November 28, 2014
Trojans look to get season going
Homer Central boys have been a little behind in their preparations for the upcoming basketball season thanks to the highly successful season by the Trojan football team, but head coach Sean Malone knows there is a week before the OHSL Freedom National Division opener.
The Trojans do open the season with a non-league trip to Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena Saturday for a 12 noon contest with Whitesboro. The Trojans are the first of a day long More Than A Game Foundation event that pits Freedom Division teams against opponents from the Tri-Valley League.
“We are off to a slow start because we really did have double tryouts,” the fifth-year coach said as his team looks to improve on its 6-12 season (3-10 league) from 2013-14. “That does have us a little behind.
“The good thing is that we have had the chance to look at some guys who may not see as much playing time in the regular season,” he continued. “We lost our height and we are trying to speed up things this season.”
Four of the nine returning players were part of the football team and are the same components to a successful basketball season.
Those returnees are senior guard Jayden Gavidia (5 feet-10 inches) who has played varsity basketball for four years, second year seniors Drew Cottrell (6-0, forward) and Dean Riley (5-11 guard), plus senior guard Jake Hayes (5-11) who did not play last year, but played JV ball. Gavidia is the top returning scorer as he averaged 10.3 points/game in 2013-14.
Other second-year returning players are seniors Bradley Sovocool (5-9 guard), Jackson Dowdle (6-0 guard-forward), Vince Harris (6-2 forward) and junior Jerrad Reiner (5-11 guard).
The final returnee is senior guard Nick Guerrera (5-10) who missed the 2013-14 season with an injury.
Cottrell, Gavidia and Sovocool have been elected captains for the 2014-15 season by their teammates.
“We do have a good core of players back this season, but we have had to change our philosophy because of our lack of height,” Malone explained. “It will be more up-tempo. We will need to run more in transition and press the ball. We want to beat teams up the floor. We can’t rely on a half-court offense as much because we will have trouble getting the ball inside against taller teams.”
Up from the JVs are juniors Alex Parker (6-0, forward), Ryan Wainwright (5-11, forward), James Denkenberger (5-11, guard-forward) and Nate Cottrell (5-10, guard) along with sophomore guard Jacob Rivers (5-11).
Jeff Tabel will coach the Homer junior varsity squad. Aaron Gross and Nick Patriarco are currently coaching the junior high teams who are in their seasons.
Homer will be with Cortland, Chittenango, Jamesville-DeWitt. newcomer Marcellus and Mexico in the OHSL Freedom National Division with crossover games against American Division foes Bishop Ludden, East Syracuse-Minoa, Fowler, Fulton, newcomer Oswego and Christian Brothers Academy.
“It’s really simple in the league,” Malone said. “We cannot take a night off. Every team comes to play and it’s the same with our non-league games. I really believe this is one of the toughest league’s in Section 3.
“Cortland, J-D and Marcellus will be very tough in the division while Chittenango and Mexico will be very competitive opponents,” he continued. “On the other side, you have Bishop Ludden, CBA, ES-M, and Fulton who are very strong. Fowler is always a tough game and we now have Oswego as well.”
After Saturday’s home opener, Homer will have six days to prepare for its Freedom National opener Dec. 5 at Chittenango. JV action will begin at 5 p.m. with the varsity game to follow.
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