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Undersized Patriots enter season guardedly optimistic

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TOWNSEND — Once again the North Middlesex boys basketball team will lack size, but fourth-year coach Erik Dellasanta is optimistic about the upcoming season for a number of reasons.

“I really like the dedication these kids have shown,” said Dellasanta. “All of them have worked hard in the off-season and are in great physical condition. They want to get better both individually and as a group. We have strong guards, I like the chemistry of the team and we have a great work ethic. We will play hard every night.”

The Patriots will feature a strong backbourt with senior captains Zach Trust and Ryan Woodward returning as starters.

“Zach is an excellent all-around player,” said Dellasanta. “He handles the ball well, and he can score in a variety of ways. He is a good shooter with range and can slash to the basket. He is strong, quick, athletic and experienced.

“Ryan is an outstanding shooter with range,” said Dellasanta. “He has matured this year and has shown great leadership. He’s also taking the ball to the basket with more authority this season.”

Starting in the froncourt for the Patriots will be sophomore Drew Dion at small forward, senior captain Nick Morgan at power forward, and senior Justin Greelis at center.

“Drew can do everything on a basketball court,” said Dellasanta. “He is big and strong, handles the ball well and is a good passer. He is eager to learn and is sometimes too unselfish, but he makes very few mistakes and is a team player.

“Nick is a tough player who does the dirty work for us,” said Dellasanta. “He is a strong rebounder and defender, who is undersized but is willing to mix it up inside. He is also a strong leader.

“Justin was the backup point guard last season but he has grown both physically and in confidence,” said Dellasanta. “He is athletic, jumps well and has good hands. He has been a big surprise.”

Making a strong push for quality time are senior guard/forward Matt Morico, senior center Corey Marciano, sophomore guard/forward Scott Cavanaugh, and junior forward Rob Woodward.

“Matt is an athlete with a good shot and he plays solid defense,” said Dellasanta. “Corey was a part-time starter last season, who is a very physical player who is willing to mix it up. Scott is up from the junior varsity team and he has been a big surprise. He is a scrappy player who makes good decisions. Rob is also up from the junior varsity team. He is very athletic, handles the ball well and has a good shot. He is also bigger this season.”

Looking to create a niche will be senior center Chris Pena, senior forward Mark Dion and senior guard C.J. Dalton.

“Chris has good size, works hard and will be a role player,” said Dellasanta. “Mark is injured right now but he has a good mid-range jumper and solid inside moves. C.J. didn’t play last year but loves the game and is a good shooter with a lot of enthusiasm.

“My concerns entering the season are lack of size, avoiding injuries and the tough schedule we have,” said Dellasanta. “I’m excited about the season and the kids are excited. They’ve done everything I have asked of them. Our goal is to make the Districts and we know what we have to do to get it done. It’s important that we get off to a good start to build some confidence.”

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