Veteran Valley Head Coach John Kocher, in his 17th season, hasn't quite seen a team like the one he has this season. And that's good for the Lumberjacks.
"I think this maybe the best shape team this program has seen since I've been here," said Kocher. "They are just like the Energizer Bunny, they keep going and going. Hopefully, we can wear down some teams."
However, Valley lost its top rebounded and scorer to graduation last year. Clay Ueltschy averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. But, factor in the losses of Drew Wade, Hunter Ring, Jon Smallwood, and Brady Nolan, and Kocher will need to get some scoring and rebounding somewhere.
Look no farther than 6' junior Tristen Kocher and 6'3" Jack Wells. Tristen was the team's second leading scorer and rebounder last season, while Wells was the team's sixth man. Kocher is the team's lone junior player who can light it up from the outside or take it to the hole. He also doesn't mind crashing the boards and doing what is needed to take his game to another level.
Wells can run the floor as well as any big man in the high school game and is not afraid to take it hard to the bucket. He is an excellent rebounder and can jump out of the gym, as well. "Wells has gotten a lot stronger and his vertical leap has increased with his play over the summer," said Kocher.
Others who look to see quite a bit of time on the floor are senior guards Tyler Hayes (5'8"); Troy Hubbard (5'10"); and Jordan "Air" Anderson (5'9").
In addition, there will be senior post player 6'6" Ryan Lemley, sophomores Hayden Lancaster (6'3") and Peyton Palmer (6'); freshmen Trey Streets (5'8"); Laith Ueltschy (5'8"); and 6'2" Joey Preat.
Rounding out this year's squad are C.J. Price, Billy McGraw, Taylor Bates, Jacob Ueltschy, Joey Goontz, Brian Higgins, Tucker Cain, Kinsey Utt, James Smallwood, Dakota Highley, Dusty Lowe, Colton Ring, and Liam Midcap.
Helping Kocher is veteran Assistant Coach Leslie Lively.
The Lumberjacks will open their season at Tyler Consolidated on Dec. 4 and will participate in the Paden City Holliday Tournament at Bob Burton Gymnasium Dec. 7-8.