STEUBENVILLE-Mike Haney has one major mission in mind for his Steubenville boys' basketball team - play fast.
Lacking a true big man, Haney, who is entering his fifth season at Big Red, knows his players will need to ''hustle constantly, hustle everywhere on the floor and play fast.''
Big Red, who bowed to Minerva in the Division II sectional tournament to finish at 12-6 a season ago, has three letter winners returning.
Leading the way is senior Periogn West, who earned special mention in the all-Eastern District balloting as a junior.
''He'll be one of the leaders of the team,'' Haney said of his point guard. ''He works hard; he's in the gym every day. He put in a lot of time during the offseason. We're expecting a lot out of him and we'll look to him to control the tempo.''
The other lettermen are senior guards John Linn and Tajuan Lawson.
Haney's varsity roster features six seniors (Teshawn Luke, Dashon Redman and Mylik Young join the letter winners) along with three juniors (Adam Sterling, Chris Smith and Brandon Herring-Hill) and a sophomore, Lucas Herrington.
Sterling, a 6-foot-5 forward, is the tallest player on the Big Red squad. Young goes 6-3 and Luke, who hasn't played since his freshman year, is 6-2.
''We have to put pressure on our opponents and we all need to box out,'' Haney said. ''Everybody will have to crash the boards. We can't expect one or two guys to clear the boards for us. At the same time, we'll also need to be aware of the need to get back defensively.''
Steubenville will begin its season with four straight home games. Indian Creek, back on the schedule for the first time in several years.