Freshmen break into varsity boys' basketball squad
By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Mon., Dec. 3, 2012
Funding cuts that spelled the end of the freshman boys’ basketball team at Griswold High School produced something of a silver lining for varsity head coach Robert Mileski: plenty of young hopefuls at varsity tryouts and a wealth of fresh talent. “It was the best turnout I’ve had” in five years of coaching at Griswold, he said. “I think we had 35 try out and 43 signed up. That’s in ninth through 12th grade. We had to let some of those kids go who were good enough for a freshman team but not good enough for junior varsity.”
That’s still a small number compared to other schools, but it means that a few of the ninth-graders will see some action on the varsity squad, Mileski said. “I anticipate that we’ll have three freshmen making the varsity roster,” he said. “They have very good young careers. That’s a tremendous upside, the potential for these young kids.”
Among the seniors Mileski lost to last spring’s graduation was All-State center Zach Wood, who boosted the Wolverines into a 10-12 season and the second round of the state tournament. In tournament play, GHS won a triple-overtime victory over Coventry before losing to St. Paul of Bristol.
This year Mileski has just a handful of seniors, chief among them team captain Jordan Gionet. “He’s a great leader, real hard working,” Mileski said of Gionet. Other seniors include Kyle Tuper and newcomer Adam Allard, who transferred to Griswold from Montville High School. “We have only three juniors, but we have some young people who are ready to step in,” he said. “They all look over their shoulder. The practices have been very spirited. I’m very excited and very optimistic.”
On Nov. 29, Mileski said that he had pretty much honed his varsity squad down to its final roster. At one recent practice, the players dove directly into defensive drills after warm-ups, working on recovering a defensive stance immediately after a basket is sunk. “We’re always stressing [defense], continuously,” said the coach.
The squad’s pre-season scrimmage calendar included matches against Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Windham. The Wolverines kick off the regular season next week with two home games, Dec. 12 against Bacon Academy and Dec. 14 against Lyman. Both games start at 7 p.m.