December 11, 2023 – Story by Ava DiCecca, photos by Joshua Ross
Boys basketball has begun gearing up for a tough schedule this year. They are excited to be back and are ready to put in the work to make this a successful season. This year especially, they will need the right attitude, preparation, and mindset to persevere through the schedule and compete at their highest level every single game. Where they are slightly lacking in varsity experience, they hope to make it up through good chemistry on the court and advice from their more seasoned leaders.
Head Coach Kniffen spoke of some of these key players that will be leading the team this year such as his three senior captains Chase Mello, Charlie Matthews, and Noah Manning, as well as seniors Killian La Tanzi, Jack Nicholas, Jack Larkin, Jack Maurer, and Chris Teague who will be big for them this year. Mello is a Patriot League All-Star and 3-year varsity player who will continue to be a huge asset for the team both on the court and in a leadership role. Matthews will also use his experience last year to “provide the versatility for us on both ends of the court” stated Kniffen. He had similar ideas on his third senior captain Noah Manning who will have to step into a big leadership role this year and pass down what he learned from his time on varsity last season to some of his less experienced teammates.
Despite naming these specific players, Kniffen stressed that this team depends on everyone having a role to play. He stated that “we are not going to be successful this year because of one player. This year as much as any that I’ve been here, our success is going to be a result of team chemistry and the collective body of the team that’s on the court at any given time.” He believes that will bring out the best in everyone this season as they will all know they have a huge part to play in the team’s overall success.
Kniffen is also very excited about the opportunities that this year presents. He commented that he told his players “they are going to have the opportunity to see where they stack up not just locally but statewide” as they are playing against some of the most competitive teams in the state this year. This will be a perfect chance for all his players to further their skills and raise their level of competition. In order to match up with and be able to outperform these teams, Manning described what he and many of his teammates are doing to prepare: “we have workouts when we aren’t at practice, kids are showing up early, leaving late, putting in a lot of work, so I’m feeling good.” Matthews expressed similar ideas saying that “we put in work in the offseason and we are just hoping that we can go into practice every day and work hard so that we can see results on the court.”
This will be a year that requires hard work and good chemistry consistent throughout the entire team. It seems that all parties recognize just how much work it takes to find success, especially with competition at this level, and everyone is putting their best foot forward in hopes of seeing the results they are collectively working towards. On top of much success this year, we should expect to see a determined and hard-working team out on the court every single game.