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Scarsdale Boys’ Basketball’s Thrilling Season

BallTeamHuddleSHS Boys’ Varsity Basketball has had an energizing start to their season under first-year coach Joe Amelio.

Over the summer, Coach Joe Amelio of St. Raymonds High School For Boys in the Bronx was hired has the new head coach and immediately started holding open gyms and weight lifting sessions for the players. When the season started, Coach Amelio was not the only new member of the team; in fact, only six out of the 13 members were returning players.

While the team was mostly new, the boys were optimistic as they entered the regular season. “At theBallJJayshenSaigalCaptain Jayshen Saigal '20 driving up the court. start of the season, we all thought we would be capable of going really far… When we first met the coach, we got more and more confident because we all really like him and had good workouts with him before the season. As for the new players, we've played with these guys a lot growing up and had confidence in them from what we had seen,” said Captain and shooting guard Cole Kattan ‘19.

The players and coaches wanted to bring the newly minted team together quickly to become a cohesive unit; to accomplish this, they practice for two hours six days a week, dissect game film twice a week and work out in groups of three once a week. They also spend plenty of time bonding outside of practice. “The team is really close-knit this year, players and coaches. We go out for lunch and dinner as a team multiple times a week,” said center Gus Thompson ‘19.

This chemistry immediately showed itself on the court when the team won their first eight games in a row. After losing the ninth game to Marshall Academy by eight points, they recovered and won the next two games. They then lost to basketball powerhouse Mt. Vernon on January 9th, making their record 10-2. They are now ranked 5th in the Section behind Briarcliff, Rye, Ardsley, and Mt. Vernon, and they’re a contender for the Section 1 championship.

BallDennisAlterDennis Alter '20 taking a jumpshot While the team’s cohesion plays a large role in their success, Coach Amelio is also a primary reason for the team’s impressive record. “Our new coach brings a lot of intensity day in and day out, but most importantly, he has a brilliant understanding of the game,” said Thompson. In the practices leading up to their games, the team specifically prepares for their upcoming opponent, which helps the Raiders anticipate the other team’s style of play. Assistant coaches Jordan Griffith, Jason Villalobos and David Zenon also help the boys dissect film from the games and develop as players.

As close as they are, teammates also attribute their success to each other. “Joey [Lane ‘19] and Mike [Callahan ‘20] are vocal leaders in practice, always pushing everyone to get after it” noted Thompson. The boys’ motivation and deep respect for one another carries them through their many hours of grueling training.

The Raiders are happy with the way their season has progressed, but they are only about midway through it and there is still a lot they would like to accomplish together. “My goal is the same as the team’s goal: we want to win the Section. We are all working towards the common goal and want to do it in any way possible,” said Kattan. The Raiders will continue to intensify their training so that they remain a contender for the championship title and hopefully continue upward progress in the rankings.  Photos by Jon Thaler, see more here:

BallEvanHuoEvan Huo '19 taking a shot and Connor McCarthy '19 looking for the rebound

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