Coach Jeff Bernardi has high hopes for the boys basketball team this season. After all, they did win Division I ECCs last year.
But what a difference a year makes. With the graduation of key players, the team will face tough challenges in racking up points. It will be especially hard without one of the most outstanding athletes to ever play at ELHS, Dev Ostrowski, who averaged 29 points per game in his senior season.
“We will have to work together rather than relying on one or two star players,’’ said junior Matt Valakaos. He enjoys the closeness of the team and thinks that the team’s positive attitude will influence the outcome of their games.
The team is still very confident and believes their main focus is on scoring and maintaining great defense. The team dynamic is also strong, as new leaders are stepping forward to help the team gel together.
One such leader is senior Nathan Diaz, a prominent scorer and seasoned player. He expects the team to excel and he is excited about a more team-oriented season.
“We are going to work hard every day in practice and come together as a team,” said Diaz. “I’m excited to see the younger players stepping up too.”
With the loss of points from last year’s starting five, the team will rely heavily on Diaz, who averaged 10 points per game, to expand his role as scorer. Other players will have to do the same to keep up last year’s team average of 65 points per game. Multiple players agree that the team will be the most successful if they focus on the team as a whole and uniformity, as opposed to the individual successes.
“Fans should be looking forward to a good amount of wins against good teams,’’ Diaz said.
Both Diaz and Valakaos are convinced that the team has great chances in this year’s ECC tournament.
Last year’s success can be expected this season as well. The team works hard at practice everyday to try to achieve their goal of winning ECCs.
Out of all Coach Bernardi’s experience, he believes that this group of boys is special and is capable of great things together.
“This is a hard working group. They have seen what it takes to have a championship season and they know how to prepare for big games.
That experience will help us this season,” Bernardi said.
The team looks forward to their first away game Dec. 19 versus Morgan High School.