Bourne boys’ basketball has nowhere to go but up.
Following a six-win campaign in the 2017-18 season that saw loss after loss pile up, the group of returning players is preparing to surprise naysayers and make a postseason run in Division 3 South.
Seniors Paul Rossignol, Jack Neil and James Cahoon will anchor the starting five—giving the Canalmen a threat in the backcourt in Rossignol, a threat in the post with Neil and an outside sharpshooter in Cahoon.
Chris Darcy, Steve Barmarshi and Mohammad Kahn should also see big minutes, with Wyatt Ream also providing a spark off the bench for Bourne head coach Scott Ashworth.
With a roster of 20 players between varsity and JV, Bourne has a bevy of six-footers, who are neither collectively tall nor short.
“It looks like we’re all the same,” Ashworth said. “I think our best perimeter shooter, Cahoon, might be our tallest player.”
The 17-year head coach thinks that type of versatility could benefit Bourne in what could be a weakened South Coast Conference. After sending six teams to the tournament, three of which hosted home games, the SCC could be in a down year.
“I was talking to [Apponequet head coach] Jim Carbucio, and he was thinking his division could be up for grabs this year,” Ashworth said. “In talking to [Old Rochester head coach] Steve Carvalho, he said the same thing.”
Ashworth also agreed, saying he wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of low-scoring conference games in the first half of the season. That could be good news for a Bourne team that has historically used its defense to spark its offense with fast breaks and easy points off traps.
“That’s been our identity since I’ve been here,” Ashworth said. “Hopefully that can continue. We also say the highest percentage shot in basketball is a lay-up. The more of those you can get, the better off you’ll be.”
With a week still to go before the season tips off, Bourne has some questions left unanswered: like who will play and defend the point guard position. The obvious choice appears to be Rossignol, but Ashworth believes his best position is the off-guard position, where the senior can use his speed and newly acquired height advantage to get off shots.
But whoever plays the point for Ashworth, the team knows its success will not be decided by one player. The longtime head coach preaches a team-oriented game with the mantra of “JAZZ,” a reference he expects every senior to understand by the time they leave the program.
“If I told you what it means, I’ll have to kill you,” Ashworth said with a smirk. “But it started back when I was in college at Bridgewater State. The second unit used to say it a lot. It meant one thing, and then we tweaked it to incorporate with our program once I got here. I think some of the older guys are starting to get it.”
Hopefully for the Canalmen, the whole team can catch on before the end of the season. Bourne will host Dighton-Rehoboth on Thursday, December 13, at 6:30 PM to begin its season.