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TOWNSEND — The North Middlesex boys basketball team is coming off an outstanding season in which the Patriots registered 16 wins in 22 games. The season ended with a defeat in the Central Mass. Division 1 semifinals to St. John’s.

Graduation losses were severe, costing the services of Drew Dion, Matt Foley, Mark Schulze, Scott Cavanaugh and Colin Cenedella, but sixth-year head coach Erik Dellasanta is ready to tackle a new set of challenges with a hustling and hard-working squad. The Patriots now reside in MidWach B after formerly playing in MidWach A.

“The switch from A to B really doesn’t mean that much,” said Dellasanta. “We still have a number of MidWach A teams on our schedule and I have a lot of respect for the league we are moving to. The key for us is to play each game as it comes. We have goals over small segments of the season and we divide it into four, five-game seasons. We just need to get better each day.”

The good news is that the squad nas nine seniors on it, and the five starters will come from a six-player nucleus of seniors consisting of guards Kevin Marciano, Kyle McDermott and Stephen Valacer, forwards Brian Magee and C.J. Flavin, and center David Lorden. Marciano, McDermott and Magee will be the captains.

“Kevin is in his third varsity season and is utltra-competitive,” said Dellasanta. “He is a multi-skilled, hard-nosed leader who is committed to win. He takes the ball to the basket well and has an improved jumpshot with three-point range. He is tough as nails defensively and led us in steals last season and he leads by example.

“Kyle is an outstanding three-point shooter and he knows how to score. He is an emotional player and is an underrated defender with a lot of athleticism. This is his third varsity season and he was a league all-star last year.

“Stephen will have a much increased role this season. He reads defenses well, is an outstanding passer and makes teammates better. He looks to create first, but has an improved shot and he is a great team defender.

“Brian came off the bench last season and he is an explosive athlete. He is solid off the dribble and is a high-end defender with a combination of size and speed.

“C.J will have a much-increased role this season. He is an intelligent player who is always in the right place. He is a good passer and does a nice job of getting to the basket.

“David is a tough kid who can shoot the ball and can rebound in bunches. He is quiet, but very competitive and is in great physical condition. He is our most experienced big guy and will have a huge role this season.”

A trio of frontcourt players are sure to get minutes this season — senior forward/center Dylan Kimbar, junior forward Francis Phillips and junior center Caleb Baker.

“Dylan came off the bench last season and is a physical player who can be counted on to give 100 percent effort,” said Dellasanta. “He passes well, can score from inside the paint and will take a charge defensively. Francis is up from the junior varsity team and he is gaining confidence. He has been hitting his shots from both the inside and outside and he gives us an athlete with length on the wing. Caleb will give us a defensive presence inside. He has good hands and rebounds well and is a work in progress.”

The Patriots love to play an up-tempo style, which demands depth. Providing further depth will be senior guard-forward Colby Ledoux, senior forward Mike Harris, and junior guard Ryan DeLuca, all up from the junior varsity team.

“Colby is a good shooter with three-point range,” said Dellasanta. “His passing has improved. Mike is a great kid with good hands and a decent shot. He is a physical player who works hard. Ryan is athletic and is able to get to the basket and has improved his shooting range.”

There is a lot to like about this year’s team.

“I like our experience with nine seniors back and our core seven have played in big games,” said Dellasanta. “We have the momentum from coming off a good year and we have a bunch of kids who are willing to play defense. They take a lot of pride in taking a charge. We are athletic and I like the chemistry. This is a great group of kids.

“Our goal is to make the districts and that is a realistic goal,” said Dellasanta. “I am looking forward to the season. The kids have put the time in and I think we are ready.”

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