October 18, 2021

Seniors to carry Groton boys, girls

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The Groton Indians boys’ and girls’ basketball teams return a combined eight seniors for the abbreviated 2021 season, but each squad’s seniors will be carrying different responsibilities. The girls also have a new head coach in Justin Albro.

BOYS

  •  Last year’s record: 11-11
  • Top returners: Kalib Manning, sr.; James Lucey, sr.; Jackson Slade, sr.
  • Promising newcomers: Omari Riley-Israel, Ben Dematteo, Mason Slade
  • Key losses: Garrett VanBenschoten, Kade El-dred, Drew Jackson
  • Team strengths: Experience and Leadership from 3 seniors
  • Team weaknesses: Limited or no varsity experience beyond three seniors
  • Head coach Ken Updike: “During the summer players trained virtual in areas of skills, drills, and strength training. In the fall the team worked outdoors on the school track with strength and agility training. During the month of January the players worked with coaches in no contact shooting drills, ball handling, speed and agility, and strength training. The boys have been resilient through this challenging time. They have worked on improving themselves even though a season was uncertain. They are more than appreciative to get back on the gym floor with teammates.”

GIRLS

  • Last year’s record: 4-10
  • Top returners: Emma DeMatteo, Abigail Dykeman, Morgan Gunn
  • Promising newcomers: Makayla Lockwood, Annie Felko
  • Key losses: Brooke Brecht
  • Team strengths: Defense, experience
  • Team weakness: No “true” offseason to prepare
  • Head coach Justin Albro: “Being a first year varsity coach, certain aspects will be different and trying to find the time and ability to incorporate these changes with all the uncertainties this past year has been difficult. We will work hard though to play the best we can day in and day out. We have been communicating through Google Classroom and Hudl, using outdoor facilities to condition, and when available using small groups to focus on skills. The girls have worked extremely hard on their own to stay ready for the possibility of a season. Now that it is finally here, we are all ready to see the hard work pay off. We have a fantastic group of girls in our program and I am honored to have the privilege to coach them this season.”