Every other year, it looks like Steve Carvalho has somewhat of a challenge ahead of him during the basketball season. Not because he’s running low on talent; that hasn’t been a problem for Old Rochester Regional boys basketball for some time. But Carvalho still has to figure out who will take over the majority of minutes from game to game, again, almost every two years.
This season, the Bulldogs have to replace Cole McIntyre, Noah McIntyre, Sam Hartley-Matteson, and Matt Brogioli.
To start, ORR has Nick Johnson back. Now the Bulldogs’ senior captain, Johnson averaged just over 14 points per game last season and was named a South Coast Conference All-Star. Naturally, he’ll become the focal point for ORR’s offense – as well as the top assignment for opposing defenses.
“There’s going to be a lot on him,” the ORR head coach said. “He’s also got a target on his back.”
From there, the Bulldogs have a slew of athletic players: Jon Borsari, Thomas Durocher, Luke Burke, and Ryon Thomas. There’s also Jonah DePine and Elijah Miranda among others.
Having a healthy amount of versatile, switchable athletes is exactly what’s most important to Carvalho, though the Bulldogs are dealing with some injuries at this time. Being able to switch on defense and crash the board allows him to preach his brand of basketball, which has been immensely successful over the years.
“Everything starts with rebounding for me. It triggers our break. One and done. Offensive rebounds are demoralizing,” the ORR head coach said. “But, defensively, I still think I have some interchangeable parts. We can throw different packages at teams, whether it’s a full-court press or three-quarters.”
Now, Carvalho may think this group is a good fit for the way he coaches, but that doesn’t mean he believes the Bulldogs will coast. On a yearly basis, the South Coast Conference is a challenge – then there’s the matter of the MIAA state tournament, which is another animal.
“We got our hands full,” he said. “We’ve got some goals we want to continue to achieve to continue to do what we’re doing. We want to get healthy and we’ll put a competitive team on the court.”
All that being said, expecting the Bulldogs to be competitive is almost a given at this stage. Year after year, Carvalho seems to add at least one or two more athletic players; this year, he has multiple. Part of it might be luck, but he’s also putting in the work to help local basketball players understand what will be expected of them when they get to high school, setting a foundation for both his program and the individuals as competitors.
“I think, at the end of the day, I try to promote with the youth leagues and try to get philosophical stuff out there,” Carvalho said. “The No. 1 thing is the mental aspect, especially in today’s game.
“What do you do when you don’t have the basketball? You have to present that message,” said Carvalho. “I think I’ve been fortunate with players.”
High School Sports Update
By Nick Friar