BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ -- When the Gov. Livingston boys basketball team opens its season Thursday night at Morris Hills High School, it will be a Highlander team with just two starters carrying any significant varsity experience.
Gov. Livingston head coach Chris Loeffler, beginning his fifth season at the helm, will count on a pair of senior guards to guide the rest of a mostly untested crew through the early part of the campaign until, he hopes, 6-4 senior forward Ferdinando Melo will be ready to return from an injury sometime in January.
Sean McCulloch, a 5’11 senior, and Vinny Mellusi, a 5’8 senior, give the Highlanders a backcourt tandem with some varsity experience coming off a season that saw GL post a 16-9 record.
"We will start the season with only two players who have played meaningful varsity minutes," Loeffler said, "and even those two players only averaged about eight minutes a game each."
Several of the players who will be new to the rotation, though, are seniors, kids who've played a lot of basketball, but just not at the varsity level until now. Senior 5'9 guard Reid Kiernan, senior 6'4 forward Connor Bigelow, senior 6'4 forward Blaine Gyory, and Peyton Hopek are all on hand to make the most of their long-awaited chance to accrue meaningful varsity minutes.
Loeffler is hopeful that junior guards Matt Quinn and Evan Accardi, sophomore 6'4 forward Nick Gold and sophomore Brian McGrath 6'3 may be able to have an impact this season.
"We have an inexperienced group of hard-working seniors that combine with a talented group of junior and seniors," Loeffler said. "We should improve as the season goes on and as we play more basketball together.
"The strength of the team is the depth," Loeffler said. "We feel we have some talent off the bench which will help as the season progresses."
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