BAYONNE, NJ -- The Bayonne boys basketball team opens its season Friday night at North Bergen.

The Bees are coming off a season in which they won just two games, including a 62-60 victory over Ferris in the final game of the season. But third-year coach Steve Russell says that nobody will be dwelling on past results as a clean slate presents itself this winter.

"The culture of the program has changed, and we have a group of hard-working
young men looking to get better every day," Russell said.

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The nucleus of the team, in terms of experience, is made up of senior guards Jose Burgos and Malachi Smith, senior swingman Ivan Alas and senior forward Kevin Butler. Burgos has shown some deep range on his jump shot and could be the Bees' top 3-point threat.

With no player on the roster standing taller than 6-foot-3, Bayonne will have to compensate with fundamental box-outs on rebounds and some creativity in the lane and along the baseline. Juniors Koi Kirk, Tim Worrell and Joevon Stephens, and senior Travis Ragland will play up front.

Senior guard Ray Ortiz, junior swingman Rami Amin, sophomore guard Jared Williams and freshman guard David Dix are other players vying for spots in the rotation.

Although the team's limited height will be something the Bees have to contend with, Russell is still enthused about where the program is now headed.

"(One of our strengths is) our ability to work hard to and play unselfish," Russell said. "I feel with our ability to play hard and compete, we can turn it around this season and surprise some teams."

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