Inexperienced Toppers ready to compete

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Chardon returns just one starter from last season’s squad that finished 14-10, but the Hilltoppers aren’t short on talent.

Third-year coach Chard Murawski is confident his senior-laden squad has the athleticism and leadership to be competitive in the Western Reserve Conference and beyond.

“Our players work extremely hard,” Murawski said. “We have one returning starter and very little varsity experience. We have great senior leadership who will help us through this season.”

The Hilltoppers will be tested early as four new starters settle into their roles.

“It will be a trial by fire this year,” Murawski said.

Senior guard Ben Sulka is the lone returning starter. The 6-fot-2 shooting guard will be counted on to continue to shine on both ends of the court.

“He’s the most athletic on the team,” Murawski said. “He’s the best overall scorer/slasher. He is also a phenomenal rebounder.”

Seniors Mikey Corsillo and Jake Skilton also will start at guard.

Corsillo is a 5-foot-10 point guard while Skilton is a 5-foot-11 shooting guard.

“Mikey is an extremely quick point guard and he has the best ball-handling skills on the team,” Murawski said. “Jake Skilton is a great shooter. He’s a physical guard with a high basketball IQ.”

Senior Jacob Hougan, a 6-foot-7 center, and freshman Nathanael Sulka, a 6-foot-2 forward, round out the projected starting lineup.

“Nathanael Sulka is a gifted freshman who will make significant contributions,” Murawski said. “He has great athleticism and is very physically gifted. Jacob Hougan is a big, tall post presence. He’s a good finisher around the rim.”

Seniors Patrick Mears (5-10), Will Kidd (6-3) and Dante Perrico (6-0) and sophomores Brady Toth (6-3), Ethan Sole (6-1) and Drew Fetchik (5-10) also are expected to contribute.

While the Hilltoppers enter the season with plenty of potential, they’ll need to remain healthy to achieve their goals during the 2018-2019 season.

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The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.