The Guilford boys basketball team had been pointing toward this season for a couple of years now.
The Indians endured a five-win season in 2011-12, then qualified for the Class L state tournament for the first time in six years. Now, with seven seniors on the roster, all of whom get significant playing time, Guilford set one important goal to start the season.
“We want to get a home state playoff game (in Class L),” Guilford coach Jeff DeMaio said. “That means we need to be in the 12-14-win range.”
Winning seven of their first eight games is a pretty good start, six of them by double digits.
“I thought we could get out to a fast start,” DeMaio said. “We get contribution from a lot of people. We play 10 people every game, not just some of the games that were lopsided.”
DeMaio, now in his fifth season, said the Indians “held their own” in a preseason tri-scrimmage with Holy Cross and Maloney, adding to the team’s overall confidence. “It was a good barometer for us,” he said.
Luke Dombroski is the team’s leading scorer at 12.1 ppg., followed by Will Cofrances (10.3 ppg.). The 6-foot-3 Dombroski also averages more than 10 rebounds per game, according to DeMaio.
“Luke is one of the best rebounders in the conference (the SCC),” DeMaio said. “He plays bigger than he is.”
A move made at the end of last season has also helped the Indians’ cause. DeMaio moved Mike Afeltra to point guard so Cofrances could be the shooting guard.
The only loss in Guilford’s first eight games was to SCC Hammonasset Division rival Hand. Another division game comes Thursday against the team that hasn’t lost in the Hammonasset in almost eight years — Hillhouse.
“We are going on Thursday with the expectation to compete with Hillhouse,” DeMaio said. “I might be wrong of course, but our mindset is a little different this year than in past years. Our expectations are a little higher, We hope to compete for four quarters.”
DeMaio expects the second half of the season to be much tougher. Those results, plus a spot in the SCC tournament, should help Guilford get ready for March.
“We lack the (tournament) pedigree and history. I hope our seniors can overcome that,” DeMaio said.