Mariner boys look to improved season

“Team has great attitude, and is working hard”

Deer Isle—The boys basketball team has many of the players who saw considerable varsity time last year and should lead the newer players onto the team. We have lots of speed with experience, and that will determine how Coach Brian Billings will approach his game plan.

The seniors are Krisford Melanio, Noah Davis, Paul Zoephel, and Brantley Emrick. Krisford, Noah, and Paul logged many varsity minutes last year and will be the captains and the leaders of the team.

The lone junior is Ethan Shepard who will anchor the space down under the basket.

The sophomores are Silas Bates, Steven Cochrane, Elliott Nevells, Ethan Cole-Bates, and Skylar Perez. There are two freshmen on the team, Andy Atherton and Dakota Gillen.

Coach Billings expects Andy Atherton, Elliott Nevells, Ethan Cole-Bates, and Skylar Perez to also see time with the junior varsity team to get them meaningful floor experience. They will very likely become valuable back-up players as the season progresses.

One of the strengths of this group will be speed, and Coach Billings plans to utilize this to have a pressing defense and also quick transition offense. He hopes to go deep into his bench and rotate in players to keep everyone fresh enough to capitalize on their speed.

If we have an Achilles heel at this point, it would be the half-court offense. We have shown some potential for outside shooting and this will need to be developed as we get into the season so teams can’t just pack in a zone defense to stifle us. Our defense should be able to hold its own and limit points, but we need to find a way to get our offense up from last year and average around 60 points.

Because there now are five classes in basketball, Class D has been shuffled a bit and there are fewer schools in this class. We play a lot of Class C schools, and Coach Billings feels we have a tough schedule this year. To get into the playoff picture, we will have to get some tough wins to bolster our points.

As there always is with a new group, there are question marks that won’t be answered right away. Coach Billings says this group has a great attitude, and they are working hard to get up to speed. We will be a work in progress and have to earn our position to make the tournament.

I am hoping that this group can translate the team success they achieved in soccer into a scrappy aggressive basketball team that will over achieve. I will go out on a limb and say that I expect this group to surprise a lot of people, perhaps even themselves, with their spirited play, and be in position to get to the Cross Center come February.

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