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ORR Boys' Basketball Adapts With Personnel Shift

High School Sports Update

By Nick Friar

The longest high school season of the year is finally here, which means there's regular season basketball and hockey until the final days of February, maybe even followed by a postseason run.

But for some, there's still a feeling out process. Take Old Rochester boys' basketball for example. They finished 17-5 last year after losing to Apponequet in the Quarter Finals of the Division 3 South Sectional Tournament, one year after winning the Division 3 State Tournament.

Co-captain Jason Gamache is still left over from that State Champion team, but it's impossible to deny that this team has a different look from Old Rochester teams of recent memory. In fact, there are only two returning starters from last year's team alone, Bennett Fox in addition to Gamache. So they'll be expected to carry the load, particularly to start the year.

"A lot's going to go through them, but they're also going to get a ton of attention," Old Rochester coach Steve Carvalho said of his captains. "Jason should be a top player in the league and Bennett's doing a lot of good things, too."

Carvalho also expects to rely on Cole McIntyre, who split time between JV and varsity last year. But he still has to make up for the offensive hole Matt Valles left when he graduated in the spring.

"Right now we are, I don't want to say unproven, but we're certainly inexperienced in the post," Carvalho said. "I don't have experienced kids who've played at the varsity level. I think they might get there though."

That being said, that'll force the Bulldogs to rely on their transition game - which has been their identity in years past - but by choice, not necessity. Still, it's a formula Carvalho is comfortable with.

"We're always defensive-minded," Carvalho said. "I like tempo, I like to get up and down the court, pressure, trap and that kind of thing. But it's probably going to be even more of that. We're going to play baseline to baseline, get energy off our defense. Create some turnovers and some havoc. Wearing teams down, which I've always wanted to do."

Carvalho continued, "Yeah, we may need to run and gun a little. Everyone has to depend on their half court discipline. I've always been a transition guy first. I do think our identity comes off defensive pressure, points off turnover, wearing teams down, giving teams look defensively, and then figuring out the offense as we kind of go along. I don't know how much of a set play team we are. We all have plenty of plays, but we'll see."

One player Carvalho is missing from the 2016-2017 campaign is his big man, Matt Valles, who's now playing college basketball at Gordon College. The 5-foot-6 Mattapoisett native is off to a strong start to his freshman campaign, even though the Fighting Scots (1-3) have lost three straight. Valles has appeared in each game, almost averaging 19 minutes a game. The big man is scoring 8.3 points per game, including 10 against the University of New England (11/29) and, most recently, 11 against Nichols College (12/2).

Old Colony

Meanwhile, Old Colony is preparing for its 2017-2018 boys' basketball season without Paul Soucy, who just finished his first soccer season at Westfield State. As a freshman, Soucy appeared in 18 games, starting in the last eight he played in. He scored two goals and had two assists, finishing the year with six points for the Owls.

Tabor Academy

Tabor's boys' squash team is off to a 2-1 start, led by Aly Hussein, who has yet to lose a set, sweeping all three of his matches so far, 3-0.

Boys' basketball improved to 2-0 on the year after taking down Marianapolis Prepatory School 76-68 on Sunday, and will visit Thayer Academy on Wednesday at 4:30 pm.

The Seawolves' girls' hockey team is off to a 1-0 start following a 4-1 win over Cushing Academy. Ashley Clark had a hat trick in the win with Marissa Fitzgerald scoring Tabor's final goal.

On the college front, Tabor's Akim Sanni (2017) is seeing some time early for Brandeis University's men's basketball team, seeing 12.8 minutes per game. He's shooting 50 percent from the floor, scoring 3.7 points per game.

On the hockey front, Caroline Shaunessy (2015) has two goals and two assists, appearing in eight games for Dartmouth College women's ice hockey.

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