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As Mark Guido enters his third year at the helm of the St. Marys Area Flying Dutch basketball squad, he has an enthusiastic group of players battling for the starting spots.
Guido has been coaching basketball for 23 years, eight with the St. Marys Area program.
â€śThis year we will have an athletic team. We have good overall team speed and quickness,â€ť said Guido. â€śWe have an enthusiastic group of kids. They are high-energy. Now we just have to convert that to the basketball court.â€ť
The Dutch have two returning letter winners in seniors Jimmy Werner and Justin Quiggle.
â€śWith only two returning letter winners, weâ€™re going to need to see who's going to step up and contribute,â€ť said Guido. "We have high expectations for the post players this year. We need to see if (juniors) Shajuan Carrero, Justin Beimel and Brandon Vollmer can step up and give us the defensive and offensive presence we need in the post.â€ť
Looking to play the point guard slot are seniors Justin Quiggle, Michael Fox and Sam Guido, along with freshman Phil Danz.
At the shooting guard spot will be either Quiggle or Guido. Also in the picture are Kyle Gaton and Quinn Cunningham.
Handling the duties at the number three spot will be Brandon Vollmer or Caleb Bennett.
The number four and five spots will be more of a committee as Werner, Carrero, Vollmer and Justin Beimel are battling for the starting spots.
â€śOur goals are similar to last year: to improve our District 9 League record and get back to the District 9-AAA title game and win it,â€ť noted Guido.
The coach said he feels that the teams to beat in the District 9 League this year are Bradford and Brookville.
â€śBradford returns a nice nucleus and Brookville has Hackett back,â€ť said the coach. â€śBradford will also be the team to beat in AAA play.â€ť
Guido will have Jason Schreiber as his first assistant. Schreiber will also be coaching the junior varsity squad. Seth Rhed will be the ninth grade coach, while Paul Benjamin is coaching the eighth grade and Anthony Mastrogiacomo the seventh grade.
The Dutch open their season tonight by traveling to Johnsonburg to take on the Rams in a non-league contest.