MAHOPAC, N.Y. – After watching 90 percent of their offense disappear with last spring‘s graduation, this year’s Mahopac High School boys basketball team will rely on a pair of experienced returning players and an assortment of new talent to get the job done.

Head Coach Tom McMahon takes over for Matt Simone, who coached the Indians for four years, and won the team’s first league title in six years last season. McMahon coached the team for two seasons (05-06 and 06-07), and teaches in the Mahopac schools system.

“I’m very excited to be back,” McMahon said. “This is a great group of kids with a bright future. I’ve coached some of them in CYO and youth league, and know them. We’ve had a good preseason, and now it’s time to go.”

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The Indians will miss league MVP and All-Section selection Reahl Allen (17 PPG, 10 RPG), as well as tri-captains and All-League selections Tim Cegielski, Mike Argila, and Drew Riolo, all graduated from last year’s 13-9 (7-1 league) team.

Senior point guard and captain Matt McMahon (11 PPG) is the lone returning starter from last year‘s team, and junior forward and captain Vin Bastone is the only other returning player with significant experience. Senior forward Adam Mitchell and junior guard Luke Syku also return from last year’s team.

“Matt and Vin will be really important,” McMahon said. “They’re our only returners who saw significant minutes. We’ll rely on them to help win games, and help the other guys as well.”

Sophomore Mike Callahan, juniors Chris Clark and John Cosentino, senior Mike Kertelits, sophomore Patrick McMahon, senior Tom O’Brien, and sophs Colum Ranaghan, and Ryan Reilly all join the team this winter.

“Adam [Thomas] and Luke [Syku] didn’t see a lot of time last year, but this year we’ll need them both in pressure situations,” the coach said. “And Cosentino will also be a key. Reilly can put the ball in the basket as well. We’ll probably be eight or nine deep, but we need guys to get points. We will really rely on Matt [McMahon], Vin [Bastone] and Cosentino to score.

“We’ll have to be strong defensively, and focus on rebounding,” the coach added. “Our strength should be shooting, but it all starts and ends for us on the defensive end, and with rebounding. If we can take care of those things, then we can compete every night.”

Mahopac opened their season Wednesday at Spring Valley (too late for this edition), and the Indians play their home opener Tuesday, Dec. 10, taking on White Plains at 6 p.m. The Indians host New Rochelle Thursday (Dec. 12) at 6 p.m., and Mahopac plays at Walter Panas Saturday (Dec. 14) at 5:15 p.m.

“We have a brutal early schedule that will be a tough test for an inexperienced team,” McMahon said. “But I think we could compete for the league. It won’t be easy, and we’ll need a lot of breaks to go the right way. In the playoffs, with the new format the top 16 are in and hopefully we will be in the top 16. Hopefully by then our new players won’t be new anymore. We’ll need to be a different team than we are now. Right now we have a lot of question marks. But over the next couple of months, I think we can become something solid.”