Oceanside ready to put 'sting' of last year's finish behind it
Rockland — The following is a synopsis of the 2013-14 Oceanside High School boys basketball team:
Coach/years coached current team: Matt Breen, ninth year.
Last year's record/playoff information: 14-4, No. 4 seed in Eastern Class B playoffs. The Mariners lost to No. 13 Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft 55-45 in a preliminary playoff game.
Roster: Seniors Nick Judge (5-foot 11-inch guard), David Gould (6-foot guard), Hunter Grindle (6-1 forward) and Isaiah Stone-Patterson (5-10 guard); juniors Walker Ranney (6-2 forward), Jarrod Leonardi (6-2 forward), Jimmy Strong (5-10 guard), Zach Peaco (6-1 forward) and Eli Thorbjornson (5-10 guard); and sophomores Nick Mazurek (6-3 forward), Keenan Hendricks (6-1 guard/forward) and Griffin Lombardo (6-4 forward/center).
Known graduation losses: Sam Meklin, Tyler Gilson, Shea Davenport and Matt Zable.
Significant impact players: Stone-Patterson, Mazurek, Judge, Grindle, Gould and Hendricks.
Team strengths: Speed and tenacity.
Team goals: To take things one game at a time and continue to get better with each game.
Top league opponents: Medomak Valley of Waldoboro, Camden Hills, Winslow, Nokomis of Newport and Waterville.
Outlook: The Mariners were a regional championship favorite last year and one of the top teams in Eastern Class B before a talented Ponies' squad galloped into their gym and ended their season on a sour note.
“It still stings,” Breen said of that stunning loss. “I'm sure it still stings the kids too as well as me now. But hopefully that will fuel them everyday in practice and keep them working hard.”
The Mariners have been doing just that. And while this year's team has a different look with their three tallest players (Meklin, Gilson and Davenport) gone to graduation, Breen's smaller team will look to have its competition on the run all season with a wealth of speedy, scrappy players.
“We've got a lot of new people stepping in and trying to fill new roles,” the coach said. “It's been a growing process, but the kids are working hard. Things are going in the right direction, but we've got a ways to go getting everybody comfortable and getting everything into place the way we want it.”
Breen said while others will be key factors, Judge and Gould will have to have strong seasons and “set the tone on offense and defense” for Oceanside to be successful this year.
However, the Mariners are not getting ahead of themselves.
“We're just going to work one game at a time and just try to improve every night,” said Breen. “Last year we had lapses where we didn't play hard in spurts and with this team we're going to try to play hard 32 minutes every night and see what happens.”