By: Chase Mlecz
To build a strong high school basketball program, you have to start with a strong foundation. This is what North Warren Regional High School will have to do in order to find its stride this upcoming basketball season, which is set to start in a home stance on Friday, December 15th at 7pm versus Newton High School. After losing a handful of quality players at the end of a successful 2016-2017 season, North Warren’s rebuilding will have to start quickly by piecing together a talented young team, improving its player roster, choosing the right game-day strategies that play to the strengths of the individual players, and cultivating new talent from the freshman and JV classes since day one. However, a team is only as good as its school’s athletic program. Traditionally, North Warren’s Basketball program has always been more than a team of local basketball players. It’s been a program that extends beyond the players that includes the school’s administrators, parents, student body, teachers, trainers, and staff. And if it wasn’t for the countless hours that the coaching staff, boosters, and athletic department put in long before the season starts, the Patriots would have a much harder time building their solid foundation.
The 2017-2018 Patriots have some large sneakers to fill. Last season brought NWR a conference championship, the second one in the basketball program’s history. If the Patriots want to strive toward another trophy season, their team leaders will need to do whatever they can to build a complete and competitive basketball program. This means focusing on the fundamentals and developing players to the best of their abilities. Players such as Evan Carter, Evan Szkarlatiuk, Chase Mlecz, Justin Collins, Alex Close, Nick Scialla, and the rest of those contributing at the varsity level have been hard at work since November 20th as they prepare for a long but fun-filled winter season. Leading up to the first game, Coach Tillou has said time and time again, “The Sky's the limit with this team…”. If the players can believe in that mentality as well, they have a good chance to play with competitiveness and win with confidence. That said, come cheer on your fellow Patriots when they take on the reigning sectional champions in Newton this Friday night at home, bring the war zone, and GET LOUD!