The boys basketball team currently has a 1-1 record after playing two very strong games, despite losing one of them.
Speaking of familiar faces, the team is bringing back three of their five starters (senior forward Jackson Wolff, junior combo guard Carter Meshanic, and junior forward Hunter Meshanic) and two key players off the bench from last year (senior guard Calvin Schumacher, and senior guard Jordon Walker).
In addition to the returners, a couple of talented new transfers have joined the jeam: freshman forward Gavin Griffiths who transferred in from Simsbury High School and junior point guard Ben Merritt who transferred in from The Master’s School in West Simsbury.
Head Coach Brad Seaman talked about the team’s goals for the season. “Our tangible goals are winning the KIT championship, the Class B championship, at the Boston Garden,” Coach Seaman said. “Our staff also wants our players to learn how to be great teammates, leaders, role-models, and most importantly to have fun and compete. We constantly preach to be present and to enjoy the moment.”
Both the coaches and the players have been preparing for the season since the end of last year’s season. “Our offseason started immediately after last season ended. Some of our players participated in Strength and Performance in the spring, preparing their bodies to become stronger, faster, and overall more athletic,” Coach Seaman said. “We also had 34 Open Gym sessions for our incoming players to play against college players and alumni. Also, this summer most of our team went to a camp together, which allowed them to both play together and to spend time getting to know each other.”
This year the team has an opportunity of a lifetime. On Jan. 25, they will be playing at the TD Garden, which is where the Boston Celtics play. This game will be played as part of a rivalry day where teams play a rival and, the profits made from this day go towards allowing kids with autism to participate in sports. The team will take on their rival Pingree at 6:00 p.m.
As of right now, the team looks to have many strengths. Merritt talked about what he feels are the team’s best strengths. “We have no trouble scoring the ball. Everyone can shoot the ball pretty well, and we have a couple of slashers that are great at finishing around the rim,” Merritt said. “Our other strength is team chemistry. Everyone on the team not only gets along well, but also are friends despite being together for such a short time.”
The team also has a couple of weaknesses that need to be improved as the season goes on. C.Meshanic spoke on what he thinks the biggest weakness the team faces are. “As a team, we sometimes struggle with communication on defense, which leads to easy buckets for the other team,” C. Meshanic said. “However, as our team continues to grow closer and the newer players become comfortable in our system, I believe that our defense and communication will improve.”
In the team’s first game at St. Andrews on Wednesday, Dec. 4, they hung around for most of the game, but eventually St. Andrews pulled away to win 81-66. The KO team saw a familiar face in this matchup as KO alum Sean James (Class of 2019) is currently doing his postgraduate year at the school. Griffiths and C. Meshanic both had monster games, scoring 31 points and 22 points respectively. C. Meshanic also pulled down a team high seven rebounds.
The team bounced back with a massive victory over Wesminster on Friday, Dec. 6. The boys started out slow in the first half, only leading by five at halftime, but in the second half they outscored the Martlets by 21 points, ending with the final score of 67-41. There were big performances from H. Meshanic with 22 points and 10 rebounds and C. Meshanic with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Griffiths also added 15 points and seven rebounds.
The team’s next game is home against AOF on Dec. 11. They look to extend their winning streak.