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Local Boys Basketball Preview Capsules

December 18, 2018
The Greater Lowell Tech boys basketball team is expecting some great things this season as all five starters from last year's 13-win team are back in uniform. COURTESY PHOTO Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

ALVIRNE

League: N.H. Division 1

Last season’s record: 13-7, lost to Exeter in Division 1 quarterfinals.

Returning starters: Joe Canelas, F; Jamie Bertrand, G; Ryan Weston, G; Paul Manzi, C.

Other key returnees: Cole Zimmerman, G; Meshack Mugarin, F; Davonte McKoy Sophos, F/G; Cam Jones, G.

Promising newcomers: Liam O’Neill, so., C; Brendan Graham, fr., C.

Coach Marty Edwards: “We have a strong group of returning players and will be adept at full-court pressure and transition basketball. Our strength is in our defense and our rebounding. It will be a fun season.”

BILLERICA

League: MVC Division 2

Last season’s record: 4-16

Returning starters: Ryan Murphy, jr., F; Aiden Deady, jr., G; Jake Loftin, sr., G.

Other key returnees: Ankeet Patel, so., G; Miachale Stack, so., G.

Promising newcomers: Johnny Bragg, jr., G; Michael Bragg, jr., G; Shawn Colby, jr., F; Nathan Hunt, so., G.

Coach Mark Mastrullo (3rd season): “The strength of this team will be on the defensive end. We need to keep guys out of the paint and then turn that defense into transition offense. We’re much more athletic this season than we were last year. The MVC is a concern because there are so many talented guards. We put a lot of work into our shooting in the offseason and I think it’s helped.”

CHELMSFORD

League: MVC Division 2

Last season’s record: 9-13, lost to Everett in Division 1 North first round

Returning starters: Suubi Nkugwa, jr.; Graham Jeffries, sr.; Chris Rabias, sr.

Other key returnees: Liam McGinty, jr.; Jack Beauchesne, jr.; Nick Drew, sr.; Thomas Slattery, sr.; Peter Caruso, sr.; Alex Silva, sr.

Promising newcomers: Tyler Nolan, jr..; Levi Cass, jr.; Tarmo Tari, so.

Coach Charlie Micol (27th season): “We have a very good mix of returning guys and new players. They haven’t played much together as a group -- we have a few coming off injuries (Alex Silva and Liam McGinty) and guys coming from their fall sports. So this preseason we scrimmaged much more than years past, trying to figure out roles and chemistry. Alex Silva missed last season with a torn ACL. The league top to bottom is very strong.”

GREATER LOWELL

League: CAC Large

Last season’s record: 13-8, lost to Bellingham in Division 3 Central first round

Returning starters: Paul Choate., sr., G/F; Luis Mota, sr., G/F; Luis Huertas, sr., G; Brian Bosia, jr., F; Devonte Mutandwa, so., G.

Other key returnees: Jerry Cruz, sr., F; Josh Ortiz, jr., F; King Mondiere, jr., G; Tyler Bussey, jr., F.

Promising newcomers: Jared Marchand, jr.; Jose Lazu, jr.; Kaden Christianson, so.; Jacob Burk, so.

Coach Joe Kane (10th season): “Working together as one, leadership, and unselfish play are the keys to this year’s team. If leaders emerge and the team comes together as one, we should have a lot of success this season. Many returners are back and we have a talented group of sophomores who will see a lot of action.”

GROTON-DUNSTABLE

League: Mid-Wach B

Last season’s record: 12-10, lost to Shepherd Hill in D2 Central quarterfinals

Returning starters: Evan Cook, sr., G; Connor Keegan, sr., F; Brian Scott, sr., F; Jared Leclerc, sr., G.

Other key returnees: Jacob Gavel, sr., F; Joe Bushnell, sr., G; Will Manzi, sr., G; Joe O’Malley, jr., G.

Promising newcomers: Tim Stark, jr., G; Charlie Willis, jr., G; Elias Jiser, jr., G; Tristan Chase, jr., F; Jared Whitby, jr., G.

Coach Greg Gillette (6th season): “Every year we try to get to the postseason. Hopefully we play well down the stretch and carry in some momentum. We have a lot of guys that can run. We have to get better defensively as a team.”

LITTLETON

League: Mid-Wach C

Last season’s record: 7-13, lost to Lunenburg in D3 Central preliminary round

Returning starters: Ross Cotnam, sr., F; PJ Barbella, sr., G; Luke Elliott, sr., F; Austin Lynn, sr., F.

Other key returnees: Jacob Yurkowski, sr., G.

Promising newcomers: Jason Frisoli, jr., G ; Braden Lynn, so., G; Tyler Merrill, so., G; Kiron Arone, so., G; Tony Desisto, jr., G; Jared Lelivre, jr., F.

Coach Mike Lombard (12th season): “Cotnam can be a special player, he’s a double-double guy and a talented wing. It’s been a good preseason so far. We’re athletic and we’re deeper than we’ve been in a few years. We need to replace a lot of rebounding and toughness.”

LOWELL CATHOLIC

League: CCL Small

Last season’s record: 7-13

Returning starters: Keenan Rudy-Phol, so., F; Caleb Scott, jr., C; Isaiah Taylor, so., G.

Other key returnees: Alex Laferriere, sr., F; Alex Antoine, so., G; Ian Sullivan, jr., F.

Promising newcomers: Jaceb McKenzie, so., G; Danny Sullivan, so., G; Sam Ortega, so., G.

Coach Mike Isola (4th season)

LOWELL

League: MVC Division 1

Last season’s record: 18-5, lost to Everett in Division 1 North semifinals

Returning starters: Carlos Nunez, jr., G; Nate Siow, jr., G; Justin Villanueva, sr., F; Rashawn Settles, sr., G.

Other key returnees: Deven Okowuga, sr., F; Ty Chan, so., F.

Promising newcomers: AJ Boykai, sr., F; Trey Bun, jr., G; Richie Ettienne, jr., G.

Coach Bobby Michalczyk (6th season): “The ceiling is as high as these guys want it to be. But if we don’t come out and play hard, we’ll get beat. I think this is the most balanced team I’ve had. We have really good guards and good size. Nate and Carlos are only juniors and they have more tournament experience than most seniors. Defense is always the No. 1 thing we focus on.”

PELHAM

League: N.H. Division 2

Last season’s record: 9-9, lost to Coe-Brown in Division 2 quarterfinal

Returning starters: Blake Woekel, sr., G; Derek Crowley, jr., G.

Other key returnees: Cam Loring, sr., F; Devyn Tucci, sr., G.

Promising newcomers: Jake Dumont, so., G; Zack Jones, so., F.

Coach Mike Larson (3rd season): “I actually have some pretty high expectations. I played a lot of young guys the last couple of years. Our chemistry has been fantastic and so has our attitude and effort. I would say we are strong offensively, even though we don’t really have that knockdown shooter. Our man-to-man is very aggressive. Our weakness is rebounding because we’re not big -- typical Pelham team.”

SHAWSHEEN TECH

League: CAC Large

Last season’s record: 7-13

Returning Players: Zach Mickle, sr.; Mark Giordano, sr.; Casey DeCost, sr.; Ryan Quinones, sr.; Jared Rizzo, sr.; John Pilla, sr.; Ryan Smith, sr.

Promising newcomers: Santino Garofalo, jr.; Jalen Massengill, jr.; Josiah Martinez, jr.; Nick Tuccelli, sr.

Coach Greg Bendel (8th season): “This group has the most varsity experience we have ever had. We are really excited for this group but we will have to work really hard to compete in our league.”

TEWKSBURY

League: MVC Division 2

Last season’s record: 9-11

Returning starters: Shane Aylward, jr., G; Connor Brinklow, sr., F.

Other key returnees: Jack Kelly, sr., G; Colby Brown, jr., G; Brennan Rogers, sr., G; Zack Tyler, sr., F.

Promising newcomers: Kalu Olu, so., G; Nolan Timmons, jr., G/F; Mike Kelly, so., G.

Coach Tom Bradley (3rd season): “We have some shooting. The kids work hard every day in practice, but we also play in a tough league. It’s going to be a battle. We want to keep the scores in the 50s, but get out and run when we can.”

TYNGSBORO

League: Mid-Wach D

Last season’s record: 19-4, lost to Blackstone-Millville in Division 3 Central semifinals

Returning Starters: Christian Beck, sr., G; Phil Sutherland, jr., F.

Other Key Returners: Evan Robson, sr., G; Elcharis Kamuanga, sr., G/F; Chris Ausiello, sr., G; Jason Kelly, jr., F; Ryan Gauthier, jr., G..

Promising newcomers: Tyler Hapenny, sr., F; Mitch Anderson, jr., G; Riley O’Hayre, jr., G; Josh Lesofsky, so., C; Brad Matthews, so., F..

Coach Greg Costa (4th season)

WESTFORD ACADEMY

League: DCL Large

Last season’s record: 9-11

Returning starters: Jake Barisano, jr., G; Declan Morse. jr., F; Ben Lawrence, sr., G; Scott Beattie, sr., G; Adam Scaramuzzo, sr., G; Michael Zacharachuk, sr., G.

Other key returnees: Aryah Purandare. jr., F; Ayush Purandare, jr., F.

Promising newcomers: Josh Rosenstein, jr., G; Zach Lawrence, jr., F.

Coach Christopher Bramanti (7th season)

WILMINGTON

League: Middlesex League Freedom

Last season’s record: 5-16, lost to Hamilton-Wenham in Division 3 North first round

Returning starters: None.

Other key returnees: Stephen Anthony, sr., G; Christopher Stokes, sr., F; Matt Thomas, sr., F.

Promising newcomers: Andrew Munsie, jr., F; Evan Witlisz, so., G; Jimmy McCarron, so., F; Ryan Clarke, jr., G; Owen Surette, so., G.

Coach Dennis Ingram (3rd season): “It’s a curse and a blessing that we’re in the Middlesex League. It’s a tough league but we know we can qualify for the state tourney with the Sullivan Rule. It’s very cliche but we’re trying to get better every day and every week. Defense will be our bread and butter.”

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