Boys Basketball: Southeastern ready to compete under new coach

The Southeastern High School boys basketball team won just three games last season, but that didn’t faze John O’Laughlin when he took the head coaching job last May.

He knew there was talent in South Charleston.

“It was just about getting them to play as a team and understand that their effort has to be 100 percent every day,” said O’Laughlin, who coached junior varsity for the Trojans last season. “We’ve got to outwork everyone every day and these are the type of kids to do it. I love being around these kids.”

The Trojans (1-3) picked up a key Ohio Heritage Conference South Division victory last week, beating Greeneview 61-49 — a win that likely opened eyes across the conference.

“The kids are working hard,” O’Laughlin said. “Every day we ask for attitude and effort and we’re getting that. Our effort is right where I want it, but we’ve got to be consistent with it.”

Southeastern is starting to mesh after changing styles in the offseason. The Trojans will play a more in-your-face, man-to-man defensive style this season, O’Laughlin said. Southeastern will also sprinkle in a 1-3-1 zone to change things up, O’Laughlin said.

“The kids are starting to catch on,” he said. “We’re starting to click. It took some to break some habits of playing gaps. Right now, we want to be aggressive and physical.”

The Trojans nearly won back-to-back games last Saturday, but a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Shawnee junior Connor Lyons gave the Braves a 42-39 victory. Trojans senior Charlie Bertemes had 17 points in the loss, including two free throws with 10 seconds remaining to tie the game at 39.

Bertemes is averaging 17.3 points and 10 rebounds per game, while junior Bryce Grim (11.8 ppg) and senior Owen Flannery (10.8 ppg) are both averaging double-figures through four games. He also called junior Tucker Eriksen one of the best defensive players in the league.

“We need those four guys to lead us on both ends of the floor,” O’Laughlin said.

The goal is to outwork every opponent on every play, O’Laughlin said — and that starts at practice.

“The process has been getting the kids to understand how much work and effort it takes to be successful,” O’Laughlin said. “We’ve got to get them to understand the work ethic and I think we’re getting there.”

Lyons roar: The 3-pointer made by Lyons to beat the Trojans last weekend banked off of the backboard, rolled around the cylinder, hit the backboard again and then rolled around the rim and slowly trickled into the hoop to lift the Braves to their second win of the year.

Shawnee (2-2) has had a few buzzer beaters over the years, but none quite like that one, said longtime Braves coach Chris McGuire.

“It’s a credit to Connor for being willing to take the shot,” he said. “He didn’t hesitate. It was crazy. I’ve never been a part of anything like that. That’s why you do this, you see new things all the time. You never know what you’re going to get.”

Big game: Springfield (2-2, 2-0 GWOC) travels to rival Centerville (2-2, 2-0 GWOC) for a key early season Greater Western Ohio Conference National East Division game on Friday.

Both teams are looking to bounce back after tough losses on Tuesday. Springfield lost at Upper Arlington 73-61, while the Elks lost at Trotwood-Madison 75-65.

Hot start: Graham is 5-0 for the first time since 2011. The Falcons are averaging 65.6 points per game, tops in the Central Buckeye Conference. They're led by senior Brevan King, who is averaging 20.2 points and 8.4 rebounds this season.

The Falcons are gunning for their first CBC Mad River Division title since 2013.

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