As we roll towards 2013, many people will be making resolutions as the New Year comes upon us. The following is a list of my wishes for the local coaches and sports teams for the remainder of the winter.
For Erik Dellasanta, coach of the North Middlesex boys basketball team, I wish that he be recognized for what he is, one of the, if not the best boys coach in Central Massachusetts. Is that an overstatement? Not really. Are we going to talk about Bob Foley and Mark Pierce? Sure, we can.
Foley has had a great career at St. John's hand-picking his roster from the largest enrollment of any team in our area. Pierce has had a lot of success and frankly, a lot of talent that have all found their way to St. Bernard's over the years. Let there be no mistaking that when Foley and Pierce leave their posts, their respective schools will somehow manage to remain successful. Heck, give me a trio of 6-foot 6-inch kids every year and chances are I will win a District title or two.
The only other coach I might put in the discussion with Dellasanta would be Quabbin's Dennis Dextrater who might be the hardest working man in basketball. Dellasanta has watched as his enrollment has gone down and yet has still produced consistent winning teams. He adjusts to the group of kids he has and is willing to listen to those around him. While he might not have the banners to prove it, he has easily made his way on to my list of best coaches I have ever dealt with in my 17 years at the paper.
For the Ayer-Shirley girls' basketball team, I wish upon them the ability to score 50 points a night on a consistent basis. If they do, the Lady Panthers will become an interesting team to watch as the season goes along.
Now, watching an Ayer-Shirley girl's game is not for everyone as they play at a frenetic pace and it leads to a number of quick shots and turnovers. But they play as hard as anyone in the area and their defense is solid. If they can develop a consistent offensive game and limit the amount of turnovers they commit, it is conceivable that they could make a trip out to WPI this season.
For fans of the Groton-Dunstable boys basketball team, I wish for them, patience. What happens when you replace the entire starting five of a District semi-finalist team? Well, unless you are St. John's and St. Bernard's and you reload with a new group of recruits, ahem, student-athletes, you generally regress.
I have seen Groton-Dunstable play three times and have been impressed with the effort, but playing against an extremely difficult schedule, the results have not been there. They are making a lot of mistakes, which is common when teams have not played together for a long time. I stress that everyone in the program should be patient and see how things go once they get matched up against teams their own size.
For all of our teams, players, coaches and fans, I wish them health and happiness in the New Year. This past year had a lot of successes and I am sure that 2013 will be just as good.