Sports

Senior-heavy Tigers won’t lack experience this season

Tech's Amari Gaston returns for his senior season. (Item Photo by Owen O'Rourke )

LYNN — Some might say the Lynn Tech boys basketball team surpassed expectations last season.

The Tigers qualified for the Division 3 North state tournament as the No. 9 seed, falling on the wrong side of a coin flip that determined the home/away teams for their first-round clash at No. 8 Newburyport — where their  season ended in a 4-point loss.

Tigers coach Steve Patrick, however, feels the Tigers left a few wins on the board last winter.

“I felt things were good,” Patrick, in his third season guiding Tech, said. “Not great but good. I felt we could’ve done better.
“Last year’s gone,” Patrick said. “I don’t like to dwell too much on it. It was a really good season but I’m really looking forward this season.”

Returning to the fold is senior forward Rob Wallace, last year’s Commonwealth Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Also returning are senior forward Qasim Abellard, senior guard/forward Buba Ceesay and senior guards Alex Poission and Amari Gaston.

“I feel good about our returners,” Patrick said. “They’re going to gel. They’ve been playing together for two, three years. They’re excited and they’re ready to go. I’m also excited about my coaching staff. We brought Eddie Lewis back and we added Toby Britton. Our freshman coach Bill Hussey did a great job developing. I’m excited about the players and the coaching staff.

“We’re coming along,” Patrick continued. “Our schedule’s favorable because we have a week to prepare for the first three games. That’s favorable for this team. Last year, we didn’t watch a video until the state tournament. This year, we watched video before we even played a game. We’re getting a lot of work in the film room. I’m very comfortable with these players and my coaching staff. I trust these guys.”
With a senior-heavy roster, experience will play in Tech’s favor. Patrick’s hoping the team’s experience will factor in a more fluid offense this year. Tech struggled with turnovers last season.

“Things like turnovers should go down because of the experience of the seniors,” Patrick said. “That’s why I’m excited. My first year here I had to teach them how to break the press. Last year it was still a work in progress. This year I think they’re comfortable with the press so our turnovers should decrease.”
One change the Tigers will have to adjust to this season is a move from the CAC Small to the CAC Large. Despite the change, Patrick’s confident his Tigers are the team to beat.

“They moved us up this year so now we’re in the CAC Large with Chelsea, Lowell, Greater Lawrence,” Patrick said. “We have to play them twice. I went to a coaches meeting and my feeling’s we’re the team to beat. Those teams graduated a lot of seniors. I returned six seniors. We’re very confident. We want to win the league, that’s another one of our goals. We don’t want to get in the tournament with 10 wins. We want to win the league.”
Tech opens the season Friday (5:30) at Mystic Valley.

“The kids are excited,” Patrick saif. “They can’t wait to get on the game floor to show their skills. They’ve been working very hard to get in shape. They’re running with no complaints. It’s a different feel this year. They want to prove themselves not only to the conference but also to the city schools.”

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