Support cast the key for Maginn
Bunduka Kargbo. James Torres. Taran Buie. You know their names and what they’ve done for Bishop Maginn basketball over the last few years.
Now, here’s the hard part. Name three other players who will suit up a week from tonight when the defending Big 10, Section II and state Class AA champions make their season debut at Catholic Central.
“On Dec. 5, we’ll have 10 guys who have never played a varsity game for Bishop Maginn High School before,” said Golden Griffins coach Rich Hurley. “We’re trying to get it together. We’re trying to piece it together.”
The end product could be of championship caliber.
“Football put us a week behind, and we’ve got all of the new guys. We’re light years behind where we were last year, but we’re not crying wolf,” said Hurley. “We’ve got four guys from our undefeated JV group and some other new faces, and those guys are wet behind the ears, but they’re starting to learn what we expect, as far as digging in defensively, getting our press going and getting our transition game going.”
Bishop Maginn had all phases of the game working last season when it strung together 22 straight wins, including victories against Christian Brothers Academy in the Section II title game, Henninger in the regionals and Mount Vernon and Niagara Falls in the state public school final four.
Buie was named the state tournament most valuable player, and also landed a spot on the Federation all-tourney team after a semifinal loss to Abraham Lincoln.
“We don’t talk about last year’s team,” Hurley said. “Last year is over. We’re not going to forget it, and we can draw some things from it, but this team has to move forward, and create its own identity.”
Shimeek Johnson, Terron Victoria, Khaliq Gross and Antonio Davis are the significant losses from Bishop Maginn’s 26-2 team that went on its streak following a setback against Jamesville-DeWitt, the state Class A champ. Johnson, who is red-shirting at Fairfield, was tabbed both the Big 10 and Section II tournament MVP.
“We have to replace those four seniors, and that group was special,” said Hurley, who, with Johnson, Victoria and Davis in the fold, took Bishop Maginn to the state championship game the season before last. “That was an experienced group and a motivated group.”
Kargbo, Torres and Buie will serve as the team leaders this season, while Bishop Maginn also has T.J. Jefferson, Savion Melton and Billy Blake returning. Buie, a
6-foot-2 guard who is being recruited by numerous Division I colleges, is the only junior among the group.
“We have Buie, Torres and Kargbo, and they’ve been through the wars. They’ve been through the highest highs and the lowest lows,” Hurley said. “Our other guys will be learning from those guys.”
The veterans will be surrounded by a tall, athletic cast that includes 6-foot-7 Michigan transfer Nico Rios.
“Bishop Maginn has to be the team to beat. They’re not only one of the best in the section, but in the state,” said Amsterdam coach Joe Agresta. “After that, the rest of us are saying, ‘We can beat you and you and you.’ Put us with everyone else. We’ll all be fighting for wins.”
Among Bishop Maginn’s accomplishments last season was the school’s first Big 10 championship. CBA and Schenectady had combined to win the previous eight league titles, with the Brothers taking the top spot in 2007, 2006 and 2004, before the Golden Griffins’ 16-0 run to the title.
“My goal is to make sure we improve every game, and end the year being the best we can be. We’ll see if I can earn my money this year,” said CBA coach Dave Doemel, who graduated standouts DeAndre Kennedy-Ebron and Malcolm Austin. “We’ve got young kids, but talented kids, who have to learn and get experience. Hopefully, we can hold the fort for a little bit and then do some real good things.”
CBA’s veteran cast includes 6-8 senior Andrew Stire and an underclassmen guard tandem with great potential in junior Kameron Ritter and sophomore Galal Cancer. Cancer was a midseason call-up as a freshman, and helped the Brothers reach their sixth straight sectional final.
Schenectady coach Mark Sausville is anticipating a turnaround after his Patriots won nine games last season and five before that. His first eight teams went 161-27, claimed five league crowns and reached a pair of sectional finals, winning in 2001 en route to the state Class A championship.
“We’ve got a lot of new faces, but I like what I see. I think we’re going to be OK,” said Sausville, who returns only three players in sparkplus guard Derrick Millinghaus, 6-5 Reece Jackson and 6-6 Mark Blair. “They’re unselfish, and they’re working hard.”
Sausville will be working with three brothers for the first time, with sophomore Devonte and freshman Shadell Millinghaus joining this year’s varsity.
“Shadell could be very special,” Sausville said. “We don’t put freshman on the roster unless we believe there’s something there.”
Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons lost three starters and its three leading reserves from last year’s Section II Class A championship team, so coach Garry Horne will be relying heavily on senior guard Brian Hamor and 6-5 senior forward Nick Sarchioto.
“We’ll be looking for those two to lead us,” Horne said. “Nick is an outstanding rebounder with increased range, so he’ll score more for us, and Brian is just an exceptional all-around player. He played all over the country in the offseason, and he played well. Division I schools are looking at him.”
Hamor was selected the Class A most valuable player after the Knights’ stunning 65-48 rout of Albany Academy. He led the team in scoring for the third straight season, with a 17.6 average, and needs six points to reach 1,000. Hamor and Sarchioto will be coupled with lettermen Andrew Pallas and Patrick Dunn, and a host a varsity newcomers.
“We’ve got some young, bright kids who are working real hard and will bring 100 percent to the floor. I’m going to do some new things this year, and I hope they progress quickly because we do not plan to lay down for anyone,” said Horne. “We’re going to come to play.”
Amsterdam, led by seniors Ben Miseikis and Phil Miskinis, could end up playing its best ball later in the season. Miseikis was one of five football players who joined the team late.
“You can’t expect them to hit the switch right away,” said Agresta. “Because we have athletes who played football, we’re not on all cylinders yet, but we’ll get there. We want to be playing our best ball in February, not December.”
Miseikis averaged 15 points per game as a junior, and knocked down 46 threes. He generated 29 points in a 65-54 sectional win over Bethlehem, helping the Rams avenge a season-opening 77-43 loss to the Eagles.
Catholic Central will be playing without two of the league’s best in Devin Grimes and Jordan Gettings, who combined for nearly 900 points as seniors. The Crusaders bring back five 12th-graders from last season’s third place Big 10 team, including starters Gerard Jacques and Denzel Pasqual.
“We’re a little small and inexperienced, but as the year goes on I think we’ll get stronger and better,” said CCHS coach Blain Goverski. “I’m hoping to get a lot out of my seniors and my juniors.”
Steve Sgambelluri is the league’s only new varsity coach, at LaSalle, and will be looking to revive a team that’s had only two winning season since its Section II Class A title run in 2003.
Coach: Jon McClement.
Last year’s record: 3-13 Big 10, 4-17 overall.
Top returning players: Senior Corey Vance, senior William Chapple, senior Khaul Fredericks, senior Marquan Nelson.
Coach: Joe Agresta.
Last year’s record: 4-12 Big 10, 7-15 overall.
Top returning players: Senior Ben Miseikis, senior Phil Miskinis, senior Frank Peluso, senior Frank Filiberto, senior Oscar Juarez.
Coach: Rich Hurley.
Last year’s record: 16-0 Big 10, 26-2 overall.
Top returning players: Junior Taran Buie, senior Bunduka Kargbo, senior James Torres, senior T.J. Jefferson.
Coach: Blain Goverski.
Last year’s record: 11-5 Big 10, 16-6 overall.
Top returning players: Senior Gerard Jacques, senior Denzel Pasqual, senior Andrew Clement, senior Joe Dooley.
Coach: Dave Doemel.
Last year’s record: 14-2 Big 10, 21-3 overall.
Top returning players: Senior Andrew Stire, senior Billy Creighton, junior Kameron Ritter, sophomore Galal Cancer.
Coach: Steve Sgambelluri.
Last year’s record: 3-13, 6-14
Top returning players: Senior Mason Horne, senior Roger West, senior William Reutemann.
NOTRE DAME-BISHOP GIBBONS
Coach: Garry Horne.
Last year’s record: 11-5 Big 10, 17-8 overall.
Top returning players: Senior Brian Hamor, senior Nick Sarchioto.
Coach: Mark Sausville.
Last year’s record: 6-10 Big 10, 9-12 overall.
Top returning players: Senior Mark Blair, junior Reece Jackson, junior Derrick Millinghaus.
Coach: Jeff Sitterly.
Last year’s record: 4-12 Big 10, 6-15 overall.
Top returning players: Senior Zach Dolan, senior Dan McLaren.