Greendale - Ryan Johnsen hopes his return to his alma mater at Greendale High School proves to be successful.
Johnsen, who played basketball for the Panthers from 2001-03, is back at the school as the boys head coach for the 2012-13 season, taking over for Ryan Fiet.
He was the head coach at Cudahy last season and coached the Greendale junior varsity team prior to that.
Johnsen inherits a squad that was 8-15 last year and returns three lettermen: 6 foot, 3 inch junior guard Jordan Perez, who averaged 11.2 points and was second-team all-Woodland Conference Black Division; 6-2 senior guard Cameron Rowe and 6-3 junior guard Mitchell Brees.
Other seniors are 6-5 Peter Pekar, 6-4 Gaelan Seibold and 6-6 Jacob Witkowiak. Juniors are 6-3 Tyler Peterson, 6-2 Brian Goyette and 5-11 Julian Gutierrez. The roster also includes a pair of sophomores, 6-1 Josh Michaels and 6-1 Josh Ringelberg, and a freshman, 6-5 David Pulizos.
'We will have a lot of young guys playing,' Johnsen said. 'We have plenty of athleticism, particularly at the guard spot. We want to play as much up-tempo as we can. To do that, though, we have to limit our turnovers and get stops on the defensive end.'
Johnsen is optimistic about the season, saying, 'The kids had a great summer in open gyms and summer leagues. Things are looking promising.'
He said Pius XI and New Berlin Eisenhower are the likely favorites in the reconfigured Woodland West Division. Pius played in the Division 1 state tournament last season and Eisenhower is a perennial power.
'Our goal is to compete for the division title,' the coach said. 'To achieve that, we have a lot of work to do.'
Greendale opens the season at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against Hartford of the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference. The first Woodland game is next Tuesday at South Milwaukee.