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Junior Ty Rooney and the North Haven boys’ basketball team are trying to build a foundation for future success in their first season with Head Coach Danny Oglesby. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Junior Chris Hager will get a taste of the playoffs when North Haven competes in the SCC Division II Tournament this week. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Head Coach Danny Oglesby inherited a roster filled with underclassmen in his first year at the helm of the North Haven boys’ basketball team. While his club has been unable to win a game, Oglesby is pleased with how far North Haven has come this season and feels excited about the future of the program.
North Haven played road games against Amity and Hand last week. North Haven took a 58-43 defeat versus Amity on March 9 and then lost to Hand by a 93-35 score on March 12. The team has a record of 0-11 with one game left in the regular season.
North Haven was only down by three at the end of the first quarter of its matchup with Amity. However, the Spartans outscored North Haven 19-10 in the second quarter to take a 32-20 lead into halftime and went on to get a 15-point victory.
“I thought it was a pretty good game for us. All season, we have been having trouble scoring. We put forward a good effort for the most part on the defensive end,” Coach Oglesby said. “[Amity] had some bigger and older guys. It was their Senior Night. They were motivated. Ultimately, they just came out with the win.”
Junior Ty Rooney scored 14 points for North Haven in the loss, hitting a pair of 3-pointers. Freshman Matt Bosticco scored six points, freshman Max Cargan scored four points, while junior Chris Hager and freshman Adam Pandolfi had three points apiece.
Despite the defeat, Coach Oglesby was impressed with Rooney’s 14-point effort in the game. Oglesby said that Rooney has consistently improved during the season.
“When he is making shots, he has been really good. I thought he has made a lot of improvement over the course of the year,” said Oglesby of Rooney. “His effort and his attitude has been consistent all year. He has been one of our better shooters and shot makers this year. We’re looking forward to him continuing getting better.”
In the contest against Hand, North Haven fell behind 21-8 after the first quarter and was down 46-20 at halftime. The Tigers went on to outscore North Haven 48-13 in the second half to win the game by the final score of 93-35.
“We didn’t play well at all. I don’t think we came to that game ready,” Oglesby said. “We all learned valuable lessons. We had a great practice afterwards. I think we’ll be good coming down the stretch of the season.”
Pandolfi scored 10 points for North Haven in the game. Rooney had six points, while senior captain JJ Mazzaro and junior Aedan Bosticco scored five points apiece.
While this is only Pandolfi’s first season competing at the high school level, Coach Oglesby said that he’s quickly become a key member of the team and will continue to be one for years to come.
“Adam was consistent throughout the game in attacking and being aggressive on defense. He has really shown what he is made of throughout the season,” said Oglesby. “He has been a bright spot for us. I’m looking forward to him getting better and better.”
When Oglesby took over the head coaching role, he established a goal of having his team play a speedy style on the court. Oglesby wants North Haven to play at an up-tempo pace and force their opponents into making mistakes. Even though the wins aren’t there, Oglesby said that North Haven has seen some success when the team has adhered to that mantra.
“In the first five or six games, we tried to strategize against teams based on personnel. But we found that once we got down big, we had a hard time coming back,” Oglesby said. “But when we played our best, it has been when we are pressing, trying to get traps. We have a lot of work to do, but I think the guys have an understanding. You’re building on what you want to do.”
Mazzaro is the lone senior on North Haven’s roster. Next season, Coach Oglesby hopes his core of young athletes will benefit from their experience this year and be ready to hit the ground running in 2022.
“It gives us an opportunity to really build something. It’s not like we’re going to establish something this year and then start all over again,” said Oglesby. “All of our guys are on the same page with what we’re trying to do. Almost all of them are coming back. We’re working hard on our offseason program and then we can come back with a running start.”
North Haven played Cheshire in its regular-season finale on March 15 (after press time), after which the team will participate in the SCC Division II Tournament beginning on Thursday, March 18. While it’s been a difficult season record wise, Coach Oglesby said that competing in the playoffs will give North Haven’s athletes a taste of what it takes to succeed at the highest level.
“Not every kid gets to play in the postseason. Having that opportunity is always a great experience. I want them to play as hard as they can,” Oglesby said. “I know we’ll be prepared. I’m looking forward to that experience with them.”