MacArthur, Division, Island Trees look to rebound
If there is a theme to the 2022-2023 boys basketball season for MacArthur, Division and Island Trees – it would be unfinished business.
The MacArthur Generals are led by third-coach Brian Maini, who, by the way, was a standout player at Division and a former coach for the Blue Dragons.
Last season, Maini’s Generals started off 0-8. But MacArthur rallied and came within one shot of qualifying for the playoffs. The season ended with a heartbreaking loss to conference champion New Hyde Park. Maini is optimistic the team will build of that late-season surge. He has two returning starters – Sebastian Loor and Sonny D’Errico.
“This a great group of athletes that carries the same resilience as last year’s team,” said Maini. “There are a lot of new faces to the team and we’ve been down a key player due to injury our first five games. We have great leadership and chemistry on and off the court and plan on competing for a playoff spot once again.”
Loo is a sharp-shooting guard who is threat from beyond the three-point line. D’Errico is a slashing forward who has a knack for getting to the basket and converting. The Generals will also get contributions from Sophomore Michael Kondyra. Kondyra is a 6-1 guard who can impact the game from anywhere on the floor. The team will also rely heavily on juniors Dylan Labonte and Eric Sharp as well as seniors Tyler Behr and Patrick Cheswick.
The Generals are in the same Conference A1 as last season and have already notched three wins. Kondyra is averaging 17 points per game, Loor is at 14.8 and D’Errico is at 10.2 points per game,
“The conference looks to be very similar to last season: competitive and wide open,” said Maini. “Jericho, Calhoun, and Great Neck South will be tough matchups for any team to play but anyone can be beaten on any given night. It is going to be a very fun and exciting finish for all – hopefully with a playoff birth for the Generals.”
The Blue Dragons are already well ahead of last year’s output. They notched just two victories last season but have already won five games thus far.
“This season we have a lot of returning players that are extremely hard workers and are absolute pleasure to coach,” said Division coach Jordan Dasch. “Our expectation is to be a playoff team. Last season we only had 2 wins. Through our first 10 games this season we already have 5 wins with 10 games remaining of a 20-game schedule.”
The Blue Dragons have four returning starters: Alessandro Giacomarra, Cody Brush, Tyler Diez, Dylan Torres.
Dasch expects big things from his core four.
“Alessandro Giacomarra and Tyler Diez are returning All-Conference players,” Dasch said. “In addition to them I expect Cody Brush, Jack Gillis, Dylan Torres, Kaolis Delacruz and Jake LaRocca to be big contributors.”
The Blue Dragons are in Conference A3 and are primed for a playoff run.
“We will be a very competitive conference with a lot talented teams,” said Dasch. “Top team has to be Manhasset. They are the defending State Champions and they return a lot of their top players.”
The Island Trees Bulldogs are in Conference A5. Last year’s assistant coach Matt Schultz takes over the reigns for Michael Wimmer, who posted a 10-win season. The Bulldogs have already notched two victories this year, including a 50-48 squeaker over MacArthur.
“Our team is a young gritty team that has athletes who will be the foundation this year,” said Schultz. “Many new players will step up into larger roles and be relied on.”
Island Trees will certainly be relying on returning starters Joseph Meyer (guard) and
Nick Saragossi (center), both of whom are seniors.
“Meyer will lead us on the offensive side of the ball,” said Schultz. “He is a talented guard who can score in multiple ways. He can stretch a defense beyond the three-point line and has the ability to put pressure on the defense by attacking the rim.”
Of Saragossi, Schultz added: “Nick is a returning starter who will lead us on the defensive end. He is the voice of the defense and his experience will help anchor the other players. Nick provides great energy and positivity for our team.”
Other key contributors for the Bulldogs will be: Richie Montalvo, Matthew Guevara, Kian McCoy and Sahij Dhami.
The conference returns some strong teams for the 2021-22 season.
“Our conference is a great test this year,” said Schultz. “There are some talented teams who return many starters. Friends Academy and Clarke both had successful seasons and will be a great challenge throughout the year. You can never count out North Shore and Lawrence as well, they always compete and provide a challenge. We look forward to these challenges and are excited for league play.”