St. Mary’s boys basketball coach David Brown is well accustomed to having preseason hoop tryouts interruptions.
The football team’s run to the Division 6 state championship meant that several key components from that team would be starting their basketball seasons a little later than normal.
“This has happened a few times to me here and it happened once at Winthrop so I am used to it,” said Brown, who led St. Mary’s to the Div. 3 state basketball championship last year. “It does make tryouts tougher because you have to do a few more than usual, but we’ve done it before.”
Brown will start the season without his son, All-Scholastic guard David Brown. A standout on the football team, Brown played the second half of the season with a thumb injury that necessitated surgery which will sideline him indefinitely.
“We’re hoping to get him back after seven or eight games,” Brown said. “It just means that some of the other guys are going to have to step up early on.”
Forwards Derick Coulanges and Nick Sacco along with guards Omri Merryman and Anthony D’Itria were key components from a team that went 27-1 and outscored its five postseason opponents by an average of 31 points a game.
Before the Spartans can worry about the postseason, they will be challenged within the Catholic Central League. Cardinal Spellman knocked off St. Mary’s last week behind the play of forward Jaydan Exalus and guard Kristian Simpson. Archbishop Williams is generating a lot of preseason buzz and deservedly so as guards Josh Campbell, Andre Espillat and Charlie Conners are back along with forward Lorenzo Jackson.
Div. 3 state finalist Watertown can never be counted out as long as head coach Steve Harrington is roaming the sideline. Guard Ben Kullman will be one player to watch foe the Raiders. Hanover has one of the better frontcourt duo in the Patriot League in Jake Peterson and David Quinlan.
There is a new look on the sideline at Tech Boston as Justin Desai steps in for Johnny Williams, who left to take the head coaching job at Brookline. He will have guards Michael DeLeon and Aljun Brown along with forward Jules Campbell back as well as talented New Mission transfer Hassan Jenkins up front.
Latin Academy will look to forwards Michael Johnson and Brennan Shapiro as well as guard Osman Aden. Losing Jenkins will mean New Mission will rely more heavily on players such as forward Lawrence Davis.
Two of the better teams in the South Coast Conference will be Old Rochester and Apponequet. Old Rochester returns a solid group led by guards Jacob Smith, Braden Yeomans and Liam Geraghty along with forward Sawyer Fox. Apponequet has a trio of all-league players back in forwards Nathan Levesque and Joshua Keller to go along with guard Jackson Gagnier.
Dover-Sherborn returns standout forward Luke Rinaldi, while guard Marquise Pina is back for Norton, which advanced to the state semifinals last year.
Randolph carted home the Div. 4 state title last year, but will be missing a key figure as head coach Kalon Jenkins is sidelined with a medical issue. Dan Kiser will fill in and is looking for key contributions from the likes of center Camden Rainford, forward Dylan Swinton and guard Isaiah Michel. Cohasset won 17 games a year ago and has one of the top forwards in the South Shore League back in Will Baker.
Burke won the Boston City League title last year and will rely on guards Jassad Fenton, Jaden Roberts and Matt Drayton. Snowden will be competitive as guards Damoni Pena and Jaquan Hines are back as well as forward Ruben Garcia-Diaz.
St. Joseph had a nice run to the Div. 4 state final. Raul Matos takes over and will look to center Colm Gilroy and guard Jake Witalisz. Cathedral will be led by sophomore guard Kyle Benjamin.
Wareham will look to a trio of guards in Diego Mello, Aaron Cote and Ajay Lopes, while Bourne returns a lot of talent in guards Damon White, Leandro Andrade and Shea Ullo, forward Nate Reynolds as well as transfer Michael Dankert up front.
Cape Cod Academy gradauted 2,000-point score Jaeden Greenleaf, but has some good firepower back led by guards Trey Merritt and Tamarr Washington and forwards Thomas Bresette and Michael Berry.
Hull was the only Eastern Mass. team to reach the Div. 5 state quarterfinals last year. The Pirates will once rely on an influx of football players from the Div. 8 state championship squad, including guard John Gianibas.
Old Colony has center Max Finney and guards Matt McGuiggan and Ryan Scott are back. Westport won 17 games last year and will depend on all-league guard Hunter Brodeur.
Mystic Valley should be one of the better teams in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference as guards Giovanni Soto, Dalton Kinnon and Mike Tayag return.
DIVISION 3 PLAYERS TO WATCH
C: Tucker Bumila (Bristol-Plymouth), Connor Pease (Abington)
F: Derick Coulanges (St. Mary’s), Lawrence Davis (New Mission), Jaydan Exalus (Cardinal Spellman), Alex Fleming (Lynnfield), Sawyer Fox (Old Rochester), Lorenzo Jackson (Archbishop Williams), Hassan Jenkins (Tech Boston), Joshua Keller (Apponequet), Matt Leaver (Norwell), Nathan Levesque (Apponequet), Omri Merryman (St. Mary’s), Jake Peterson (Hanover), David Quinlan (Hanover), Luke Rinaldi (Dover-Sherborn), Matheus Rodrigues (Martha’s Vineyard), Christian Sanders (East Boston), Brennan Shapiro (Latin Academy), Dimitri Sime (Lowell Catholic), Ben Tapia-Gately (Saugus)
G: Osman Aden (Latin Academy), Jason Andrews (Seekonk), Andrew Boulas (North Reading), Mavrick Bourdeau (Shawsheen), David Brown (St. Mary’s), Josh Campbell (Archbishop Williams), Tyler Chang (Farihaven), Kevin Crowe (Seekonk), Michael DeLeon (Tech Boston), Curran Farnworth (Greater New Bedford), Chris Farren (Stoneham), Jackson Gagnier (Apponequet), Lewis Garcia (Greater Lawrence), Liam Geraghty (Old Rochester), Ben Kullman (Watertown), Caden Letendre (Fairhaven), Camden Morin (Greater New Bedford), Shawn O’Keefe (Essex Tech), Tristan Ortega (Southeastern), Marquise Pina (Norton), Kristian Simpson (Cardinal Spellman), Jacob Smith (Old Rochester), Ryan Svendsen (Arlington Catholic), Ben Tapia-Gately (Saugus), Frank Vollano (Bishop Stang), Dana Williams (Weston), Braden Yeomans (Old Rochester)
DIVISION 4/5 PLAYERS TO WATCH
C: Max Finney (Old Colony), Colm Gilroy (St. Joseph), Grant Lyon (Georgetown), Camden Rainford (Randolph), Damin Tavares (Upper Cape)
F: Will Baker (Cohasset), Thomas Bresette (Cape Cod Academy), Michael Dankert (Bourne), Elijah Dumornay (Blue Hills), Ruben Garcia-Diaz (Snowden), Ederick Gonzalez (Lynn Tech), Jesse Lyons (South Shore), Nate Reynolds (Bourne), Dylan Swinton (Randolph), Brennan Twombly (Manchester-Essex)
G: Leandro Andrade (Bourne), Kyle Benjamin (Cathedral), Hunter Brodeur (Westport), Jack Catalano (Millis), Landon Cayton (Case), Aaron Cote (Wareham), Michael Desir (Monomoy), Matt Drayton (Burke), Christian Fantasia (Tri-County), Jassad Fenton (Burke), Cade Furse (Manchester-Essex), John Gianibas (Hull), Cayden Gonsalves (Case), Jaydis Gonzalez (Innovation Academy), Jaquan Hines (Snowden), Nate Holmes (Falmouth Academy), Dalton Kinnon (Mystic Valley), Alex Krynicki (Bishop Connolly), Brandon LaFleur (South Shore), Tyler Lennox (Carver), Ajay Lopes (Wareham), Matt McGuiggan (Old Colony), Diego Mello (Wareham), Trey Merritt (Cape Cod Academy), Isaiah Michel (Randolph), Sahmir Morales (Brighton), Damoni Pena (Snowden), Armani Perkins (Holbrook), Tyler Rice (Whittier), Jaden Roberts (Burke), Nikko Ruffin (Blue Hills), Ryan Scott (Old Colony), Giovanni Soto (Mystic Valley), Jahmier Stephenson (Bishop Connolly), Mike Tayag (Mystic Valley), Zane Thomas (St. John Paul), Shea Ullo (Bourne), Damon White (Bourne), Jake Witalisz (St. Joseph)
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