Hilltop Basketball Preview
By Andy Gross
As the action launches on the hardwood with another winter of fast breaks and crashing the boards, The Press looks at the upcoming high school basketball season with a preview of local boys and girls private school teams.
Riverdale Country School Falcons
The Falcons are coming off of what coach Andrew Marinos termed a “fantastic” season. The Falcons went 22-5 last year and were co-Ivy League champs. They also beat Poly Prep to win the New York State Association of Independent Schools’ (NYSAIS) division championship.
The team loses four starters this season. But Marinos said senior Tom Ryan, a 6-foot-2-inch forward who played a significant part of last year’s championship game, will return to drive the offense.
Returning Falcons also include senior Aaron McIntyre and junior Michael Gardner, both 6-foot-2-inch forwards who are expected to pick up the scoring slack from graduated stars Josh Wetzler, Hal Friedman and Nicky Raven.
The Falcons open their season on the road on Thursday, Dec. 5 against the Lawrence-Woodmere School.
Horace Mann Lions
Coach Tim Sullivan hopes to improve on last year’s 8-11 record. “We return five players who started games last year: Tom Schnepp, Andrew Verbinnen, Kosta Bajovic, Ben Fox, and Mike Lighte,” he said. “We believe all of our players can score and all are willing to share the ball with each other. We lost a lot of close games last year and hope we can build upon that and win those same close games.”
Sullivan has high hopes for this season despite acknowledging the tough competition his team will face.
“We are very excited about our team this year but are fully aware of how talented our league is,” Sullivan said. “This is the hardest working team I have been with. Hopefully that translates into a wining season.”
The Lions open their season on Saturday, Nov. 30 at home against Dexter.