BC3 opening hoop season
Eagle Staff Writer
Written by:
November 10, 2013

BUTLER TWP — Dick Hartung is dealing with a little give and take this season with the Butler County Community College men’s and women’s basketball programs.

The fourth-year Pioneers coach has discovered a true point guard for the women’s team, but has an unexpected lack of experience on the men’s side.

“We’re anxious to get it going with both teams,” Hartung said. “The players are coachable and I think we’ll be able to compete.”

Hartung expected four starters back from a men’s team that won seven games a year ago. But the lone returnee is sophomore shooting guard Cody West, a Butler graduate.

“Two would-be returning starters are dealing with personal situations and a third guy is ineligible,” Hartung said. “Things happen. We’ll deal with it.

“We don’t have a whole lot of talent, so you look at other things. These guys like each other, they play hard, they’re coachable and dependable. There’s some teams on our schedule that will nail us to the wall, but these kids won’t back down.”

Butler graduate Shae Stobert will be the Pioneers’ point guard. Slippery Rock graduate Michael Rummel, Titusville grad Tyler Copeland and Butler grad Tom Bruce will be in the front-court.

Copeland is 6-foot-4 and Bruce is a former Butler baseball player who is beating out Ty Lambert (Kittanning) and Hunter French (Oil City) for playing time.

“The other two are more talented, but Bruce is playing harder,” Hartung said.

Providing depth off the bench are 6-3 forward Jason Abel from Knoch and guards Tom Barnhart (Portersville Christian), Joey and Josh Friel from Butler.

“Abel is a football player in a basketball uniform. He will take up space,” Hartung said. “This team is 20 minutes early for practice all the time. I love the attitude.”

The Pioneer women won five games last year and get Butler graduate Jen Barry — slowed by a bout with mononucleosis last year — back for a full season. Barry will move from point guard to wing.

Moniteau grad Ashley Brehm will take over at point guard.

“She’s a heady player who will help us,” Hartung said of Brehm. “We were playing Jen out of position last year out of need. Now she can go back to her natural spot.”

Other starters include guard Cam Horwat (Butler), with Kyleigh Custer (Lakeview) and Shelby Johnston (Butler) on the blocks.

Bench help will come from 6-foot-3 Brittany Kellerman (A-C Valley), Kate Omelia (Butler), Jhoey Dewalt (Knoch) and Chloe Marshall (Mars).

“We’ve got a balanced lineup on the floor, solid in all areas,” Hartung said.