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New era begins for Oakville boys' basketball team as Ash takes the reins

A new era has begun at Oakville Senior High School as Kenny Ash takes the reins of the boys' basketball team.

Ash replaces Terry Cochran, who resigned at the end of last season after the Tigers posted a record of 10-16 overall with a 3-5 mark in Suburban South Conference play.

The new head coach of the Tigers spent the previous four seasons at West County High School in Leadwood, where he posted a record of 59-45. Ash's Bulldogs won one Min-eral Area Conference championship and two conference tournament championships under his tenure.

Oakville enters the season with all five starters returning this season — something that gives Ash the belief that things are on the upswing for the Tigers.

"It's a new system for the kids, so there are going to be adjustments," Ash told the Call. "We're going to try and be an up-tempo team. We've got some smart kids on the team that are very eager to learn."

The Tigers return two all-conference selections in seniors Todd Kulage and Ryan Lynch.

Kulage led the Tigers in scoring with 12.8 points per game last season and was 17 of 36 from three-point range. The 6-foot-1-inch guard also led Oakville in assists (51) and steals (47). Ash hopes that Kulage's good ball-handling skills and strong sense of leadership will be key ingredients to the black and gold's success this season.

"Todd's a very smart player and has some good skills," Ash said. "He's going to play a lot of point guard for us. Todd provides a lot of leadership and really wants to win."

As a 6-foot-3-inch forward, Lynch also was a standout for the Tigers as he averaged 7.6 points per game, while pulling down 78 rebounds. He also generated 33 assists, 17 steals and nine blocked shots. "Ryan's really a defensive specialist," Ash said. "He can guard guards and post players, which will be really valuable to us."

Junior center Drew Martin returns this season after leading the team in rebounds with 7.6 per game. Martin also averaged nine points a game last year, while making 23 assists, 23 steals and a team-high 21 blocked shots.

"Drew's a big kid who's looking really good this season," Ash said. "He's got tremendous hands and footwork for a kid that's 6 foot, 7 inches and still growing. He's been working really hard and has got the right kind of attitude this year."

Seniors Mike Schubert, Dan Graham and Travis Shegog should figure heavily into the mix this season. Shegog is spending his first season on the varsity squad and Ash hopes that he can be an immediate contributor to this year's team.

Schubert averaged 4.5 points per game last season, while grabbing 4.5 rebounds per game. Graham scored 3.6 points per game and pulled down 5 rebounds per game.

Junior guard/forward Matt McKiernan and sophomore guard/forward Steve Headrick also will be players to keep an eye on this season, according to the Oakville coach.

Oakville begins play this week in the South Side Classic at Hancock Senior High and will have faced St. John's after the Call went to press.

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