from today's Waukesha Freeman -
PREP BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW
CMH finally gets full house
Crusaders get back athletes from successful fall teams
WAUKESHA – The reinforcements arrived Monday.
And that was good news for the Catholic Memorial High School boys basketball team, which is playing catch-up for the second straight season after an extended tournament run by one of its fall sports teams.
The Crusaders were missing several key players for the opening weeks of practice while their football team was wrapping up a state championship run in 2012.
Coach Dean Bellanti’s current squad was intact for the first time Monday – a week since the opening of practice – after several team members helped CMH reach the semifinals of the state boys volleyball tournament last weekend.
“We really just started practice Monday,” Bellanti said. “I like our attitude and the way we’re competing. The speed of our practices has been good, and the guys are playing a crisp, intense level of defense.
“I like the leadership our returning players are showing. They’ve provided guidance to our younger kids to help them understand what we’re trying to accomplish.”
The Crusaders bring back eight letter winners after finishing third in the Classic 8 Conference at 10-4 and 18-7 overall.
The veteran cast consists of 6-foot-2 senior guard Ayinde Starling, who received all-Classic 8 honorable mention as a junior; 6-1 senior guard/forward Chandler North, 5-10 senior guard Nate Nennig, 6-4 senior forward Bill Shaeffer, 6-0 senior guard/forward Tyler Larson, 6-0 senior guard Jake Shomin, 6-1 senior forward David VerBockel and 6-1 junior guard/forward Robby Gogin.
Of that group, Starling, Shomin and North had the most playing time. Starling averaged 10.1 points per outing, Shomin contributed 7.4 and North chipped in with 5.7.
“Ayinde has played on varsity for 2 1/2 seasons, and he has looked very good,” Bellanti said. “Chandler North and Jake Shomin are starting their third varsity seasons and Robby Gogin is in his second.
“It was nice to finally get all of our veterans on the floor together (after volleyball ended). I feel good about where our veterans are, and our youngsters are providing energy.”
CMH’s varsity newcomers are 511 junior guard Jack Crain, 5-10 junior guard Jett Siegenthaler, 6-3 junior forward/center Mike Schmidt, 6-3 junior forward center Aaron Siehr, 6-1 junior guard Danny Brozynski, 6-1 sophomore guard Alex Bray, 6-2 sophomore forward/guard Parker Carlsen and 6-2 sophomore forward Nick Schultz.
“Alex Bray has practiced very well,” Bellanti said. “He will get minutes.”
Bray is the younger brother of current Princeton University guard T.J. Bray, who was named Wisconsin Player of the Year after leading CMH to the 2010 WIAA Division 2 state title.
Bellanti hopes his team can use its strengths to compensate for the lack of a dominant post player.
“We’ll be a deep team with a lot of versatility,” the coach said. “We don’t have a real tall player, but our guys have a lot of different skills and they play well together. They seem to blend well.”
Photo credits - Charles Auer/Freeman
Top: Catholic Memorial junior guard Robbie Gogin reacts after a teammate made a good play during a scrimmage in practice Monday.
Bottom: Catholic Memorial senior Ayinde Starling takes a shot over a teammate during practice Monday.