SHRUB OAK, N.Y.— Lakeland boys basketball coach Steve Fallo is excited about his team’s chances for success going into this season and a big reason for that is the experience that it will bring to the court this winter.
Bringing that experience to the floor are returnees, senior captains Tim Fallo (6-foot-2 guard), Patrick Morelli (5-11 forward/guard) and Griffin Shiland (5-10 guard), along with David Kale (6-3 senior guard/forward), John Mule’ (5-9 junior guard), Kyle Harrison (6-3 senior center/forward) and Matt Tuite (6-2 senior center/forward).
The talent and confidence that comes from years of experience playing basketball together should lead to a solid season on the hardwood.
“This group of young men have been playing together for a long time,” Steve Fallo said. “I expect them to be dedicated and to work hard every day to make each other and their teammates better. We want to be playing our best basketball in February.”
The experience especially shines through when it comes to the Hornets’ captains, Tim Fallo, Morelli and Shiland, and because of that the Lakeland coach is expecting plenty of leadership from this trio.
“Tim, Pat and Griffin have played together for a long time and have a terrific work ethic,” Steve Fallo said. “They will need to set the example of how to work hard, play team ball and communicate to all players during practices and especially games.”
Lakeland’s top newcomers who should complement the returnees well are two juniors in 5-10 guard Chris Foci and 6-1 forward/guard Mike Capozzi.
They will be joining a Hornet squad that was the No. 19 seed and lost at No. 14 Brewster 54-49 in the outbracket round of the Section 1 Class A tournament and finished 8-12 a year ago.
With the athleticism this group of Hornets has, one can expect them to improve on that mark and have a winning season this campaign.
“This team is athletic. They have the speed and quickness to be able to run in transition and can play defense,” said Steve Fallo, when asked about his team’s strengths. “We have seven returning players which will help with good team chemistry.”
Fallo, who is entering his second year of being the head coach for the Lakeland boys basketball team after coaching the girls basketball team for decades, expects his squad to bring a lunch-pail effort each and every game.
“Our goal is to compete every night we play,” Fallo said. “We need to work hard and play team ball every game to give ourselves a chance to win.”
Lakeland will look for its first win of the season when it opens by hosting the Eighth Annual Carolyn Conroy Memorial Basketball Tournament.
Horace Greeley will start the boys side of the tournament when it plays Bronxville at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, then Lakeland will host Putnam Valley in the other opening-round contest at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2.
The consolation and championship games of the tournament will be Saturday, Dec. 3, at 3:15 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The Hornet coach said his team’s goal to start the season is to win its tournament.
“To do that, we have to play terrific defense and play with passion for 32 minutes each game,” Steve Fallo said.