North Haven could be back among region's elite
North Haven — The following is a synopsis of the 2013-14 North Haven Community School boys basketball team:
Coach/years coached current team: Roman Cooper, second year (coached girls team the past 14 years)
Last year's record/playoff information: 14-3, fifth in Western Class D. The Hawks lost to No. 4 A.R. Gould of South Portland 64-49 in the quarterfinals.
Roster: Seniors Zeb Campbell (5-foot 9-inch guard/forward), Ethan Taylor (6-1 forward), Dalton Hornby (5-8 guard) and Chayse MacDonald (5-6 guard); juniors Avery Waterman (5-10 guard)and Aidan Emerson (5-10 guard); freshmen Kaleb Campbell (5-9 guard/forward) and Tristan Carrier (5-10 guard); and eighth graders Grayson Demmons (5-8 forward) and Brandon Brown (5-3 guard).
Known graduation loss: Riley Venger.
Significant impact players: Waterman, Zeb Campbell, Hornby, Emerson and Taylor.
Team strengths: Experience and chemistry.
Team goals: To qualify for the Western Class D playoffs and win the first regional quarterfinal playoff game in the history of the school.
Top league opponents: Forest Hills of Jackman, Seacoast Christian and Vinalhaven.
Outlook: The Hawks lost only one player from last year's team to graduation in Venger, who was out for the season with an injury. The islanders also lost two reserve players who transferred to the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone.
Other than that, the core collection of last year's squad, including its starting five, is intact, which is good news for North Haven fans.
While the Hawks could be really good — perhaps even regional championship good — the small island team's goal is smaller by comparison.
Neither the boys or girls court programs have won a tournament game in school history. Cooper feels he may have the team to buck that trend this season.
“They want to win a game,” he said. “That's something that has eluded North Haven throughout the history of the school. Teams have made it there in the past and never made it past the first round and they just really want to overcome that hurdle.”
Cooper has stressed, above everything else this season, the importance of defense and rebounding.
He anticipates the team scoring about 60 points a game and Cooper “would like to see that be more by maybe pushing the ball a little harder.”
“We've really put it into the kid's heads that defense is going to be key,” he said. “We've got to box out. Rebounding is going to be big for us this year.”