High expectations for veteran Sr. Bulldogs basketball team

By Joel Charron

They have waited nearly a year to get back on the hardwood and now the wait is over.

With last years semi final loss to Cardinal Carter still fresh in their heads, the General Amherst Senior boys basketball are entering the 2011/12 season with redemption on the brain.

The Bulldogs are returning their entire starting lineup, including several key reserves and added some big bodies from junior, which prompted the team to move from Tier 2 to Tier 1.

“That’s the reason we went Tier 1,” said head coach Dom Silvaggio.

With bounce up to Tier 1, the Bulldogs will face some stiff competition. Herman, St. Anne’s and Holy Names are all waiting in the wings for the Bulldogs.

Silvaggio thinks the Bulldogs may take some “lumps” early in the season but eventually play in their favour.

“Last year, one of our biggest weaknesses was the intensity level through the entire game,”

Jeff Masson throws down a one-handed dunk during practice.

said Silvaggio.     “I think by playing Tier 1, they have to come ready to play every game and play the whole game or they are going to get waxed.”

However, Amherst won’t see the majority of Tier 1 teams in the playoffs because of their AA school status.

Silvaggio isn’t the only one who has high expectation, thy players are hungry for a championship that has eluded them their entire high school careers.

“We’re looking for a championship,” said Jeff Masson. “Our senior class hasn’t won one yet. It’s something we just have to do. It’s not a ‘let’s get them next year’ we don’t have a next year.”

Although the team is looking to contend for a championship, all-star forward Mitch Girard noted that it’s something that they are going to have to work for game by game.

“I think last year we kind of looked ahead and we even did it in football,” said Girard. “There are high expectation for us but we have to take it game by game. If we do that, we should be ok.”

Girard also mentioned that the Bulldogs would not be a surprise this year.

“Last year people were shocked that we went 9-1. This year I think they know we are going to a force to be reckoned with,” he said.

Assistant coach Stephen Silvaggio said he’s excited for the season to start.

“I’m excited to see how they respond every single night,” he said.

Stephen noted that although Amherst doesn’t have a guy that’s 6’7 or 6’10” like other schools, however they have size throughout the entire lineup.

“We can put out a lineup where everybody is 6’2”-6’3”,” he explained. ‘I think people are going to have a problem contending with our size.”

Silvaggio mentioned that he was happy to hear that some players took the summer to work on their game. He noted that last season he noticed a “hitch” in Mike Mallender’s jump shot and asked  him to work on it over the summer.

“Mallender is shooting lights out right now. We asked him to work on some things in the summer and it’s noticeable,” said Silvaggio. “His form right now is perfect.”

With the start of the season just right around the corner the Bulldogs are itching to erase last year memories.

“I think we know how good we can be and we’re just going to see how far that takes us,” said Girard.


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