Dylan LaBelle

Chariho's Dylan LaBelle scored 32 in the season-opener against Ponaganset.  Grace White, Special to The Sun

Head coach: Corey Downey (eighth season). Assistant coaches: Adam Champlin, Tom Longolucco (volunteer).

Last year: The Chargers went 16-9 overall, 12-6 in Division II. They won a D-II preliminary-round game and qualified for the state tournament.

Returning to varsity:

Seniors: Ryan Allen (F, captain), Luke Fusaro (G, captain), Ben Harrison (C, captain), Dylan LaBelle (G, captain), Lucas Santos (G, captain). Juniors: Nate Dauray (F), Nathaniel Felicetti (G), Levi King (F), John Pellegrino (G).

New to varsity:

Sophomore: Moziah Mathews (G).

Outlook: The Chargers are blessed with experience and talent — nine players return with varsity experience, including three starters (Fusaro, Harrison, LaBelle).

“I’ve been able to go through things quickly,” Downey said. “They know the offensive sets and what to expect from me. I’m tough on them, but they want to be pushed, they want to get better and they’re a fun team to be around.”

The 6-1 LaBelle will be a focal point. He was a second-team All-Division II pick (first team in D-II South) last season who averaged 17.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and hit 57 3-pointers.

“Dylan is such a steady player,” Downey said. “He can really score the basketball and doesn’t turn it over.”

LaBelle has some help if he he’s having an off night: Harrison and Fusaro each averaged more than 9 points last year. They both should be in double figures this season, and Downey said he’s expecting big things from King.

If there’s one area where Chariho comes up short, it’s in size. Harrison and King top the chart at 6-3, and Allen is 6-2. Rebounding is a concern.

“We have to make sure we’re physical on the defensive boards., Downey said.

Coach’s take: “We look to be a factor in Division II, which is always competitive, and if we can make the Open tournament for the third time in four years it will be quite an accomplishment for the program.”

—Ken Sorensen

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