Catholic boys basketball returns just one starter

After losing four starters from last year’s 15-11 squad, first year Catholic head coach Tony Armstrong is looking forward to he and his team growing together.

“Hopefully, because we are instituting a new system, we will improve each week as the season progresses. The players are working hard every day to try and get better and have been a joy to coach the first few weeks,” said Armstrong.

The lone returning starter from last year’s team is junior guard Brayton Ballenger. The Irish will rely heavily on him as they turn to a more high speed offense in 2012-13.

“We will be more up-tempo than in the past, and we feel that we are set at the point guard position with Brayton having started last year as a sophomore,” said Armstrong.

Catholic also returns a trio of seniors that saw varsity action last year.

Tyler Johnson, a 6’2” forward, will help anchor the Irish inside, and guards Dan Richardson, 5’9”, and Rob Ruzicka, 5’7”, bring quickness and experience to the table.

Other players that will figure into the equation are seniors Will Hennessy and Eric Smith. Juniors Eric and Tyler Atwell, Ryan Haller, Issac Gray, Michael Ghiradelli, Jacob Deragowski, Tyler Ast, and Alec O’Reilly.

One glaring absence on the Irish roster is size.

“It is rather obvious that we have no height, so we will have to shoot the ball well from the perimeter and play good position defense. We must rebound well as a team to keep from getting man handled on the boards,” said Armstrong.
Junior forward Tyler Ast will also look to make an impact inside.

“Tyler is only 6'2" but is very strong around the basket and has played well this summer and fall in the post,” said Armstrong.

As usual for any COC school, Catholic can expect another tough slate of conference games.
“Playing in the small school division of the COC still requires us to play schools that are still much larger than us, so we have to be ready to play every night,” said Armstrong.

Catholic opens the 2012 season on Nov. 26 in the Strafford Tournament.

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