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PC Boys’ Basketball Preview

PC Boys’ Basketball Preview

The boys basketball team huddles together before a big game last season. (via, Mahlet Yared '15)
It’s November and that means that the Pine Crest Boys' Basketball squad is just about ready to get the season started. The Panthers are entering a new generation of basketball. They'll have a new coach, Barry Connors, and a team that will inevitably rely on an almost entirely new nucleus of players.   There is no doubt that heading into the season there is a level of uncertainty surrounding the program as Pine Crest moves on from long-time head coach David Beckerman, who won multiple state champions in his time as coach. Additionally, the team lost four seniors last year- A.J. Sacks, Jonah Scrudders, Nick Nolting, and Antonio Vrankovic, who is now playing basketball for the Duke Blue Devils.   However, with uncertainty also comes excitement.  New faces will emerge as integral parts of the team. Some of the kids who haven't seen extended playing time on varsity in past years will be given opportunities to be leaders. One of these players is junior point guard Chris Marzouca, who will be co-captain and aims to lead the team during this transition. Marzouca said, “I’m very excited for the new season. We have a new coach and a lot of new traditions, and with all these changes comes a lot of challenges that we will need to overcome. Coach Connors is very motivating, runs very productive practices, and he knows a lot about the game.” The other co-captain, Senior Kyle Garfinkel, will also be looked to by the team for production and significant mentoring of the team's younger, more inexperienced players. Sophomore Chris Alexander has the opportunity to step up as an underclassmen because of his vital quickness on defense as well as his ability to get to the basket. These three will be counted on to spark the team, and it'll be interesting to see who else rises to the task this season. Adding to the team's challenges, two returning varsity players, Chandler Pollock '18 and Luke Mansour '16, will be out for at least the beginning of this year's campaign. Chandler is out due to a torn meniscus and Luke is injured as well because of an MCL sprain. Pollock was a starter on last year's team, while Mansour was also a key player for the Panthers. Even though Pollock won't be able to start the season on the court with his teammates, he still plans on helping the team any way he can. Pollock stated, “I’m going to be a vocal leader on the bench and cheer the guys on as well as provide them with advice.” The team will definitely get a boost when Pollock and Mansour can return to action.   The boys are young this year, and there is definitely a degree of unwariness entering the 2015-2016 season. But, there will also be a great deal of excitement as Pine Crest enters the next era of Panther basketball.  The boys open the season at home on December 1st against rival University School. We hope to have lots of fans there to support the Panthers as they begin their long journey in this very intriguing season of Pine Crest basketball.
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