By Steev Riccardo
Second-year coach Sean Halloran told Athletic Director John Doldoorian that he was resigning after taking the Oxford Pirates Basketball team to the district finals for the first time in 30 years last year, in his inaugural season. Of course he was joking, but in reality it’s going to be a hard act to follow and he knows it.
The Pirates had a magnificent run before losing to the Northbridge Rams in the district’s final game. They lost seven seniors from that 14-9 team, including star players Brendan Tremblay and DiCarlo Anderson, and even though Halloran won’t go as far as to say the team is rebuilding, they still have their work cut for them.
“I wouldn’t call it a rebuilding year, it’s more of an adjustment.” said Halloran, who will rely heavily on a strong junior class.
“I am not going to run a lot of sets. I plan on letting them play. This group of juniors that we have now knows how to play basketball.”
Halloran, who doesn’t mind “flying below the radar,” was quick to point out that he has a young group but one that has been playing together and will “gel as the season goes along.”
The team will be led by 5’8” junior shooting guard Donny Freeland, who is the lone returning starter from last year’s squad. Fellow junior Mike James, who will most likely be the starting point guard, will join Freeland.
5’11 senior Chris Burley, whom Halloran refers to as a “quiet leader on the court, who works his tail off,” will be starting as forward in the front court. He will be joined by 6’1” senior Tyler Bostok and another junior, 6’2” Brian Bjorkland.
Juniors Tyler Barrie and Cody Stone will also be in the rotation, playing key roles for the team.
The Pirates will be playing a man-to-man defense and Halloran plans on his team playing some “in your face defense” led by his strong, quick guards.
“This group is going good, we are building this program. We want to be consistently good, consistently in the playoffs. I want opposing teams to see us on their schedule and know that and say, oh no, not those guys.”
“Every year our goal is to win the league, make the Clark Tournament, and make the districts. With this group I just want us to get better game by game.” For now the coach is focused on his first three opponents.
The Pirates season starts with three key games right off the bat. Friday night they open at Shepherd Hill, a team that Halloran knows a lot about, “they had a good summer, they are going to be solid, they have such a good group up there.”
Then they face a very strong Tantasqua Regional team on Tuesday before facing their biggest rival, Auburn, on Friday.
One thing is certain: Oxford basketball is back and their coach is here for the ride.
- Monday, 12 December 2011
- Posted in Categories: : Sports