High expectations will be put to an immediate test for the OFA Boys Basketball team.
The Blue Devils return their entire starting lineup from last seasons 14-5 team plus senior tri-captain Cavan LaRose who missed last season because of a knee injury that required reconstructive surgery.
The multi-talented 6 3 LaRose will look to follow up from a promising sophomore season where he averaged 10 points a game and will provide a major impact on both backboards.
He joins last years starting cast which all showed a wide range of abilities including the ability to strike from three-point range. That cast includes tri-captains in LaRoses twin brother, Breton LaRose also 6 3, and Pat Cosmo, juniors Colin Ross and Matt Piercey and sophomore Kinnon LaRose.
Coach Mark Henrys team will test their high hopes over the weekend in the Albany area Coaches Vs Cancer Shootout. The Devils will play at Shenendehowa at 8 p.m. on Friday and meet New Hartford on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Adirondack Community College.
These will be very good games for us because both teams are good and will have size. As a team we need to rebound and defend to compete and we need to get out and run and get good shots in transition, said Henry who will be assisted by Jim Adams, T.J. Hannan and Zach Dodge.
This group has put in a lot of time in the offseason and has worked extremely hard. In our division, Potsdam is still the team to beat and Massena and Malone are loaded with athletes and should be very good again this year.
Coming off a clutch junior season Pat Cosmo has increased his strength to go along with a good shooting touch and the ability to attack the basket.
Breton LaRose, also 6 3, hit 50 percent of his threes last season and improved his rebounding and defense skills over the summer.
Cavan LaRose has completed his comeback with daily improvment in strength and confidence and possesses the ability to lead by example.
Matt Piercey earned Second Team All-NAC Central for his play at the point last season and has added more strength and quickness to his game. Colin Ross has used a sterling work ethic to become a strong rebounder as a guard and one of the teams better defenders.
Coach Henry expects a breakout season from Kinnon LaRose (6 3) who shows the total package of outside shooting, defensive skills and the ability to attack the basket. Tyler Knowlton and Alex Farrell round out a sound senior group as key reserves. Knowlton has shot the ball well and played bigger than his size in the preseason while Farrell has carried over strong play from an all-star caliber football season.
A very deep squad also features two juniors in Conor Hannan and Mitchel Barber and sophomores Jack Manke and Seth Pinkerton.
Hannan contributes with shooting ability and court sense, Barber brings depth to the post and at 6 5 Manke shows sure hands and touch for a post player and rebounds well on the offensive boards. Pinkerton uses fine athletic ability to defend and rebound well as a guard.
OFA will open its NAC Division schedule on Monday at home.
Scott Sargent will guide the OFA JVs this season and with his brother Mike Sargent, who retired from the post after last season, assisting him.