The Lenape Regional High School District boys basketball teams tip off their seasons this week.
Here is a closer look at each district team:
Coach: Eric Cassidy
Career Record: 208-95
2018-19 Record: 22-9, 8-0 Olympic American; Lost to Freehold Township, 44-42, in NJSIAA South Group 4 semifinals
Returning Lettermen: Gavin Gibson, sr., guard (first team all-Olympic American Division all-star last season); Alex Thomas, sr., forward; A.J. Walker, ju., guard;
Promising Newcomers: Matt Panacio, sr., guard; Justin Shaw, sr., guard; Christian Armstrong, ju., forward; Mike Katsikis, ju., forward; Drew Wixted, ju., guard; Ethan Stith, ju., guard
Team Strengths: Defense and togetherness, according to Cassidy.
Weaknesses: Inexperience, according to Cassidy.
Season Outlook: “Is to compete and get better every day,” said Cassidy, who sees Lenape as a team to beat in the Olympic Conference American Division.
Season Opener: Dec. 19 vs. Seneca
Coach: Matt Wolf
Career Record: 15-12
2018-19 Record: 15-12, 4-4 Olympic American; Lost to Millville, 46-35, in NJSIAA South Group 4 quarterfinals
Returning Lettermen: Anthony Cortese, sr., forward; Connor Kennedy, sr., guard; Jake Cashmer, sr., forward; Jake Niemela, sr., forward; Zach Marshall, sr., forward; Riley Spitznas, ju., forward; Derek Simpson, so., point guard
Promising Newcomers: MaKyle Rowe, ju., forward; Matt Alexander, ju., guard; Jon Fenton, ju., guard; Tayvon Gaither, so., forward; Aidan Anderson, so, guard
Team Strengths: “Switching to man-to-man defense should allow us to put pressure on teams. We have a dynamic point guard and everybody on the court has the ability to knock down the ‘3’ ball,” said Wolf.
Weaknesses: “We are going to be young. We are starting two sophomores,” said Wolf.
Season Outlook: “We look to improve upon last year’s record and secure a top 4 spot in South Group 4 so we can have at least two home playoff games,” said Wolf, who sees Cherokee and Washington Township as top teams in the Olympic Conference American Division.
Season Opener: Dec. 20 at Camden Catholic
Coach: Jeffrey Weiler
Year: 2nd (17th with school’s program)
Career Record: 12-16
2018-19 Record: 12-16, 3-4 Olympic Patriot; Lost to Mainland, 58-51, in NJSIAA South Group 3 semifinals
Returning Lettermen: Johnny Kennevan, sr.; Malin Jasinski, sr.; Travis Laster, sr.; Nate Roseboro, sr.
Promising Newcomers: Mac Carlin, ju.; Chase Ruppel, so.
Team Strengths: Senior leadership, team chemistry; aggressive defense, offensive tempo,” according to Weiler.
Season Outlook: “We hope to build on Seneca’s recent success. Reaching the South Jersey Group 3 sectional final and semi-final in consecutive years was a great achievement for our program. Our next step would be to win a sectional final,” said Weiler, who sees Timber Creek as a team to beat in the Olympic Conference Patriot Division this season.
Season Opener: Dec. 19 at Cherokee
Coach: Joe Kessler
Career Record: 682-220
2018-19 Record: 14-13, 4-4 Olympic Patriot; Lost to Cherokee, 54-38, in NJSIAA South Group 4 first round
Returning Lettermen: (with Kessler comment) Cole Fleming, sr., guard, (very good shooter and defender); Nick Tamburro, ju., guard, (good shooter and ball handler)
Promising Newcomers: (with Kessler comment) Anthony Abbott, sr. (steady player, understands the game); Justin Lubin, ju. (strong rebounder); John White, ju. (very good shooter, slasher and rebounder); Tristan Thomas, ju. transfer (solid player, will help when eligible); Andrew Ball, so. (excellent shooter and rebounder); Matt Fish, so. (very good ball handler, shooter and point guard IQ); Avery Cohen, so. (tough kid, great defender), Erich Hartmann, so.; Andrew Kitch, fr. (all-around sold player, good shooter, defender and ball handler)
Team Strengths: Unselfish, smart, toughness, team unity and tradition, according to Kessler.
Weaknesses: Very inexperienced and young, according to Kessler.
Season Outlook: “Is to contend in the Olympic Conference Patriot Division and South Jersey,” said Kessler, who predicts Timber Creek and Winslow Township as division contenders this winter. “I consider us young and rebuilding, but a scrappy and hard-working team.”
Season Opener: Dec. 20 vs. Bishop Eustace