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Division 2 boys basketball preview

Sabis expects challenge from Reading

By Gabe Souza
Globe Correspondent / December 17, 2010

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Andre King and Kamali Bey averaged a combined 55 points a game last year and helped lead Sabis International Charter School to the Division 2 state championship. But this season they’re both gone – King graduated, Bay transferred – and coach Jim Mack is left trying to reinvent his team’s identity.

“It’s just not going to be the same scoring,’’ Mack said. “We’ve got to be more disciplined both offensively and defensively.”

The Bulldogs feature seven seniors from last year’s 24-2 championship team. Mack said his team is running a smaller and quicker game led by sophomore point guard Xavier Garcia.

“He’s physically mature beyond a freshman,” Mack said. “He picks up the game very well, he understands what we’re asking him to do.”

The defending champs could face stiff competition in an experienced Reading team. The Rockets are returning four starters from a 19-6 season last year.

“We started the Monday after Thanksgiving and so far we’ve just noticed a little more experience [than previous years],” coach Paul Morrissey said. “We understand a little more about what we want to do.”

Junior guard Kenny Reed highlights what could be a high-scoring offense. Both Reed and fellow guard Trey Jones shoot and rebound well, Morrissey said.

In Cheshire, coach Bill Robinson is guiding a Hoosac Valley High team laden with veterans. Eight seniors will suit up for the Hurricanes, led by 6-foot-7 twins Ethan and Andrew Harmon. Robinson, who is in his 21st year with Hoosac, hopes the experience pays off.

“We’ve played in some pretty good places in the past few years and we’ve had some pretty good games under our belts.”

At Groton-Dunstable, junior forward Will Peregoy leads a talented, but young team.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said coach Keith Woods. “What defines this group more than any other is their unselfishness, they know they have to help each other out.”

With just three seniors the Crusaders will rely heavily on big sophomore point guard Kyle Romich (6-foot-2) and shooting center Liam Barberich.

Millbury, who lost to Groton-Dunstable in last year’s semi-finals, is looking to rebound from many key losses. Senior Andy Ekstrom is the only returning starter for the Woolies and is interchangeable between both forward positions.

“We’re trying to figure out who’s going to be the leaders and who’s going to do the scoring coach Dan Spring said. “We’ve had some scrimmages and they’ve gone okay.”

Salem features six seniors including guard/forward Antonio Reyes, who has already amassed over 1,200 points in his career and is a three-time all-star.

“He makes us go,” said coach Tom Doyle. “He handles the ball most of the time, he’s the leading scorer, assist man, second rebounder. He’s our go to guy.”

In Milton, coach Sean Lopresti is trying to rebuild a team that lost all of its starters, four to graduation and one to transfer. Senior captains Skyler Abrams and Khiry Matchman will lead the Wildcats.

“I think Sklyer will be our coach on the floor, he is our most verbal player,” Lopresti said. “Offensively Khiry will be our best weapon. He can do a bit of everything.”

Football season left Falmouth missing a big piece of its equation. John Lavin, a 6-foot-5 senior forward and major cog in the Clippers’ starting five, is out until at least January with a broken leg.

In his absence, coach Paul Lundberg expects senior guard Nelson Baptiste to step up and work well with a large group of sophomores.

“It’s going to take a lot of progress,” Lundberg said. “We have to work every day, work every week. It’s not going to be there in the first game, but we’ll become a competitive team. It’s going to be tough but you never know.”

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Starting 5

A preseason look at the top players in Division 2 boys’ basketball.

C – Jeremy Miller, Milton

F – Jerry Ellis-Williams, Reading

F – Brad Skeffington, Salem

G – Nelson Baptiste, Falmouth

G – Antonio Reyes, Salem