Clippers rebuild with sophomore-laden squad

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Fri., Dec. 28, 2012
Steven Dakai looks for an open player. Photos by D. Coffey.
Steven Dakai looks for an open player. Photos by D. Coffey.

The Putnam Clippers boys' basketball coach Shawn Deary said his young team has a lot to learn this season. Nine seniors graduated last year. That left the Clippers with a squad having little varsity experience. “Even when I went deep into the bench last year, I had experience,” Deary said.

Every new year brings change. This year is a rebuilding year for Putnam. “We're working on shots,” said Deary. “We're working on form, on taking care of the ball, on not trying to turn it over. Other teams are working on press and press breaks and we're working on plays. We're half a step behind.”

Senior captains Alec Fontaine, David Gazzola and Tommy DiColella will lead a sophomore-laden team. “We have a great sophomore group,” Deary said. “They are smart. They're quick. They like the game.” Unfortunately, they lack experience. They are taking their lumps as they learn. Deary admitted it was a struggle. “It's a quicker pace for them,” he said. “We learn every day. We get better every day. You have two-and-a-half weeks to prepare for the first game and from that point on you're preparing for your next game. It's a lot for these guys to take in.”

One thing the young Clipper team learned on Dec. 27 was how to be gracious in loss. A host team for the 12th annual Clipper Classic, they lost their first match to Ellis Tech, 61-39. The team showed signs of life, especially in the third quarter, when they came back into the game, he said, but turnovers hurt them. “We have a good team, and we have a couple of kids who really want it," Deary said. “It's just a matter of putting it all together. It's like the kids are on different pages. We have a kid driving the lane and he gets right there and the big man's not looking for a [pass], and the ball goes out of bounds. It's just getting everyone on the same page.”

“It was a great Classic, though,” he said. “We love the Classic.”

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