By Peter Wallace
@PWallaceSports on Twitter
Naugatuck Valley League
Coach: Eric Gamari, 7th season
Last Year: 4-16
Key Loss: Tim Considine, G
Key Returners: Zak Mancini, 5-8 Sr. G; Connor Finn, 5-10 Sr. F; Jake Boccio, 6-2 Sr. C; David White, 5-10 Sr. All-Iron Division G/F; Stephon Dailey, 5-8 Jr. G; Nick DallaValle, Jr. G; Jason Vinisko, 6-0 Jr. F; Jordan Henneberry, Soph. F.
Outlook: The Red Raiders lack height, but try to make up for it with experience, with nine varsity players returning. Gamari expects them to be competitive in the Iron Division, with Sacred Heart and Crosby the league favorites.
Coach: Mark Douglass, 12th year
Last Year: 5-15
Key Losses: Anthony Gonzalez, G; Paxton Franklin, C
Key Returners: Matt Coon, 6-1 Sr. F; Garrett Lombardo, 5-11 6-0 Sr. G; Ian Ryan, 6-3 Sr. C; Jake Wendel, 5-11 5-10 Sr. G.
Newcomers: Chad Closson 6-0 Soph; Nate DeJesus, 5-8 Jr. G; Kyle Root, 6-3 Sr. C; Dylan Thomson, 5-8 Soph. G.
Outlook: Middle of the pack, aiming to qualify for the BL and state tournaments. Some varsity experience, but lots of youth and lack of depth so far. League picks: Litchfield – size, experience and one of the league’s best players in Ryan O’Neill; Lewis Mills; Nonewaug; Northwestern; Wamogo (sleeper pick).
Coach: Spike Magyar, 4th season
Last Year: 4-16
Key Loss: Nick Camardi
Key Returners: Pat Considine, Sr. G; Justin Dean, Sr. F; Max Vadakin, Sr. F.
Newcomers: Colby Hickey, Soph. F; Ayden Zucco, Soph. G.
Outlook: With a core of experienced seniors, the Mountaineer goal is to return to the BL and state post-season tournaments.
Coach: Todd Kozak, 5th year
Last Year: 17-7, BL Tournament Champions
Key Losses: Nate Cook, All-State, All-BL F; Justin Pease, Second Team All-BL G; Zach Ventres, leading 3-point shooting guard
Key Returners: Ben Lewis, 6-1 Sr. F; Trent Millum, 6-0 Sr. F; Anthony Licata, 6-0 Sr. G; Trevor Baker, 6-3 Jr. F.
Outlook: The Spartans lost three starters and 35 points a game to graduation. They’re young, but deeper this year. Litchfield, Nonnewaug and Northwestern are the league favorites.
Coach: Dan Goscinski, 3rd year
Last Year: 12-11
Key Losses: Matt McCarthy, F; Dan Tyrrell, F; Mike Minucci, F.
Key Returners: Brandon Hookstadt, 5-9 Sr. G, Cpt.; Cal McKenna, 6-2 Sr. G; Austin Dieck, 6-1 Sr. F; Ryan O’Neill, 6-4 Jr. All-BL, All-State Second Team F (426 points last year); Josh Guilmart, 5-9 Jr. G; Chris Parsons, 5-10 Sr. G; Jack Kruezer, 5-9 Jr. G.
Outlook: McCarthy was a key player last year, but the Cowboys return one of the league’s best players in O’Neill, along with an experienced group of seniors. With a sound defense, they should be at or near the top of the league, along with Lewis Mills, Northwestern and Nonnewaug. Thomaston and Wamogo much improved, Shepaug and Terryville competitive. Goscinski thinks eight or nine teams could qualify for states.
Coach: Tim Drakeley, 22nd year
Last Year: 15-8
Key Loss: Seth Losure, All-BL C; Charlie Timme, F
Key Returners: Nick DeCicco, 5-11 Sr. All-BL G (15 ppg; 4 rpg), Cpt.; Devon Fiedler, 6-1 Sr. PG, Cpt.; Nathan Firlings, 5-9 Jr. PG; Andrew Roden, 6-4 Sr. C, Cpt.; Jac Matta, 6-0 Jr. G; Ryan Gunnoud, 5-10 Sr. G.
Newcomers: Ethan Ray, 6-4 Sr. C; Luke Molinaro, 5-7 Sr. G; Clifton Leggo, 5-10 Jr. G; Alex Reimold, 5-11 Jr. G.
Outlook: The Chiefs graduated their All-League 6-7 center, but still bring back enough size and experience to be in a crowded race for the league title. Drakeley sees Lewis Mills loaded with size and talent; Northwestern returning talented starters; and Thomaston jumping into the competition along with Shepaug.
Coach: Doug Sebach, 12th year
Last Year: 20-5, BL Champions, Class M Quarterfinals
Key Losses: Ricky Persechino, All-BL G; Stephen McGrath, All-BL F; Zach Tuxbury, G; Will Schamberg, F.
Key Returners: Anthony Case, 5-6 Sr. G; Tucker Kreh, 6-3 Sr. F; Devin Warren, 5-10 Sr. F/G; Alex Case, 5-7 Sr. G; Zack Plitt, 6-1 Jr. F/G.
Newcomers: Sheldon Green, 5-11 Jr. G; Ben North 5-9 Soph. G; Jayson Reola, 6-2 Soph. F; Mike Oley, 5-8 Soph. G; Chris Nanni, 5-10 Soph. G.
Outlook: Four starters graduated, but the Highlanders return enough size and talent to put them on most league coaches’ lists of teams vying for the league’s top spot.
Coach: Matt Lefevre, 3rd year
Last Year: 8-13
Key Losses: Robert McCarthy, F; Sam Krebs, G: Ben Levine, C; Michael Taylor, G.
Key Returners: Clayton Schneider, 6-3 Sr. F; Eamon Crossley, 5-7 Jr. G; Kyle LaMay, 5-8 Soph. G; Ryan Lamay, 6-0 Sr. G; Alan Stinson, 5-9 Soph. G; Connor Douskey, 5-11 Jr. F; Austin Dutcher, 6-0 Jr. F; Michael Fiore, 6-0 Soph. F; Sean Welsh, 6-2 Jr. F.
Outlook: In two years, Coach Lefevre took his team from 1-19 to state tournament qualification. Look for more improvement this year, as at least one coach has him on his list of dark horses for a tight league race.
Coach: Dave Alarcon, 1st year (Mark Fowler is taking a year off to be with a son afflicted with brain cancer)
Last Year: 16-9, Class S Quarterfinals
Key Losses: Rich Moschini, G; Paul Tuper, G; Cedric Clift, G; Shea Tracy, All-State, All-BL G; Jeff Dupaul, C; Sean Huria, Second Team All-BL F.
Key Returners: Ian Schmidt, 5-10 Sr. G; Ariel Batista, 6-0 Sr. F; Zach Guarriello, 5-10 Sr. F.
Newcomers: Evan Dorso, 5-8 Soph. G; Shawn Iwanow, 5-10 Soph. G; John Grimes, 6-0 Jr. F.
Outlook: The Kangaroos lost three All-State players and 1,000 point-scorers over the last two years. It leaves them young and hoping for the middle of the pack. Lewis Mills, Litchfield, Nonnewaug and Northwestern should vie at the top.
Coach: A.J. Bunel, 2nd year
Last Year: 6-14
Key Losses: Brian Sousa, Shane O’Bar, Kyle Warner, Anthony Moura, Tyler Donofrio.
Key Returners: Justin Taylor, 5-10 Sr.; Jared Kahn, 6-1 Jr.; Noah Daigle, 6-4 Jr.; Devan Donofrio, 5-7 Jr.; Sean Fitzpatrick, 6-0 Jr.; Chad Robinson, 6-0 Sr.; Aaron Madow, Sr.
Outlook: Hard-working team eager to improve on last season. Litchfield looks good among a host of others. Bunel “wouldn’t be at all shocked to see 5-6 teams in a legitimate race for the title.”
Coach: Gregg Hunt, 21st season (32nd overall)
Last Year: 5-15
Key Losses: Devin Ruot; Taylor Jacquemin; Nicholas Brennan.
Key Returners: Jake Fenn, 5-9 Sr. (11.4 ppg); Garrett Coe, 6-4 Soph. (8.1 ppg); Max Loomis, 6-2 Jr. (7.7 ppg).
Newcomers: Pete Schneider, 5-9 Sr.; Logan King, 6-3 Sr.; Owen Hofman, 5-11 Jr.; Garrett Sattazahn, 5-11 Fresh.; Sean Coffey, 5-9 Fresh.
Outlook: The Warriors should be improved with good size up front in Coe and Loomis and a solid floor general in Fenn. A very talented freshman group could see significant varsity minutes in the hunt for a state tournament berth. Northwestern, Litchfield and Lewis Mills should be very good, Thomaston and Shepaug improving.
Constitution State Conference
Coach: Rene Williams, 14th year
Last Year: 0-19
Key Loss: Brandon Benson
Key Returners: Tristan Sorenson, 5-6 Jr. G; Mitchell Sorenson, 5-7 Jr. G; Louis Perlotto, 5-9 Sr. G; Brandon Oakes, 6-0 Sr. G; Dalton Moreau, 6-1 Jr. F; Joel Lemieux, 5-8 Jr. G; David Colombie, 6-2 Jr. C.
Outlook: Last year, the Wildcats were winless with a core of sophomores in a tough basketball league. With a year of experience, that’s not likely to happen again.