With loss of three star players, basketball team needs to fill gap

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Wed., Dec. 19, 2012
Eddie Mack blocks as Jalen Ollie of Glastonbury attempts to pass. Photos by Christian Mysliwiec.
Eddie Mack blocks as Jalen Ollie of Glastonbury attempts to pass. Photos by Christian Mysliwiec.

The Manchester High School boys' basketball team came off a good season last year. “We ended up with an overall record of 20 wins and seven losses,” said head coach Robert Healy. They reached the finals of the 16-team CCC Tournament, where they were beaten by Windsor. After regrouping, they went to the state tournament, beat Greenwich and Trumbull, reached the quarterfinals, and were defeated by Hillhouse High School.

Healy has many returning players who gained crucial experience during those tournaments. “We do have a lot of guys who played in tournaments last year and in a lot important games, and we're hoping to use that as a springboard for this season,” he said.

However, he by no means expects an easy season this year. He lost three key players from last year: Jaquel Edwards and Chris Christie, who graduated, and Marquis Little, a senior who is focusing on his football aspirations. Edwards was last year's leading scorer. Little, at 6'3”, was the top rebounder. Christie played center, and at 6'3” and 230 pounds, was a powerful presence on the court.

Filling the gap left by these three athletes will be critical to the team's success. Fortunately, Healy has a few guys in mind.

Boise Murphy, Frankie Berrios, Courtney Deberry and Baylen Eason will be stepping in to provide the “main cogs” of the front court. Joining them is a new wing player, 6'2” Kaleel Faiz. In the backcourt, Healy can rely on Christian Walker, who was All-League last year, along with Eddie Mack, Tyrone Davis and Devin Johnson.

Healy wants to avoid a team mindset of simply outscoring opponents to win. Success this year will mean balancing both offense and defense, he said. He believes the team's rebounding ability and ball handling ability need to be honed further, as does defense.
The perennial goal of the team is to positively represent the school, and exhibit sportsmanship and character. The goal specific to this season is to compete for the CCC North title, and then go as far as they can in states.

“We want to make the state tournament and go as far as we did last year, if not farther,” said Healy.

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