LEXINGTON — The question hasn’t been answered in its entirety, but Lexington coach Scott Hamilton is beginning to get an idea for what the solution looks like.
The one overriding concern Hamilton had going into the season was figuring out how to replace last year’s starting backcourt. Mason Kearns and Bryant Givand were lost to graduation and while neither was a marquee scorer — the duo combined to average about 12 points a game — their fingerprints were all over Lex’s run to the Division II Final Four last March.
Kearns, an All-Ohio soccer player, was Lexington’s primary ball handler and best perimeter defender. Givand was at his best in the regional tournament last year, scoring 20 points in the two games at Bowling Green State University — including 11 in 65-64 win over Bay in the final.
“They were huge leaders for us coming down the stretch,” Hamilton said.
Kyle Johnston, the Division II cross country state champ and Lex’s first perimeter player off the bench last year, has taken Givand’s spot. Jacob Depperschmidt, the quarterback of Lexington’s playoff-qualifying football team, is the new point guard.
“We’re figuring out our roles,” Hamilton said after Saturday’s easier-than-expected 63-45 win over previously unbeaten Clyde. “We’ve always had guys who can step up and knock down some shots. It’s taking care of the ball and getting it to the right place at the right time. One of the things we talk about over and over in practice is, ‘Let’s pass up a good shot for a great shot.’ ”
The 6-foot-3 Depperschmidt has done an admirable job in that regard. He had a pair of assists to go with his 10 points Saturday after scoring 14 points in Friday’s win over Sandusky.
“It was a little rough at first,” Depperschmidt said of his transition to the starting point guard. “More than anything (replacing Kearns) has been by committee. We’re working as a team and we’re getting better at it every day.
“Playing point guard is kind of like playing quarterback. That experience helped because as quarterback I were touching the ball on every play and I had to deal with the pressure.”
The Minutemen have also gotten valuable backcourt minutes from juniors Kaydan Berry and Danny Shaffer. Berry, another of Lexington’s standout football players, had eight points and four rebounds in Saturday’s win over Clyde.
With opponents focused on slowing All-Ohio candidate Cade Stover and returning starters Josh Aiello and Ben Vore, Lexington’s new-look backcourt will have to figures things out in a hurry. The Minutemen dropped back-to-back games to Shelby in Mount Vernon and were 1-2 before picking up a pair of wins last weekend.
“More than anything it was a wake-up call,” Depperschmidt said of the early struggles. “We’re no strangers to starting off slow. We did the same thing last year.”
Lex was 2-2 after losing consecutive games last December. The Minutemen would finish with a record of 23-6.
The Lexington football team started the season 0-3 and was 1-4 at the midway point before winning its final five regular season games. The Minutemen won a first-round playoff game and finished the year at 7-5
“For the football guys, we did the same thing in football,” Depperschmidt said. “We’re not going to panic. We just need to keep working and getting better every day.”