There was very little copying and pasting from last year’s roster when head coach Justin Clark was putting together his list of varsity players for the Mashpee High School boys’ basketball team this year. The current edition of the Falcons is not heavy on players who have much varsity experience as the squad that Clark rolled out during the COVID-shortened year that passed was made up of mostly seniors.
“It’s definitely a new look, but we’re going to play the same Mashpee basketball,” Clark said.
Mashpee basketball means playing hard-nosed defense that wreaks havoc and leads to transition offense. MHS has always liked to run up and down the court and play at a fast pace and that is one constant in a year that has plenty of new variables.
Senior guard Brady Johnston will be in the middle of everything for MHS and is one of the only returning players from the varsity last year. The Falcons’ quarterback from the football season will quarterback the hoops team as well, playing point guard and bringing a tough approach to the game. Johnston has all of the intangibles that coaches look for and his court awareness will lead to good things for both himself and his teammates.
Sophomore Aidan Cuozzo will be in the back court as well. The youngster is a combo guard who is very good at applying defensive pressure and has improved his perimeter shooting.
The other returning player from last year’s team is junior Jack Spencer. While most might not think of golfers as being gritty or tough, Spencer breaks the mold. The second-best player on the links last fall for MHS might be made for the gym more than the country club. A scrapper on the court, Spencer can knock down shots and get to the basket and, on defense, he does not make anything easy for his opponent.
Up front Otis Longman will handle the power forward spot. The athletic forward can get to the basket, and his length is a plus on defense. Down low Sean Fancher will be a presence to be reckoned with for the Falcons. Fancher plays physical basketball and will bang against opponents and fight for put-backs and rebounds.
Guard Sean Gonsalves is expected to make a contribution off of the bench for the Falcons as will Colton Colleran, a junior, and sophomore Preston Joia. Colleran is a quick and tough player who gets after it. Gonsalves plays with aggression and speed. Joia has a nice set of skills and should contribute.
Dantae Clarke is a big piece of the future for the Falcons. The big man has an opportunity to be a difference-maker with a 6-6 frame and good skills. Coach Clark said that once Clarke acclimates to playing at the varsity level, and all that comes with it, that he will be a big factor for the team.
Senior Kayden Eaton has joined the team for his first try at hoops. Eaton, who had a great football season and is one of the top lacrosse players at MHS, adds toughness and enthusiasm for the blue and white. Braden Fraser is a power forward who can rebound and change shots for the team. Zac Childs rounds out the roster. Childs has good range from the perimeter and will come off the bench to give the team a threat from outside.
“I expect some dog fights,” coach Clark said. “We need to be grinders on defense, and put up enough points to win close games.”
Mashpee will play 22 games this winter. The team opens up with maybe the worst road trip of the season on Tuesday, December 15, as the Falcons head to Hull High School for a 6:30 PM tilt against the Pirates in game number-one.