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Hines takes over the reins of the Barnesville boys

Photo Provided PICTURED IS the 2020-21 Barnesville basketball team. Front row, from left, are Logan Dodd, Hayden Skinner, Jeremy Hunkler and Colton Hines. Back row, from left, are Kason Powell, Nova Pavell, Jake Edwards, Asa Guilenger and Evan Hudson.

BARNESVILLE — Changes abound in the Barnesville boys basketball program this season as two new eras are set to unfold.

The first is Johnny Hines has taken the reins as the Shamrocks head coach, replacing Matt Johnson, who stepped down following last season.

Hines is no stranger to coaching, He was an assistant to Johnson for a couple of seasons after coaching at the junior high level for both Barnesville and Shenandoah.

“I’m excited,” Hines said. “When I got the job, in June, things were delayed. I met with all the players and they bought in. We started a breakfast club where everybody attended. Both the seniors and juniors have really stepped up.”

The second new era comes on the floor as life without Luke Powell — the Shamrocks all-time leading scorer — begins. Powell, who finished his prep career with 2,375 points and is now on the roster at West Liberty University, put forth a senior campaign in which he averaged more than 30 points a game, earned All-Ohio First Team and was a finalist for the prestigious Mr. Basketball Award.

“We have a lot of differences and that happens when you (graduate) a 30 point scorer,” Hines said. “You can’t replace that with one guy but we have put in a system to spread out the ball and the seniors have really bought in to get that going. Even the middle school teams are buying in. If we can keep everyone interested and playing basketball we should have a nice run the next few years.”

Along with Powell’s departure, the Shamrocks also lost starter Payne Johnson to graduation.

The Shamrocks, who are coming off of a 12-12 season, have a good outlook.

While the starting lineup is not yet finalized, Hines has seen good things in practice.

Junior Colton Hines (5-11) — the son of the head coach — leads a slew of returning lettermen, and is a three-year starter. He will return to his place as the point guard.

Evan Hudson (6-0) is a senior, who Hines called a “dead-eye shooter” has improved his all-around game.

Kason Powell (5-11) and Jeremy Hunkler (5-11) are also returning lettermen as juniors with Powell expecting to see time at the two-guard. Powell was an adept 3-point shooter last winter.

Senior Jake Edwards returns from a couple of years off and may start at center, and could prove to be hard to cover at 6-4-270.

Five seniors dot the Shamrocks roster, with each figuring to see playing time.

Nova Pavell (6-3) should backup at center or as a four, according to his coach.

Hayden Skinner (6-0) was described as “one of our best on-ball defenders.”

Hines sees him relieving the point guard, but can also play the two or three.

Freshman Asa Guilenger (6-2) is a player to keep an eye on as the season moves along.

Sophomore Davis Hickinbottom (5-11) also figures to see varsity time.

The remainder of the varsity and JV roster consists sophomores Logan Dodd (5-5), John Blizzard (5-6) and Laundry Burke (6-0) along with freshmen Luke Detling (5-7), Taison Starr (5-9), Colvin Robb (5-10), Jack Phillips (5-10) and Makel Guyer (5-6).

The Shamrocks have also seen an improvement in their offseason training, which Hines credited to former Buckeye Trail and Ohio University Eastern standout Shane Stephens, who will be coaching the JV team.

Hines noted that the plan is to build on the foundation that has been laid.

“We plan on solidifying what we’ve done the last couple of years. We were down as far as winning percentages, and Matt walked in with Luke and invited me onto the staff and we won 15 games. Last year we were 7-0 to start. We want to solidify that. Our projections this year are to keep everyone healthy, especially with COVID. We want to start where we were a couple years ago and improve on that.”

Varsity Assistants are Jeff Hunkler and Jamie Carpenter, while Shane Stephens will coach the JV assisted by Jonny Burke.

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