At this time last year Falmouth Academy coach Tyrone Croom was still explaining the most basic of his philosophy and basketball concepts to his Mariners. Taking over the program, he and the players had a completely blank slate and it took some time fill it in.
The efforts that the Mariners gave their coach were usually top notch, but the results were not. FA won just a single game over the course of the season.
“Right now, we want to get better every day and compete,” the coach said. “We were in a lot of games last year at halftime, and then in the second half we'd go out and things would get hard for us. We didn't have a lot of depth, and that hurt us.”
That is one area that should improve for FA this year. The team does seem to have more players that should be able to give the club quality minutes. As the players find their roles, it will become apparent which ones get the most important minutes.
While FA has its share of youth, it also has a nice mix of experienced players. The team's projected starting five has some basketball savvy and has played the game.
Chandler DeBarrows got his feet wet at the varsity level last year and will run the point for the Mariners. DeBarrows has quality ball-handling skills and can be a top tier player for the team. Croom said that playing with increased confidence will allow DeBarrows to make an impact.
Rob Ciaffoni is the most experienced player on the team. Ciaffoni, a senior, is in his fourth year on the varsity at FA and will be counted upon to score the basketball and give strong defensive effort from the shooting guard spot.
An injury last year prevented Marco Farina, a senior, from being an impact player for FA. Farina hurt his foot early in the year and was never able to get all the way back. Coach Croom said he's excited to see what a healthy Farina can do this year.
Junior James Goldbach played some big moments last year and held his own down low. Goldbach has improved his footwork around the hoop and should chip in even more as a junior. Senior Quincy Boardman logged the most minutes on the team last year and also had the most blocks on the team. He's worked hard to improve his offensive output and he should be a big part of the Mariners attack on both ends of the court this year.
Coming off of the bench, Dylan Kadison can play in the back court or at wing. Kadison has great energy and is an athletic player. Fellow seniors Gray August and Arian Islam were both injured a year ago, but have worked back into health and will add depth to the roster for FA. “They are both hustlers,” Croom said.
Junior Cam McLean did not play last year because of a hip injury. McLean is still dealing with that injury, but should log some time this year and is a player that has a big future, Croom believes.
Three sophomores will round out the roster for the Mariners. Ben Mihalovich is expected to play some big minutes and will add strength from the wing. Jack Butler is a big man with some good size, and Jack DiFalco-Wheeler is a strong athlete that will be groomed to be a ball-handling guard for the future.
The Mariners begin their season Friday, December 13, at 5:30 PM with a home game against Calvary Chapel Academy. The game will follow the girls' team's season opener, which is against Atlantis Charter at 4 PM.
“I'm happy where we are with this group. We got a lot out of a shared practice with Sacred Heart and Madison Park on (December 6),” Croom said. “It's more fine-tuning than trying to get everyone on the same page now.”