Boys look for postseason runs
Every season writes its own script, and this year’s boys basketball team with its mix of talent and experience, could offer an intriguing tale that features a possible postseason run.
In any story a protagonist is needed, and the Zephyrs have plenty of returning players to fill that role led by senior Dylan McGinley who can play both inside and out, displaying a feathery touch from the perimeter and strong post skills as well. He averaged 12.5 points per game last season to lead the team.
The pool of protagonists is ripe with seniors as Tyler Holubowski, a relentless rim attacker, also returns. Fellow senior Joe Lisicky is another returning starter who will add to the story, a player whose versatility allows him to score from down low as well as the perimeter.
Those three, who all started last season, will be the nucleus of this year’s team as they look to forge a path to the playoffs.
Head coach Jeff Jones said that he’s looking for those three, as the core of this year’s team, to fulfill what his coach taught him, emphasizing that your best players also need to be your leaders.
“For the first couple of practices here, they’ve been pretty good,” said Jones.
Alex Rummel and Marcus Hamsher are another pair of seniors who’ll give them experience in the backcourt, while senior Lucas Souders will bring that experience to the frontcourt. They’ll also have newcomer Marc Augustin in that senior mix as well.
They also feature guards Shyhiem Foster and Luke Gilbert, both juniors, who logged plenty of minutes last season. Junior Matt Snyder should figure into the guard rotation as well.
That pool of players has only deepened this season. When they began to prepare for the upcoming season, Jones said that they had 44 players in the gym. Jones said it was an excellent turnout which will promote competition, but it also presents a challenge in finding minutes for everyone.
“That’s the unfortunate part,” said Jones.
Most of the players are familiar with the system, having played during the summer, so the learning curve is lessened. Once they have that base, others factors come into play such as their work in the classroom, as well as their behavior in that setting. He said that all those factors come into play when deciding who to keep.
“This is an extension of a classroom for us,” said Jones, noting that three of the assistant coaches are teachers as well. “You’re learn a lot of good life lessons right here.”
Jones said that the experience of this year’s roster will give them a little more freedom to play a style that will allow them to be a little more creative. He said that Holubowski’s athleticism and aggressive nature is hampered somewhat when it’s real structured.
“It kind of impacts him on what he’s able to do,” said Jones, who wants the senior to keep attacking the rim and not settle for a shot that may be more in line with that structure.
“I want to give him a little more freedom to attack the basket,” said Jones.
He said that he expects McGinley to be a force inside as a third-year starter. That varsity experience is plentiful in Lisicky as well.
“I think we have three guys on any given night of scoring some points,” Jones said.
He also believes their bench players can be equally effective knocking down baskets, and that makes for a promising season for the Zephs who finished 7-15 last year.
Jones said that his team is going to be highly competitive this season, noting that with the abundance of sophomores in the gym this season, he wants them to make sure they keep those competitive instincts while playing against the upperclassmen.
While they haven’t enumerated their team goals since it’s still early in the process. Once the varsity team is established that discussion will take place, but he said that making the playoffs is certainly on that list. They’ve had a two-year drought, and it’s something that’s been part of his communication with his seniors.
“I don’t want these guys to walk out of here not knowing what it’s like to shoot warm-up layups in a playoff atmosphere,” said Jones.
The Zephs begin the season at the Loyalsock Tournament against Wellsboro Area High School on Dec. 7, and then begin league play on Dec. 10 versus Northampton.