The A-C Valley boys’ basketball team headed into the 2022-2023 season looking to build upon their experience from the 2021-2022 campaign. The Falcons finished 9-13 overall and 4-6 in the conference a year ago and return some experienced players to help improve upon that record.
Coach Brad Dittman who is also the A-C Valley/Union head football coach and his defensive coordinator from the grid iron, Chris McNany will take over the helm this season on the hardwood as co-head coaches. Both have a lot of familiarity with the kids.
The Falcons returning starters include a pair of seniors in Alex Preston and Ryan Cooper and a pair of juniors in Jay Clover and Brody Dittman. The Falcons will rely mainly on the inside big men Preston and Clover to put up numbers.
Both Clover and Preston have plenty of experience at the varsity level. Clover begins his third year at the varsity level having appeared in 14 games in his freshman tilt with a 5.1 ppg. Last season Clover led the team in scoring as a sophomore averaging 13.3 points per game. Complimenting Clover inside, Preston appeared in 18 games as a sophomore and averaged 10.8 points per game from a season ago as a Jr.
Also returning for this year for the Falcons are Sr., Ryan Cooper and Jr., Brody Dittman. Both Cooper and Dittman will be looked upon to keep the offense in motion. Dittman averaged 7.3 ppg. last season and Cooper 6.3 ppg. Rounding out the starting lineup will be sr., Lane Bauer.
The Falcons are currently 6-9 overall and 1-2 in the conference and if there would be one word to describe their level of play it would be “close” and their 6-9 record not indicative of their potential. The Falcons opened up the season 3-2 and showed some resiliency in a 76-67 win over North Clarion and the capabilities of their offense. The Falcons lost two close games to both Union (54-42) and Clarion (47-45). The Falcons stacked up two wins against Sheffield (46-41) and Lakeview (60-35) and a tough loss to a strong C-L team (63-36) and only one of the games the Falcons were not in contention. Sitting at 6-5 the Falcons dropped their next five games: Keystone (48-40); Redbank (65-56); Karns City (53-47) and Moniteau (63-56), Keystone (71-50).
Sitting at 6-10 both Dittman and McNany are not deterred by their efforts. “Our kids have a lot of effort and heart. The last five games have not gone well for us but these guys have continued to battle every game. We have been really close in a lot of our games. We just need to keep grinding it out and working hard. If we do that and clean up a few things we have been working on we will be ok. Turnovers (12.3pg) have been haunting us all season and as the season progresses we will be working on trying to limit them, stated coach Dittman.
The Falcons are led in scoring by Jr., Jay Clover, 18.6 points per game to go along with 9.8 rebounds per game. Clover has connected on 73% of his field goal attempts. Sr., Alex Preston averages 12.3 points per game and 7.4 rebounds and Jr. Brody Dittman at 6.8 points per contest. Offensively the Falcons are averaging around 52 points per game.
“Coach McNany and I have had a great time coaching this group of guys. They work really hard and do anything that is asked of them and they continue to battle every game with a lot of heart,” commented coach Dittman.
The Falcons upcoming home games are Jan. 25th vs. West Forest at 6:00 pm; February 8th at 6:00 pm vs. Union and Saturday, Feb. 11th at 3:00 pm vs. Cambridge Springs.
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