Central up for grabs; West is loaded 

Don’t let the small enrollments and tiny gyms fool you: The Bay Counties League boasts some of The City’s best basketball and most heated rivalries.

"Within the league, every game is a big game," University coach Randy Bessolo said. "It’s kind of like the ACC — whoever you’re playing next is your biggest rival."

Strong guard play and pressure defense should define the league, with the Central title seemingly wide open and the race in the West between Lick-Wilmerding, Stuart Hall and University unlikely to be settled until the regular-season’s final week.

Here is a preview of The City teams (in alphabetical order):

Central Division

BAY (4-6): Coach Dennis Hartzell and the Breakers are off to an encouraging start in their first season as a program and have won two straight heading into league play.

GATEWAY (5-6): Senior center Aaron Williams gives the Gators a formidable low-post threat and is averaging 11.9 points and 13.7 rebounds per game. Teammate Aaron Ogilvie is scoring a team-best 12.4 points per game.

INTERNATIONAL (6-7): The Jaguars are rebuilding after winning 28 games and a league championship a year ago. Senior center Seaver Kyaw looks to be the top offensive option, while forwards Ryan Doubiago and Harry DiFrancesco have shown promise.

LEADERSHIP (3-9): Guard Dante Stuart is averaging 10.9 points per game to pace the Griffin, while charismatic point guard Major Corpuz leads the team in assists and steals.

WALDORF (5-7): Junior guard Martin Jackson has had the touch early on for the Wolverines and is averaging a team-best 16.3 points per game. Center Barry Horton has chipped in with 8.3 points and 12.7 rebounds.

West Division

DREW (7-5): Senior Scott Schulkin is one of the league’s top players and will likely score his 2,000th career point this season. Younger brother Eric Schulkin has developed into a sound shooter and dependable second option for the Dragons.

LICK-WILMERDING (7-5): Do-everything guard Marcus Wells was first-team All-BCL last season and joins Nick Miller to form a potent backcourt for the Tigers.

STUART HALL (11-2): Sophomore guard Stephen Powell makes the Knights go, while big man Badi Gila is a strong rebounder who can finish plays around the basket.

UNIVERSITY (10-3): Spark plug point guard Shimon Lin is back for the Red Devils and will look to push the pace at every opportunity. Thomas Bosc, Brian Park and Evan Saunders will all benefit from Bessolo’s "share the sugar" offensive philosophy.

URBAN (6-7): Coach Eric Williams and the Blues have already matched last season’s win total. Now, swingman Nate Smith and Co. are looking to continue to show signs of improvement.

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