Clinton coach Ruhl optimistic heading into season

Before heading into the first game of the varsity boys basketball season Clinton head coach Mike Ruhl said he’s very optimistic about the Redskins’ chances for success.The Redskins didn’t let their coach down and dominated Manchester for a 62-39 win on Monday, Dec. 3.“We return a great deal of impact players from last year’s team who started off hot and then struggled late,” said Ruhl. “We learned a great deal from those highs and lows and are ready to contend in a senior-heavy and talented TCC (Tri-County Conference). We will score points, but truly buying in to defense is going to be the key for us to achieve our goals.”The Redskins finished 7-7 in the TCC and 11-10 overall last year. Clinton made a statement right out of the starting gate last year, going on a 7-1 run and a 5-0 start in the conference.The number one returning starter from last season is junior guard TJ Baker, an honorable mention all-state Class C recipient as a sophomore.Clinton senior center Grant Clark is expected by the coach to be a big contributor. He played in the first three games on last year’s schedule before being sidelined from knee surgery.Another senior center, Ricky Miller, played in the final six games last year after returning from an injury.Senior forward Cullen Zimmerman was very versatile in the past for the Redskins and is expected by the coach to be a steady defender and shooter.Junior guard Cody Mulready started multiple games last year as a sophomore while senior guard Luke Schaffner connected on numerous big shots to help Clinton pick up some early season wins.Other players to watch include senior guard Marco Nunzi, a foreign exchange student who the coach says is fast and talented at the point.Senior guard Devin Lillis, is said by the coach to be much improved from last year while senior center Mike Mistopoulos will provide depth inside.Coach Ruhl hopes sophomore guard Ryan Karapas brings energy and confidence off the bench and junior guard Reid Clark can be effective shooting and penetrating.Junior forward Ryan Piatt, should help provide length, defense and rebounding while senior guard John Allen is a team oriented player who works hard and is looking to make the lineup.This will be junior forward Sebastian Trout’s first year playing and he’ll be looking to gain experience.

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