Despite the loss of league Most Valuable Player Justice Brantley to graduation, Catskill remains a strong contender for the Patroon Conference boys basketball championship this season.
First-team Patroon All-Star DeVon Haye returns and will be joined in the Cats’ lineup by a pair of former Hudson High student-athletes that moved into the Catskill School District in the offseason, Lavon Fernandez and Leviticus Johnson.
Fernandez averaged 27.4 points per game as a junior, scoring 30 points or better eight times as a junior and twice topping 40. Johnson scored 10 point per game a year ago and cracked Hudson’s starting lineup as a sophomore.
Kellen Gibbs, Bervonis Donely and Melik Christian also return for coach Doug Lampman, who has guided the Cats to seven Patroon titles in the past nine years.
While Hudson will no doubt miss the offensive production of both Fernandez and Johnson, coach Shawn Briscoe still has plenty of talent on hand to work with, including first-team All-Conference selection Dayquan Griffin, who averaged 21.7 points per game a year ago and junior guard Noah Hedgepeth.
Patroon co-champion Maple Hill lost first-tem All-Conference forward Nate Mannion to graduation, but coach Scott Hanrahan welcomes back standout guard Rian Jewett.
Chatham, the surprise team in the league last year, lost Kaleb Taylor, Keon Armstrong and Jon Elbert, but Patroon Coach of the Year John Thorsen has junior guard Jayshawn Williams back in the lineup. Williams averaged 18.7 points per game and was named a first-team Patroon All-Star as a sophomore.
Other All-Conference players returning this year include Damien Fiducia of Greenville and Louis Laregina of Cairo-Durham, who were both second-team selections.
In the Central Hudson Valley League, Germantown will once again be at or near the top of the league standings, thanks to the return of standouts Bryan Bathrick and Robbie Eaton.
Ichabod Crane finished below .500 in the stacked Colonial Council a year ago, but looks to improve this year and has already won its second straight Rensselaer Tip-Off Tournament title heading into league play.
The 2019-20 area boys basketball preview:PATROONCATSKILL
Coach: Doug Lampman
Last year: 18-4 (Patroon co-champs)
Returnees: DeVon Haye (6-6, senior), Bervonis Donely (6-4, senior), Melik Christian (5-9, senior), Logan Scott (6-5, junior), Kellen Gibbs (5-11, sophomore), Cameron Lyles (5-10, junior).
Newcomers: Ronnelle Lowe-Scott (5-11, senior), Lavon Fernandez (6-4, senior), Leviticus Johnson (6-2, junior), Emmanuel McEachern (5-10, senior), Jonathan Kent (5-8, junior).
Coach’s comments: We lost a huge piece with 3-year starter Justice Brantley leaving. He has joined his teammate Justin Worth (and Kimedrick Murphy of Hudson) in representing Utica College. I was able to see them scrimmage SUNY Cobleskill and they all looked ready for the challenge of the upcoming season.
My expectations are that they come to practice every day to work to be the very best basketball player they can be. We also expect them to represent themselves off the court as leaders and high quality student/ athletes. We have a tough non league schedule. We open with Mekeel Christian Prep school in the Kirvin Cup and then Niskayuna or Mohonasen in the next game. We have a non-league vs. Cohoes and one against an unnamed opponent in the North South Classic at the Washington Avenue Armory.
I have a group who has to get to know each other. With some returning players, and some new student/athletes, we have to continue to develop chemistry. How well we gel as a unit will go a long way toward our final product. Right now we are focused, but we definitely have to continue to evolve if we are to compete with the top programs. Time will tell.HUDSON
Coach: Shawn Briscoe
Last year: 13-8
Returnees: Dayquan Griffin (Senior), Noah Hedgepeth (Junior), Caleb Romano (Sophomore).
Newcomers: Isaiah Maines (Sophomore), Neville Anderson (Junior), Brandon Alexander (Sophomore), Victor Gorman (Junior), Kasey Moore (Junior), Tavaun Gordon (Senior), Charles Daly (Junior), Nate Johnson (Junior), George DeJesus (Junior)
Coach’s comments: With only a few returners we have a young squad this year, but a very hungry and scrappy team. Team chemistry seems to be something that is a strong point for us as the guys early on look to be playing well together. We are going to try and pride ourselves on defense to help generate some offense that we’ve lost.
I think this team has the potential to be much better than we were last year and we are going to make sure we continue to compete at the top of the conference and hopefully the section as well. I am looking for our few returning players to help lead the younger players to understanding the level of play that we will need to have to be successful. We still have a first-team All-Conference player in Dayquan Griffin in the post and Noah Hedgepeth, who we are looking to become a more efficient scorer and shooter.
Romano is a headsy player and does a little bit of everything and is used to the big stage as he was the starting QB for our football team this year so he knows how to compete. With our JV guys coming up to us we feel that we are going to be competitive. Maines, Gorman and Moore can shoot the ball well and had very nice seasons last year so we are looking to them to help us this year as well as the addition of Neville Anderson who can run the point as well as shoot the ball. I think we have some pieces that work well together and should lead to a fun and exciting season.CHATHAM
Coach: John Thorsen
Last year: 16-6
Returnees: Zach Gregg (5-10, senior), Caleb Jeralds (6-1, senior), Quinten Kastner (5-10, senior), Ed Tice (6-0, senior), Thomas Van Tassel (5-11, senior), Jayshawn Williams (6-2, junior), Ryan Thorsen (5-11, senior ... ACL injury).
Newcomers: Casey Sitzer (6-1, senior), Spencer Ford (5-9, junior), Nick Jennings (5-9, junior), Mateo Talbot (5-9, junior), Tobias Jeralds (5-10, sophomore), Matthew Thorsen (6-1, freshman), Jacob Baccaro (6-2, freshman).
Coach’s comments: This season should be interesting in the Patroon Conference. I believe Catskill is clearly the team to beat coming in. Their program is heading in the right direction and with a couple key transfers they will be very difficult to handle in the Patroon. We have a great group of kids that I have been working with since the boys were in third and fourth grade.
Jayshawn Williams returns from an outstanding sophomore season and we certainly expect good things from him this year. We know he will be the focus of many of the defenses we face so we hope that Quinten Kastner, Thomas VanTassel and Zach Gregg will step up into larger offensive roles this season. I also have high hopes for several other first year varsity players. Defensively, we took a hit over the summer when Ryan Thorsen injured his knee but I believe we have the potential to have another strong defensive season. To me this will be the key to our season. If our players buy into our system and we can sustain our intensity defensively I believe we will have another very competitive season this year.COXSACKIE-ATHENS
Coach: Dennis Kiefer
Last year: 12-9
Returnees: Aiden Boehm (6-3, senior), Kane Schrader 96-1, senior), Killian Schrader (6-1, senior), Timmy Simmons (5-11, senior), Josh Kiefer (6-0, junior).
Newcomers: Andon Roe (6-1, junior), Isaiah Richardson (5-11, junior), Casey Carroll (5-10, sophomore), Dillon Hynes (6-0, sophomore).
Coach’s comments: We have a good core of returning players with starting experience and plenty of Varsity minutes under them. I expect the team to work hard and compete for 32 minutes every night, and hopefully that will keep us in most games. We’ll have to stay healthy all year in order to spread the minutes around.GREENVILLE
Coach: Dane Carpenter
Last year: 9-12
Returnees: James Mitchell (5-8, junior), Damien Fiducia (6-0, junior), Joe Nicosia (6-1, senior), Ben Lewis (6-1, junior), Tim Biernacki (6-0, senior).
Newcomers: Jackson Makely (6-2, junior), Miles Weiss (6-0, junior), JJ O’Connor (5-10, junior), Coby Benning (5-10, junior), Trey Smith (6-1, sophomore).
Coach’s comments: Our team goal is to improve daily and contend in the Patroon for the league championship.TACONIC HILLS
Coach: Tom Super
Last year: N/A
Returnees: Ryan Nowak (senior), Zach Colwell (senior), Warren Bradway (senior), Mason Nack (senior), Brian Teator (senior), Kyle Delamater (junior), Joel Preusser (junior).
Newcomers: Dylan Myers (junior), Aspen Krzeminski (junior), Noah Winters (junior), Nole Atwood (junior), Bryce Atwood (sophomore).
Coach’s comments: This years team will play hard, help each other, and try to improve every time we get on the court. Although we may lack some size, our quickness will help. Expectations for this year is to compete at the best of our ability and strive to be the best we can be. I’m sure there will be some bumps in the road during the season; however, with a lot of senior leadership, that should not be an issue.
As a program, we are looking to improve and get back to sectionals. There is a strong core coming up over the next several years. The future is looking bright and this current team has to set the foundation. I expect many things out of Senior point guard Ryan Nowak. Ryan will be the catalyst on both sides of the floor. Teammate Zach Colwell will also be expected to play heavy minutes and will probably lead the team in rebounds. Also returning with some varsity minutes is Kyle Delamater, Warren Bradway, and Joel Preusser. Any one of these three could be the leading scorer on a given night. Regardless of wins and losses, this is truly going to be a team effort.MAPLE HILL
Coach: Scott Hanrahan
Last year: 19-3 (Patroon co-champs)
Returnees: Rian Jewett (5-11, senior), Blake Decker (6-5, junior), Logan McGarvey (6-3, junior), Jack Utter (5-11, junior), Dominic Hirschoff (6-1, junior).
Newcomers: Owen Hurysz (5-11, junior), Justin Sober (6-2, junior), Tyler Shaw (5-8, junior), Davin Sherwood (6-6, junior), Ben Marra (5-10, sophomore), Landon Flach (5-10, sophomore).
Coach’s comments: We will look heavily to Rian Jewett and Blake Decker to lead the way. Rian, our only senior, is a lightning quick guard and can really shoot. Decker has grown to 6-5, 260 pounds and will be able to play inside and out. The other six are all new. We are young and learning but these guys have played a lot of basketball together over the years and they have good chemistry. The good news for us is that there are a lot of spots open for guys to have the opportunity to fill so practice gets to be competitive every day.COLONIALICHABOD CRANE
Coach: Will Ferguson
Last year: 6-14
Returnees: Edward Ogden (6-1, senior), Zach Kennedy (6-2, senior), Austin Walsh (6-3, senior), Mike Vecellio (5-10, senior), Cameron Holzhauer (6-3, senior), Joseph Dolan (6-1, junior), Asah Mulica (5-11, sophomore), Brett Richards (6-4, sophomore).
Newcomers: Justice Suafoa (5-11, junior), Avery Clickman (5-11, sophomore), Tim Wheeler (6-4, freshman), Alex Schmidt (5-10, freshman), Dylan Colwell (6-1, freshman).
Coach’s comments: Very young this year — 3 freshmen, 3 sophomores, 2 juniors, 5 seniors. Lost some key younger players from last year. We have good but young and inexperienced big men. Personnel playing in each game will depend entirely on match ups against the other team.
Freshmen and sophomores are expected to play. We are athletic with above average speed. Hope to improve on last year’s record but Colonial Conference is very tough. We will need to gel early and gain some game experience in the first half of the year. Expect to see improved play in the second half of the season.CHVLGERMANTOWN
Coach: Derrick Conte
Last year: 16-6
Returnees: Bryan Bathrick (6-4, senior), Robert Eaton (5-10, junior), Jace Anderson (6-3, senior), Dylan Mayr (5-10, senior), Jamie Decker (6-0, senior), Rece Rifenburg (6-0, junior).
Newcomers: Keshawn McKinney (6-0, senior), Josh Sanzo (5-9, junior), Ryan Hoffman (5-9, junior), Tyler Hohensheldt (5-9, junior), Cameron Quinn (5-10, junior).
Coach’s comments: We have a great blend of returning players and first year varsity players. Right now, we are doing our best to be prepared for our first game.