Boys should be in good position
With the new boys basketball season ready to be unwrapped, the Zephyrs have a good mix of youth and veterans that should make this year a cheerful one.
Unlike last year when then had to replace a substantial portion of their offense, this season sees them return a good bulk of their scoring that will help them as they begin the 2013-14 campaign.
Also, starting two sophomores last season also created a learning curve, and it took them a little while to find their way, finishing 12-11. However, this year they have an experienced starting group and that will help make this year's transition much smoother.
Head coach Jeff Jones said that puts them "a little farther ahead" than last season, and that should have them better positioned out of the gate.
That net gain begins in the middle with center Brett Radocha. Radocha averaged 6.9 points per game last year. Head coach Jeff Jones said that junior Radocha will anchor the paint, and at 6-6 he'll be the cornerstone of their interior defense.
Senior Aaron Keglovits (6.8 ppg) also returns and will play two guard. He brings a lot of experience and will be another important piece among their offensive options.
Point guard Chad Rex will also return. The junior averaged 4.3 points per game down the stretch, and was a major reason they made the push into the playoffs.
Jones said that Rex is bigger and stronger this season, and that will enhance his game as he runs the team from the point. Additionally, Jones feels Rex's familiarity with their system should help them have success this year.
"That year of experience at point guard is going to help him this year," said Jones who is entering his seventh season as head coach.
Matt Melosky is another retuning frontcourt player who will be a valuable part of that mix. The senior will give them versatility on the court as he can play one of the wings or in the interior, said Jones.
Senior guard Seth Rissmiller returns and will see action at the point, while junior guard Jacob Meyers also comes back and will have a chance to compete in the backcourt, according to Jones.
These two players provide depth for the Zephs this season, an area of strength this year, said Jones. In fact, Jones said that their depth will be a strength this season as he expects to have at least 10 players among their rotation.
Another returning player is senior Marcus Esquilin, and Jones said he'll vie for playing time at forward.
They also have some newcomers who will have an impact. Senior Ryan Bonshak returns to the court after a two-year absence, and backcourt mate (in football, that is) Saquon Barkley also returns after missing his sophomore season last year.
These two players will add depth, as well as provide the Zephs will athleticism and hustle.
Another newcomer to watch is Mustafa Mitchell. Mitchell has shown the ability to get his own shot and create, said Jones.
"Mustafa is a kid who has shown some basketball skills," said Jones. "He can make plays. He's learning the system and we're hoping he can be a key contributor."
Jacob Buskirk will also feature prominently in their plans, helping to solidify their post presence. Pablo Peralta will be another player who will see action once he recovers from a preseason injury.
Sophomores Gianni Sinatore and Andre Diokmodjian will also be a part of that youthful mix, with Sinatore competing for minutes at the point and two guard, while Diokmodjian will be a wing player.
Finally, freshman Logan McGinley earned a varsity uniform, largely on his play during the summer," said Jones.
"He really worked hard and he's going to be a nice player," said Jones.
With fifteen players in the fold, Jones said this year's run-up to the season has been spirited.
"It's really made practice very competitive," he said.
With the season beginning this Saturday in the Yasso-Rothrock Christmas City Classic against Freedom, Jones said the team will begin to lay out their season goals this week, and what he'll stress is that they want to be playing meaningful games in February, and get one of the spots in the Lehigh Valley Conference Championship.
And as they head into the upcoming season, Jones said that the summer afforded them the chance to play and compete. That's what they'll build on as they march into competition beginning this weekend.
"The kids are playing hard and competing, and that's what we're looking for right now," Jones said.
Jones is assisted by Corey Frantz, while Ron Madouse coaches the junior varsity, and James Luchansky and Bob Bogwist lead the junior high team.