Inexperienced Raiders look to carry over last season's success
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor Locks - posted Thu., Dec. 6, 2012
The Windsor Locks High School boys’ basketball team enters the season looking to build off of a successful 2011 campaign which saw them finish 13-9, good enough for fourth place in the competitive North Central Connecticut Conference. They earned a berth in the Class S state tournament, advancing to the second round before being beaten by eventual champion Immaculate.
Windsor Locks lost four seniors to graduation, with point guard Nathan Pierce being the lone returner. They have a strong senior class of nine players, however, only three of them played any sort of significant minutes last season, which will leave a group effort to step into roles and fill needed positions.
“I definitely think we can get to the eight-win mark to get to the state tournament, and I’m hoping we can get into the top eight to get in the league tournament,” said Mike Mascaro, head coach. “Inexperience is going to hurt us. We have some talent; I just think it’s going to take some time to figure it out.”
The Raiders will go as far as their guard play leads them, with Pierce ready to take the reigns completely and lead the team. Helping Pierce in the backcourt will be senior captain and point guard Kevin O’Boyle, who will get some different looks playing alongside Pierce, as well as coming off the bench to fortify the second unit. Mascaro believes that senior guard Brandon Gilbert and junior guard Jonnathan Oliveira, alongside Pierce, will share the heavy burden of putting the ball in the basket for the Raiders to win enough games to make the state tournament.
What Windsor Locks lacks in size, they make up in speed. The smaller and inexperienced team will look to push the ball and play at a frantic pace to keep teams on edge throughout the game. They plan to play an intense man-to-man defense with heavy pressing and traps to help them score some easy baskets in transition.
Windsor Locks’ front court will be bolstered down by senior forward Ed Langan and center Dapo Ayeni, who is slowly coming into his own on the offensive and defensive boards.
The Raiders open their season on the road versus Ellington on Dec.14, at 7 p.m.