Preview: Chariho boys basketball

Preview: Chariho boys basketball



Head coach: Corey Downey (7th season). Assistant coaches: Kyle Bemis, Tom Longolucco (volunteer).

Last year: The Chargers finished 14-10 overall, 10-8 in Division II. They lost to Moses Brown in the first round of the D-II playoffs.

Returning to varsity:
Seniors:
Dan LaBelle (G, captain), Tommy Longolucco (F, captain). Juniors: Luke Fusaro (G), Ben Harrison (C), Dylan LaBelle (G), Lucas Santos (G). Sophomores: Nathaniel Felicetti (G), John Pellegrino (G).

New to varsity:
Senior:
Dan Lafazia (F). Junior: Ryan Allen (F). Sophomores: Levi King (F), Nate Dauray (F).

Outlook: The Chargers graduated just two starters (leading scorer Dom Ciringione, leading rebounder Gabe Felicetti) and return five of their top eight on the roster. They have experience, scoring ability (Longolucco averaged 12.3 points and Dylan LaBelle 11.0 last season) and play solid defense (Dan LaBelle is “probably the best defender I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Downey said). The one problem is their lack of size. Of their returning varsity players, only Harrison, at 6-3, and Longolucco, 6-2, are better than 6 feet.

“We’re working really hard on defensive rebounding, team rebounding,” Downey said. “The guys understand it’s going to be tough for us at times, and we’re working hard on being physical with box-outs. Limiting teams to one possession is going to be huge factor for us. The other thing is not playing individual basketball.”

Longolucco and the LaBelle brothers will play key roles. Longolucco is the offensive focal point. Known for attacking the basket, the senior has extended his range, Downey said. Dan LaBelle provides defense and leadership — “he communicates positively with everyone,” the coach said. And Dylan LaBelle contributes scoring and more defense — “he’s sneaky with his length,” Downey said.

Harrison and Luke Fusaro will be the other three starters. The athletic Harrison has developed his jump shot, and Fusaro has improved his dribble-drive attack and his passing, according to Downey.

As far as the competitive Division II goes, Downey said, “It’s a solid division. There are no teams where you can say this is an easy game. I’d say if there’s one thing keeping me up at night it’s that. But we’re looking forward to the challenge Division II presents for us this year.”

Coach’s take: “Last year the way it ended left a bad taste in our mouth, having a home playoff game and losing,” Downey said. “Our main goal is to make the playoffs, and make some noise in the playoffs. That’s our big goal. Obviously making the Open tournament would be a nice plus to that but I know we’re ready for the challenge this season’s going to bring.”

— Ken Sorensen


 
 
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