WORCESTER PREP WINTER SPORTS PREVIEW
(Nov. 29, 2019) The Worcester Prep boys’ basketball team relied on its defensive play during the 2018-19 season, but struggled a bit on the offensive end. This year, the Mallards are more balanced.
“I think we’re going to be a little bit better offensively. We’re still pretty athletic, so we’re going to hopefully play strong defense, which was kind of our high point last year,” said Coach John Moeser. “Defensively, we were very good. I think we have a little bit more offense this year, which will help us out. Some kids retuning that didn’t get to play a lot last year got bigger and got better and I’m looking forward to that as well.”
Moeser has 11 players on his roster. Six of them were members of the team last year, which finished with a 7-10 record after starting out 0-5. They lost in the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference championship, 72-49, to Delmarva Christian.
The team graduated eight seniors and most of them were big contributors.
“Last year we made it to the conference final, which was kind of surprising,” he said. “I think toward the end of the year we did start to play a little bit better.”
Moeser joined the program last year, so going into his second season the players know what to expect and what his expectations are.
“Everybody that’s back has been here [with him as coach] a year and the new guys, it’s a clean slate. So far this year practice has been great,” he said. “I think we have a much better attitude this year. I think we have a lot more enthusiasm than we did last year.”
Leading the team will be senior captains Ryan Cronin and Sam Tinkler, and both have done a good job so far, Moeser said.
“I want to be someone who leads the guys, but really shows by example,” Cronin, a three-year player, said.
He will also use his experience to help the younger players.
“Showing them that practice can be fun, but it’s also serious and about working hard and getting better,” he said. “I’m definitely excited and looking forward to the season. Got to leave it all out there. It’s my last year.”
To be successful, Cronin said it will take communication and teamwork.
In addition, Tinkler, a four-year player, said the Mallards need to execute and play good defense. He also plans to lead with his experience.
“I think that especially with a young group, with only two seniors, it’s really valuable to have that experience,” he said. “There’s a bunch of new kids this year that weren’t on the team last year so that experience is definitely needed. I think we’re coming along really well.”
Tinkler said the conference competition is strong this year.
“I think that we’re the dark horse of the conference,” he said. “I know a lot of people are not expecting much from us because we graduated a pretty good senior class, but we’ll show them differently.”
The team graduated most of its starters. But, two underclassmen who were starting by the end of the season are back. Junior Mason Brown is a great outside shooter, Moeser said, and sophomore Brice Richins is going to be “one of our better offensive threats.”
Brown earned Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference honors for his performance last season. Richins received honorable mention accolades.
Also returning is junior Brugh Moore.
“He didn’t play a whole lot last year. He grew three inches over the summer and really worked on his jump shot,” Moeser said. “He’s going to be a big part of our offense this year.”
Freshman Griffin Jones joins the team as a point guard.
“He’s going to get thrown into the fire, so we’ll see how he reacts,” Moeser said. “He’s our only true point guard that we have right now.”
Junior Connor Carpenter was on the JV team last year. Moeser said he is athletic and will help the team out as well.
Moeser said he has incorporated many of the same plays as last year, so the returners are familiar with what he is running. Now, they are just getting the new players acclimated.
“I think every team has a goal to make it to their conference championship game,” Moeser said. “We’re just going to kind of take it game by game – we’re pretty young and inexperienced – and see what happens. I think they’re just really excited to get going.”
Worcester will open the season on Wednesday against the St. Thomas More Ravens at 5:30 p.m. in Berlin.