Stressing the little things and better shot selection are necessary to improve upon last year’s 3-20 finish, said third-year Amherst Comets coach Pat Bray.
The boys basketball team finished 1-17 in the Southwestern Conference but welcomes back experienced seniors such as Alec Dimacchia, Jaiden Sledge, Gehrig Gabrie, Troy Toth, and Greg Rhodes.
“The biggest challenge in changing the culture is doing the little things,” said Bray. “Young guys see NBA players jacking up a shot every time down the floor and they think that’s the way to go. A good shooter shoots about 35 percent from long range. If you put up too many of those, best case scenario we’re only scoring every three times down the court. We’ve got to start getting offensive rebounds and creating more opportunities.”
Junior Ryan Hritsko and sophomore Kyle Ferguson will also be expected to fill prominent roles with consistent bench minutes slotted to Austin Vukelic, Matt Fairchild, Max Strauser, and Scott Iliff.
That group hopes to help mitigate the losses of 2017 seniors Carter Zajkowski, Johnny Matakovich, Chad Jones, and Dominic Zappa.
“We have to defend better and we’ve been working on it a lot,” said Bray. “Over four scrimmages, we’ve shown we can be pretty good defenders when we want to be. We just have to believe in the process and stick to it.”
The coach said strengths for his team include an array of skilled shooters with high motors but expected size disadvantages will have to be overcome.
“This isn’t a big or strong team,” said Bray. “That means we have to stick to our game plans and give everything we’ve got every single quarter of every single game.”
The team opens its season at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 at Clearview.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.