By John Orrell, Contributing Writer
Region – There is always room for improvement in any sport, the experts say, and the game of basketball is no exception. Hence the creation of the Crompton Kingsway Basketball League, a 12-team summer league comprised of players from area high schools that play from early June through July at Worcester’s Crompton and Greenwood parks. The teams play hard with winning as a goal, but the underlying objective is to sharpen skills and build chemistry for the upcoming season.
Shrewsbury and Marlborough high schools are well-represented through players who are established for the 2015-2016 teams as well as others aspiring to land a roster spot at tryouts in December. The teams met on court at Crompton Park July 14 with Marlborough coming out on top, 42-38.
“We’re teaching the kids how to win and get in a winning environment and winning attitude,” said Shrewsbury summer Coach Mike Stowe. “Most of our kids are established but we have some kids from junior varsity coming up who project to be varsity players and will at least come out and try to make the varsity team.”
“We’re really just trying to get better as a team,” added Colonials junior Captain Connor McAulay. “We have a couple of new kids on the squad that weren’t on last year. We had a lot of seniors leave so we’re just trying to know each other and get better. We’re trying not to run so many plays, trying to move out without the ball.”
Marlborough players echoed similar sentiments, agreeing that skill development is stressed but so is getting a jump on the season even though it is six months until practices to begin Panther varsity’s season.
“We’re trying to get better and get our chemistry up,” explained senior Jose De La Cruz, who was a member of the team that advanced to state Division II semifinals this past season. “We have our starting-five coming back so that’s a big help. Plus, we have some new guys in the mix so we just want to see them improve also. Playing with the older kids will help them a lot and make them a lot better.”
Giving up many summer nights to play in often oppressive temperatures may seem like a sacrifice to others but not so to these young athletes.
“It’s fun. We all love this,” De La Cruz said. “Last year was the most fun year of our lives. Just being together as a team means a lot to us.”
“This is a great place to play, especially under the lights here,” echoed McAulay. “It’s a great atmosphere and I love basketball. We all do and that’s what motivates us to come out here.”
Members of the 2015 Shrewsbury High School Summer Boys Basketball Team are Steve Vayda, Connor McAulay, AJ Laramee, Jack Taitel, Paul Durkee, Nate McGregor, Sam Mack, Ryan Trocki, Louie Davolio, Matt O’Keefe and Matt Mulcahy. The team is coached by Mike Stowe.
Members of the 2015 Marlborough High School Summer Boys Basketball Team are Jose De La Cruz, Owen Cappadonna, Brian Short, Connor McCabe, Kevin Short, Alex Trombetta, Chris Doherty, Liam Shannahan, Joey Tirpak and Manny Teo. The team is coached by Brian Riley.