2021-22 Hilltop boys basketball team picture

Members of the Hilltop boys basketball team are (front row, from left) Raace Haynes, Robert Rodriguez, Matthew Wyse, Justin Ayala-Aguilera, Carson Jennings and Ian Hoffman; (back) assistant coach Brian Nelson, Brock Kesler, Carson Crossgrove, Cameron Schlosser, Anthony Eckenrode, Aiden Funkhouser, Devin Dempsey, assistant coach Briton Moore and coach Bill Williams.

WEST UNITY — Hilltop’s boys basketball team is looking for more success than a year ago.

The Cadets are coming off a 1-21 record (0-12 Buckeye Border Conference) and look to use a mix of returners and a promising freshman class to improve from last year.

“We return quite a few guys, hoping to get healthy — got a couple guys banged up right now,” said Hilltop coach Bill Williams, who’s entering his fourth year leading the Cadets. “We’ll be better — we will be better. We got a lot of freshman. Our eighth-grade class was a good group last year, so we got four freshman that will be playing some varsity minutes.

“Our starting guard (Raace Haynes) was a freshman last year, he’s a sophomore this year. He’s taken a big leap... We return our best shooter (senior Ian Hoffman), we want to get better on defense this year, we’re going to crash the boards better. We want to do everything better.”

Hoffman (6-foot-1) and 5-9 senior Carson Jennings both return as three-year letterwinners, while Haynes (5-10) comes back with one letter.

Also returning for Hilltop is 6-1 senior Matthew Wyse (one-year letterwinner) and 5-9 junior Aiden Funkhouser (one-year).

“I think Matthew Wyse is going to be a kid that maybe people don’t know and is going to have a decent season for us,” Williams said. “Played a lot of JV last year, played spotty varsity minutes and then in the tournament game against Stryker played the whole game, played well. And I think he’s going to add on to that.

“I think he’s going to have a good senior season.”

Four freshmen will be added to the fray this season: Devin Dempsey (5-9), Brock Kesler (5-9), Carson Crossgrove (5-9) and Cameron Schlosser (5-10). Seniors Justin Ayala-Aguilera (6-0) and Robert Rodriguez (5-9), as well as sophomore Anthony Eckenrode (6-0), make up the rest of the Cadets’ roster.

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