McClain's Gavin Warren is pictured in a game for the Tigers last season. (HCP Photo/Jim Jones)
McClain's Gavin Warren is pictured in a game for the Tigers last season. (HCP Photo/Jim Jones)
Much has changed since last March for the McClain Tigers boys basketball team. They have a new head coach in Bob Williams, and they graduated 10 seniors from a team that competed in the regional round of tournament play a season ago.

Williams takes over for Joe B. Stewart, who stepped down from being the Tigers’ head coach following a historic overall season that saw the Tigers win a Frontier Athletic Conference championship for the first time, a sectional championship and a district championship, which was the first occurrence in 17 years.

Last season, the Tigers finished with a 17-4 overall record and played in the regional semifinals, where they lost to Waverly by a 50-44 score in overtime at the Ohio University Convocation Center. In FAC play last season, McClain finished 8-2.

MHS also saw 1,000-point scorer Bryson Badgley graduate following last season, a season where he was a third-team All-Ohio selection with 18.1 points per game, followed by 7.4 rebounds per game. He shot 43 percent from the field, plus shot 69 percent from the free-throw line.

Also graduated are honorable mention All-Ohio selection Kendyll Toney, who averaged 13.9 ppg, along with 6.5 rpg and 2.8 apg, and he shot 43 percent from the field; and All-District honoree Braden Wright.

With all that success and so many seniors graduating, it is time for the Tigers to regroup this season and see where they stand. The roster for MHS includes five seniors, six juniors and three sophomores, as the team has zero starters returning from last season’s starting lineup.

Seniors for McClain include guard Gavin Warren, guard Trey Badgley, guard Josiah Burchett, forward David Edwards and forward Robbie Wise.

Juniors for the Tigers are forward Andrew Potts, guard Seth Weller, forward Drake Stapleton, forward Isaiah Irvin, forward Jayden Allison and guard Kenton McGlone. Sophomores for the Tigers are forward Owen Sykes, guard Zane Adams, guard Riley Cummins and guard Branden Green.

“I'm really excited about our seniors that had limited varsity minutes last season. Gavin Warren and Trey Badgley, we will rely on them throughout the season, along with fellow seniors Robbie, David and Josiah,” Williams said. “Gavin has proven to be the floor leader during the summer and early part of the season. Gavin comes to practice ready to play hard and with discipline and has been elected team captain.

“Andrew Potts and Seth Weller are hard workers that will be an integral part of the team. We also have a good group of hungry sophomores that push the upperclassmen and will challenge for starting positions.”

The offseason has been a chance for the Tigers to have a learning experience from their new head coach, and players seemed to be excited as well as Williams spoke about the participation from the players during the summer.

“We had really strong participation in the offseason. Our gym was full. We played several summer league games and a shootout,” he said. “We picked back up after August with open gyms and had really good participation.

“Our young men have been very accepting of the transition to a new coach and coaching staff. They are willing to learn and grow in this new system. They are a typical Greenfield McClain team that are willing to play hard and sacrifice for the good of the team. Our team will always be willing to improve every practice. As with any Greenfield McClain team, we will strive to be a disciplined, hardworking team.”

The Tigers are the defending FAC champions, but each season the conference is strong, so what are McClain’s expectations with a whole new team of starters and new head coach? In FAC play, they will take on Washington, Miami Trace, Hillsboro, Chillicothe and Jackson.

“Our expectations are to compete at the highest level possible and be a defensive-minded basketball team that will play selflessly for each teammate,” Williams said. “We are inexperienced when it comes to varsity minutes, but they are an extremely hardworking group of young men willing to learn and make adjustments.

“Knowing the schools, coaches and communities in this conference, my thoughts are that teams will bring dedication and passion to every game.”

As for non-conference games for McClain, their 2022-23 schedule includes: Paint Valley, Fayetteville, Fairfield, Unioto, Clinton-Massie, Lynchburg-Clay, East Clinton, Vinton County, Adena, Whiteoak, Zane Trace and Piketon.

“We have a challenging non-conference schedule, playing a lot of basketball dominant schools that will give us different looks each night,” Williams said. “Basketball season is in full swing, and we are excited to play ball. Good luck to all the coaches and players this season.”

McClain began their 2022-23 season Wednesday, Nov. 23 on the road against Paint Valley in non-conference play.