After an impressive couple of seasons, Laker basketball looks to continue their winning in a tougher, more competitive A conference. The team knows they face a challenging task, but they also know they are willing to put in the effort to maintain their winning ways.
Since last year’s championship run, a lot has happened to the varsity basketball team. The team lost four key seniors, Pat Spencer, Blair Brooks, Jerel Archer, and Shawn Stepney, as well as nationally recognized talent and now reclassified junior at Blair Academy, Kodye Pugh. The team has also moved up to the A conference, where the talent is noticeably better.
Senior captain Spencer Rees said, “The biggest difference in the conferences is the quality of teams. In the B conference, there might be one or two guys that can really play, but in the A conference, all five players on the floor can be a threat to score.”
Third-year coach Mr. Morrissey also added that “teams at the bottom of the standings have the talent to beat a top rated team on any day.”
There is a lot of talk about how the Lakers are going to keep up with these teams with talent top to bottom. “There will be no real change to our gameplan,” Rees said, “we will just have to be tougher and smarter than the other teams.” Rees is starting this year and will be a three point specialist for the team as they look to put up points fast against other teams.
If there is one thing the Lakers lack it is height. To compare to last year’s team, the Lakers’ tallest player this year was the point guard last year. Players such as Mike Morsberger, Kenny Lewis, and Nick Grinnell will potentially have to guard players six inches taller than them.
Of those three players, only one is a returning varsity player. Morsberger played last year, but the height around him allowed for him to play his more natural position as a shooting guard or small forward. Lewis hasn’t played since freshman year due to ineligibility.
Grinnell is just a few weeks off of a move from California and still adjusting to basketball on the east coast. He said that “there’s more height over in California, but the skill level here is much higher.”
Morsberger, Lewis, and Grinnell are all guards or small forwards on a team with height, but on this year’s team, they will have to step up and play the other team’s bigs while still being a threat offensively.
The backcourt will consist of junior Brandon Bradsher and sophomore Jaylin Andrews, both returning starters to the team. Both of these players are coming off outstanding campaigns from last year. Junior Jason Chappell is another weapon the team is excited about this year as he looks to start for the team as another guard.
Coach Rees is looking for Chappell, Bradsher, and Andrew’s defensive dominance to disrupt other team’s offensives, forcing them into shots they do not want to take.
The Lakers know they have a challenging task ahead of them, and they are currently 0-2 on the season already. However, players like captains Spencer Rees and Mike Morsberger, playmakers like Brandon Bradsher and Jaylin Andrews, and key role-players like Jason Chappell will provide the team with necessary leadership to become successful.
The team this year can not rely on talent alone to win them games like last year in the B conference, but “working hard in practice, playing each possession like it’s the last, and being smart” as Rees said will lead them to wins. After watching them practice and play as a manager this year, it’s only a matter of time before the Lakers are back to their winning ways.
The remaining schedule for the 2015-2016 season can be seen here.