PEABODY — Last season the Bishop Fenwick boys basketball team struggled for much of the year. In a tough Central Catholic League the Crusaders were only able to win three games, but they are ready to turn the page this season with an experienced group.
“It is certainly time to get going this year,” Fenwick coach Kevin Moran said. “We were not as successful as we would have liked to be last season and that has been something we want to improve on. We had around 60 kids at tryouts, which is really impressive for us so that was a good start.”
Helping lead the Crusaders this year is a senior class made up of Nik Pignone, JaySean Stuart and Nate Andrews.
“Nik is a senior captain and a three year varsity player,” Moran said. “He was a CCL all star last year and averaged 16 points a game. We are excited to have JaySean back. Midway through the season last year he got hurt, so we are excited for him to play a bigger role healthy.
“With these three returning starters it’s an experienced group so we are really optimistic heading into the season,” Moran added.
Helping round out the group are some younger players including sophomore center Christian Loescher and Alex Gonzalez.
“Those two sophomores have done a really good job and it helps round out our team,” Moran said. “We also have a freshman Jason Romans who is another young guy who may be able to get some varsity time.”
With some new and old faces, Moran is confident that this Crusaders team will help turn the page to a new chapter for the program.
“We have had a great preseason,” Moran said. “We have the senior leadership and some young players as well. This is a really good group and a good mix. These kids, they have got a real sour taste in their mouths from last year and the lack of success has been a motivator. They’ve done a nice job to try to change that and have been working really hard.”
The first step for Fenwick will be to try and compete each night in a challenging CCL.
“Clearly our focus will be on competing in this league,” Moran said. “We know our league is very impressive and tough. It starts with St. Mary’s for us, who has been a noted powerhouse in the CCL. Then you have Cardinal Spellman and Cathedral to worry about. Every other team is tough as well.
“From a league perspective we have to see if we can compete with those teams,” Moran added. “Our expectation is to be able compete every night. Like any coach I have the goal to win the league, but we really have our work cut out for us and we will have to work really hard.”
One area Fenwick will look to improve on early is a defensive game that was disappointing at times last season.
“Defensively we have to do a better job,” Moran said. “With the size we have and the athletes on our team we have the athletic ability to play well on the defensive side and work hard. Offensively with JaySean and Nik we have a good set up. They are good shooters and the offense will likely go through those guys as seniors.
“Overall we just want to play our style of basketball and improve every night,” Moran added. “It’s going to be an uphill battle but I’m extremely excited, we have a good mix this year.”