pair of seniors will more than likely lead the way in 5-foot-11 Eli Hurst and point guard Danny Neuhart (5-6).
"Eli was one of our leading scorers last year," said Sebring of Hurst, who averaged in double figures in 2011-2012. "He hit a lot of big three-pointers for us late in games."
While Hurst will be looked upon as one of the main scorers for Shenandoah, Neuhart will be the leader for the Zeps on both ends of the court.
"Danny Neuhart is one of the best point guards in the area," said Sebring. "He can handle the ball really well, takes control of the offense and is a very tenacious defensive player. We're going to expect a lot from those two on the court this year."
Sebring feels the Zeps will be just as solid inside as they are outside with the likes of seniors' James Luyster (6-4) and Brandon Farnsworth (6-2) and junior Stanley Gutowski (6-4) providing plenty of size under the basket.
Luyster figures to provide plenty of offense as well.
"James (Luyster) will be our main post player this year," said Sebring. "He's an excellent shooter both inside and outside and a good rebounder as well."
The Zeps hope to get an additional boost from senior Levi Reed (5-10) who missed all of last season with a torn ACL.
"Levi (Reed) is one of the most tenacious defenders that we have," said Sebring. "He will go right on you and harass you a lot."
Seniors' Brett Bond (5-8), Chase Warner (5-10), and Jesse Wickander (5-10) figure to play key roles for Shenandoah as well.
Juniors' Tanner Moore (5-10), Jacob Warner (5-6), Devin Appold (5-8) and Jacob Ralston (5-10) will also vie for playing time, while Merritt Flood (5-11) is the lone sophomore on the roster.
Sebring sees a family like chemistry developing with his team, one that he hopes will result in more "Ws" when the season kicks off later this month.
"We are a very tight knit group," said Sebring, whose team has rallied around around his own son, the team's manager who recently went through some brain surgery and is currently in the recovery stages. "As long as we can keep together I think we will be a very formable opponent for anyone that we play."
At the top of the list for goals Sebring and his Zeps have set for the season would be a coveted PVC title and the sophomore coach sees no reason why his group can't be a factor. "Each year it depends on different teams and what their make-up is, but the PVC is always going to be tough," said Sebring. "With the experience we have, though, I think we should be right in the hunt."