SHELTON — Shelton’s boys basketball program has had six straight losing seasons. The Bulldogs last winning record came in 2012-13, and since then, they’ve averaged five wins per season.
Last year, the Bulldogs won four of their last five games to post an 8-14 mark. They didn’t have one senior who played, giving the Bulldogs’ hope they can build on last year’s results, especially with all five starters back this season.
Marcus Lauber, a 6-foot-5 senior forward, is the Bulldogs’ top returner. He averaged a team-high 11.9 points and finished second with 5.4 rebounds per game.
Angel Lehn, a 6-5 junior, was the Bulldogs’ only other double-digit scorer on the season. He recorded 10.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
Seniors Ben Bombeck, Erixon Ramos, Kyle Wiehn and Ry Cheney are the other key returners for the Bulldogs this season.
They begin the season with a road contest Thursday against Elm Creek.
After back-to-back winless seasons, which featured 41 total losses, the Bulldogs have a new coach. Former Ravenna and Centura High coach Jeff Thober will take over the program after Will Reutzel’s three-year stint.
Since 2012-13, the Bulldogs have struggled. The highest win total they’ve had in a season during that seven-year stretch was in 2012-13 when they won four games. They’ve had four winless seasons and won eight games during that time.
Last season, the Bulldogs averaged just 18.8 points per game while allowing opponents to score 55.9 points per contest.
The Bulldogs return three of their top four scorers from last season. The roster will consist of nine freshmen, four sophomores, one junior and one senior this year. They open the season Thursday at Elm Creek.
"We expect to be a very competitive team," Thober said. "Our focus will be on player development and playing hard. This is a very dedicated group who is willing to put in the time and effort to be successful. When you are dealing with a high number of these types of kids, usually good things happen."
The Bulldogs return five varsity wrestlers from last year’s team, including Jesse Sauceda, who finished third at the state wrestling meet at 106 pounds. It was the second straight year Sauceda placed third at state.
They also bring back Sam Tourney at 126 pounds, Ethan Dack at 132, Castor Ruyle at 145 and Mason King at 152.
The Bulldogs will participate in the Ravenna Invitational on Saturday to begin the season.