January 1, 2014 at 6:55 AM
LIVINGSTON, NJ – There is no doubt that the Lancer basketball team has high aspirations for the 2013-2014 season.
After going 9-12 and losing in the first round of the state tournament to Paterson Eastside last year, the team is fired up and ready to rebound after a disappointing season.
Every year, head coach Dave Cohen prepares the team to succeed.
Starting point guard Eli Friedman said, “We work really hard in practice and our coaches do an awesome job scouting and putting the best game plan together to win night in and night out.”
This year, star player Khalil Garnes leads a new and re-energized lineup that lost seven seniors from last year’s squad. Even without the leadership skills of Robbie Lefkowitz, who graduated last year, the team still plans on competing at a high level.
Sean Duffy, the starting power forward, said, “Everyone on the team plays a major role which is good because we know that everyone can contribute. I feel like we have a lot of leadership, which could lead to a lot of wins.”
Without the services of seven seniors, the team will look to rely on Garnes’ talents, along with Friedman’s play making ability, and the experience of Sean Duffy, Luis Padilla and Adam Bellizone. The team will have the best chance to win by out-hustling their opponents, as the Lancers have predominantly been an average team in the past.
“Hopefully we can shock some teams in Essex County this year,” Friedman said.
In previous seasons, the trend has been that the team qualifies for the state tournament, but gets knocked out in the early rounds. This year’s key is to catch teams off guard by outworking the opponent.
With many new faces on the court and old ones on the sideline, the goals for this season remain the same—the team will strive to make some noise in the state tournament by achieving a great winning record, so that they will be awarded a favorable seed in the tournament.
The Lancers are already on the right track to accomplishing their goal as they upset West Orange High School, 47-41, on opening night. They followed up with a 49-39 victory over Pequannock in the Holiday Tournament. However they came up short in the finals of the Holiday Tournament against Indian Hills, losing 38-28.
Nonetheless, a 2-1 start to the season is encouraging, as the Lancers look to defeat East Orange High School on Jan. 3.