East Catholic boys positive about their role on the court

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Thu., Dec. 8, 2011
Austin Calling (l) and Marques Wiafe drill 'rebound, pump, punish' under the basket for the East Catholic High School boys' basketball team. Photos by Martha Marteney.
Austin Calling (l) and Marques Wiafe drill 'rebound, pump, punish' under the basket for the East Catholic High School boys' basketball team. Photos by Martha Marteney.

“Think positive, and you win the game,” said East Catholic High School senior Tyler Veretto, co-captain of the boys’ basketball team.
Although a young team with only three seniors, the Eagles are looking forward to a strong season, in part because of strong team chemistry. Having a coach who demands fast-paced, full-effort practices with technique-focused drills certainly provides the team with a strong foundation. “Learn to play when the ball’s not in your hands,” said coach Luke Reilly to his team during practice.

“He doesn’t want us to become complacent,” said co-captain Marques Wiafe about Reilly and his coaching style. “We know how to play the game,” said Wiafe. “We’re very disciplined.” With the team’s cohesiveness, the players know what fellow teammates are thinking on the court, he noted.

Reilly has been coaching the team for 12 years, with several strong seasons over the past few years. Although the team finished last year with a record of 9-13, Reilly said there were successes late in the season. With only three players returning as seniors, much of the team consists of sophomores, but nonetheless most players have game experience. “We laid the foundation last year,” said Reilly.

“These are high-character kids who buy into what we teach on and off the court,” said Reilly. He expects full commitment from his players, which translates into high energy on the court and a strong team spirit.

Senior Austin Calling is the team’s center, controlling the defense. “We feel really good as a team,” said Calling, noting the team’s good chemistry. He is looking forward to playing perennial rival Northwest Catholic, as well as Windsor. “We have some scores to settle,” he said about Windsor.

Co-captain Tyler Veretto, small forward, said the team’s chemistry this year can be seen in better passing and teamwork. Some of this has to do with playing together in the fall league. “Last year, we had guys who wanted to score versus win,” said Veretto. He feels the Eagles are known for running plays and executing them well. He is looking forward to taking on New Britain on Senior Night.

The team starts its regular season on Dec. 14 with an away game at Tolland High School. East Catholic takes on Cheney Tech at home on Saturday, Dec. 17, with a 7 p.m. tip-off. The Eagles face rival Northwest Catholic in a home game on Thursday, Dec. 29, also a 7 p.m. game.


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