H.S. boys' basketball preview/2013-14

Senior forward Khary Childs is back to help lead Ledyard, which makes the jump from the ECC Medium to Large division this winter.
Senior forward Khary Childs is back to help lead Ledyard, which makes the jump from the ECC Medium to Large division this winter. Day file photo

ECC Large

EAST LYME

Coach: James Cunningham (3rd year)

Key returnees: Sr. Dean Beebe, Sr. Jack Powers, Sr. Greg Swenson, Sr. Tom Walker, Jr. Jared Ayers.

Top newcomers: Jr. Logan Banker, Jr. Jeremiah Northcutt, So. Christian Brown, So. Kosta Lanis, So. J.T. Mullins.

Outlook: The Vikings must replace all-state swingman Wade McNamara and his 20-plus points per game, but Cunningham believes the Vikings, 3-17 a year ago and winless in the Large Division, have enough experience and depth to be more competitive this season and make a run at qualifying for the ECC and state tournaments.

FITCH

Coach: Alick Furtick (1st year)

Key returnees: Sr. G Marc Evans, Sr. C Devante Anderson, Jr. G Mario Graham.

Top newcomers: Sr. G Willie Harris, Jr. G-F John Floyd, Jr. F Beau Faison, Sr. F Tyler Royster, Jr. F Nathan Moretta.

Outlook: Furtick returns to lead his alma mater and will rely on seniors Harris Evans and Anderson to provide not only leadership, but scoring, too. Faison and Floyd are expected to step in and be key contributors. Furtick believes Fitch, which went 5-15 last season, can give opponents fits on the defensive end of the floor, something that could determine whether or not the Falcons can contend for postseason berths.

LEDYARD

Coach: David Cornish (3rd year)

Key returnees: Sr. F Khary Childs, Sr. F Darnay Gray, Jr. F Phyllip Thomas, Jr. G River Thomas.

Top newcomers: Sr. F-G Dominique Benson, Jr. G DeAnte Bruton, Jr. G Andrew Byrd, Jr. G-F Benjamin Gill, So. G Scott Whipple.

Outlook: The Colonels have enjoyed tremendous success during Cornish's first two seasons and the expectations are high again, although the challenges will be greater as they move up to the Large Division and face a strong non-conference schedule. Dynamic guard Thomas Whipple has departed, but Ledyard has two of the region's top players in Gray and Childs and welcome Bruton, a transfer from New London who helped the Whalers win the ECC tournament title last season. The Colonels, 21-4 a year ago, aren't huge, but have the athleticism to make them dangerous in every game.

NFA

Coach: Chris Guisti (1st year)

Key returnees: Sr. G Marcus Outlow, Sr. G Ramel Williams, Sr. G Desmond D'Elia-Miller, Sr. F Ibo Rivera, Sr. C Mike Ryan, Sr. C Nick Crooks.

Top newcomers: Jr. G Jon Morrison, Jr. G Brandon Drabinski.

Outlook: Guisti takes over for Neal Curland, who stepped down after 17th years. The Wildcats, with six seniors and a quick backcourt led by Outlow and Williams, have the talent and experience to be a factor in the Large Division a year removed from reaching the ECC tournament final (a 52-39 loss to New London).

ECC Medium

MONTVILLE

Coach: Ben Stone (2nd year)

Key returnees: Sr. G-F Greg Benjamin, Sr. G Isaiah Hernandez, Sr. F Thomas Podeszwa, Sr. G Terrell Witherspoon, Jr. G Chance Collier, Jr. G-F Buddy Dewaine, Jr. C Patrick Podeszwa, So. G Joel Greenwood.

Top newcomers: Sr. G Jeremiah Crowley, Sr. F Nick Haralambidis, So. G-F Cody Calash, So. F Terry Bowens.

Outlook: The Indians, who went 5-15 in Stone's first season, have an experienced group that will find strength in numbers led by a pair of swingmen Benjamin and Dewaine. Stone believes Montville has the talent and depth to make to qualify for the ECC and state tournaments.

NEW LONDON

Coach: Craig Parker (19th year)

Key returnees: Sr. F-C De'Vonta Robinson, Jr. G Collin Sawyer, Sr. F-C Nick Barner, Jr. G Seth Lake, Sr. F-C Josh Maynard, So. G Landon Peabody, Jr. G-F Craig Parker.

Top newcomers: Jr. G Nabate Meets, Jr. F-C Brian Cepedes, Jr. G Jelani Lucas, So. F Tyrel Martinez, Jr. F Rashon Young, Jr. G Tremell Scott, Fr. F-C D. Major Roman, So. G Rashawn Tate.

Outlook: Keith Porter, The Day's All-Area Player of the Year last season, has departed, but the Whalers - who moved down from the Large to Medium - still have enough pieces in place to make a run at the division title. Sawyer and Lake helped fuel New London to a memorable victory over eventual Class L champion Woodstock Academy in the ECC tournament semifinals (the Whalers went on to beat NFA in the final) while Robinson and Barner provide decent size inside.

STONINGTON

Coach: Chad Barclay (1st year)

Key returnees: Sr. Jack Dipollino, Sr. Divante White.

Top newcomers: Sr. C.J. Dipollino, Sr. Riley Sorrento, Sr. Ethan Schroeder, Jr. Matt Mitchell, Jr. Ethan Murphy, So. Matt Donahue.

Outlook: Barclay takes over a young team with little experience, but he still believes the Bears, 13-11 a year ago, have enough talent to be competitive within the division, especially if some of the new players develop quickly.

WATERFORD

Coach: Greg Gwudz (4th year)

Key returnees: Sr. G Donny Craig, Sr. G Danny Martin, Sr. G Schneider Jean-Pierre, Sr. C Nick LaFever, Jr. F Connor Lewis, Jr. G Isaiah Jones.

Top newcomers: Sr. G Benny Dong, Jr. F Kyle McComic, Jr. G William Barrs, Jr. C Griffin Beaney, So. G Mike Gianakos, so. G Jacob Mangual.

Outlook: The Lancers, two years removed from a Class M state title, still produced a winning season last year (14-10) despite losing the bulk of their starting lineup. This year, however, four starters return, although Martin - a three-year starter - begins the season on the sideline recovering from an injury suffered during the football season. Craig, Jean-Pierre and Jones give Waterford one of the ECC's quickest backcourts while Lewis, LaFever and McComic provide a solid inside presence. Expect the Lancers to challenge for a division title.

Small Division

ST. BERNARD

Coach: Mark Jones (2nd year)

Key returnees: Sr. G Anthony Malchiodi, Jr. G Remy Bonser, Jr. F Paul Pepas.

Top newcomers: Fr. G Steven Fletcher, So. C Graham Fagerquist, So. F James Foti, Jr. G Nate Brilius, So. C Kavin Farley.

Outlook: Jones welcomes back some proven veterans for his second season, but he's particularly enthused about the Saints' infusion of youth. Their hard work and development will be a key as St. Bernard, 9-13 last season, tries to challenge for the Small Division title.

WHEELER

Coach: Neal Cobleigh (7th year)

Key returnees: Sr. F Troy Stefanski, Sr. F Andrew Smith, Sr. G-F Jacob Raggon, Jr. G T.J. Condon, So. G Mike Dellaporta, Jr. G Nik Wood.

Top newcomers: Jr. F Max Dussault, Fr. F Ryan Dussault, So. F Alex Haines, Fr. G-F Dylan Wilkinson, Jr. F Simon Lindsey.

Outlook: The Lions have enough talent and experience to contend for the Small Division title and postseason bids. Cobleigh likes Wheeler's unselfish play on offense and its willingness to share the basketball, but believes the Lions, 2-18 last year, still must improve defensively.

Others

GRASSO TECH

Coach: Gregg Antoch (9th year)

Key returnees: Sr. F J'Quan Monroe, Jr. C Kevin Philebert, Jr. G Joe Diaz, So. F Cyrus Connors, So. C Jake Christian.

Top newcomers: So. G Kendrick Amaro, Fr. F Noah Paige.

Outlook: The Eagles have the size, quickness and experience to be competitive in the Constitution State Conference East Division and make a run at qualifying for the conference and state tournaments.

NORWICH TECH

Coach: Jeff Brown (3rd year)

Key returnees: Sr. G Tyriece Burke, Jr. G Mike Froscello, Jr. G Mack Osias, Jr. G Steve Sieczkowski.

Top newcomers: Sr. C Jordan Hyde, Sr. C Elijah Cook, Sr. F Justin Brown, Fr. G Jared Neal.

Outlook: The Warriors return four starters, but this remains a relatively young team and Brown will be counting on some of his inexperienced players to step up and be major contributors this season in the CSC East.

OLD LYME

Coach: Kirk Kaczor

Key returnees: Sr. C-F Danny Chapman, Jr. C-F Liam Corrigan, Jr. G Zac Abrahamsson, Jr. G Jacob Ballachino.

Top newcomers: Jr. G Hunter Sheffield, Jr. G Mike Rasberry, So. G-F Drake Gavin, So. G-F Josh Turkowski, So. G Matt Watts-St. Germain.

Outlook: The Wildcats, who reached the Class S semifinals last season, must replace all five starters, including all-stater George Logan. But Chapman, Corrigan, Abrahamsson and Ballachino all gained invaluable experience and Kaczor believes his newcomers will provide enough depth help Old Lyme challenge for Shoreline Conference and state tournament bids.

Hide Comments

READER COMMENTS

Loading comments...
Hide Comments