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Boys basketball preview: Dukes look to move on without Cohn

Frank Toohey of York tries to keep the ball away from defenders in a game against Morton last year. Toohey returns as the Dukes' main offensive threat this winter.
Frank Toohey of York tries to keep the ball away from defenders in a game against Morton last year. Toohey returns as the Dukes' main offensive threat this winter.

ELMHURST – How do you replace a star point guard like David Cohn?

You don’t.

At least that’s what York coach Vince Doran is saying.

“It’s real easy: David is not replaceable,” Doran said. “I’d be foolish to try to even mention any of our guys in the same breath as him. We don’t have anyone like that. I told our kids right away we’re going to be a different team. We’re not a one-man show. In some ways we’re going to be harder to guard.”

Doran hopes his team will be more unpredictable as opposed to last year, when defenses focused on shutting down Cohn as much as possible.

Despite the departure of Cohn, York brings back three starters led by Air Force-recruit Frank Toohey. The 6-foot-8 post player will give the Dukes an elite player on the inside, and he will be the focus after fellow 6-foot-8 forward Justin Kurash graduated.

In addition to Toohey, sharpshooter Charlie Rose could become a big part of the offense. Fellow senior guards Jack Heinle and Stanley Roberts are also expected to log heavy minutes.

“We have a nice group coming back,” Doran said. “We lost a lot with David and Justin, but those other kids have good varsity experience.”

Rose, Roberts and Heinle are all wings, meaning none will take over for Cohn at point guard. Junior Luke Libert is the early candidate to fill Cohn’s shoes, at least in terms of the position.

The bench will be primarily filled by more seniors – the Dukes have 11 on the roster. Chris Klos, Brent Gasparich and Sean Lyons will see regular minutes, although Lyons will be out until around Christmas due to an injury. Juniors Joseph Pierotti and Jayvon Thomas should also see playing time.

“We’re really senior dominated, which is a really good thing,” Doran said. “We’ve got nice balance throughout the program, but this particular season we have a lot of kids with a lot of experience.”

The Dukes won two holiday tournaments and a regional last year, but came up short in the West Suburban Silver. Lyons Township, Oak Park and defending champ Hinsdale Central are expected to be in the running.

“I think every year you go in wanting to win a conference championship,” Doran said. “We were unable to do that last year and I know that’s something the kids certainly want to achieve.”

York Dukes

Coach: Vince Doran

Conference: West Suburban Silver

2012-13 record: 22-8 (8-4 WSS)

Next game: Friday, Nov. 29 at Palatine tournament

Top returners:

Jack Heinle sr. G

Stanley Roberts sr. G

Charlie Rose sr. G

Frank Toohey sr. F

Promising newcomers:

Luke Libert jr. G

Joseph Pierotti jr. F

Jayvon Thomas jr. G

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