Council Rock North looking to set a new record in 2016

NEWTOWN – With the departure of some key players at Pennsbury and Abington, the basketball landscape could change this season in the Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference.

“The league is wide open; I think anybody has a chance this year,” said Council Rock North 6-2 senior forward Will Desautelle. “It comes down to playing hard in practice, and executing.”

With that said however, the Indians have had some departures of their own including wingmen Matt Margolis (Ursinus) and Drew Glenn along with 6-4 power forward Steve Nowmos.

“We’re a bit young and we lost a lot from last year but we have a bunch of guys who can score when we need them to,” said Desautelle.

“Even though we may not have a consistent go to at times, there are a lot of guys who can step up and score some points for us.”

Desautelle – who averaged seven points and six rebounds last season – is one of three returning starters along with 5-11 senior Riley Thompson (11 pts., 3 reb., 2 asst.) and 5-11 senior guard/forward Tyler Nowmos (2.5 pts., 1.5 reb.), the first player off the bench last year. In addition, the Rock returns regular contributors Noah Ehlin – a junior, along with 6-5 senior forward Matt Baniewicz . Junior Eric Levine and senior Elliot Spicer also return to the varsity lineup.

“We’re going to see more significant minutes for guys like Noah Ehlin, who played really good for us last year,” said head coach Derek Wright. “Matt Baniewicz is going to get most of the minutes at the four spot. Eric Levine ,who was a JV player last year, and Elliot Spicer, as a senior, is going to get his chance.

“The hope is that all these guys step up.”

Desautelle and Baniewicz, along with 6-2 junior Tommie Boyle, will take up positions in the frontcourt this year at CR North. Thompson, Nowmos, Ehlin, Levine and Spicer will play in the backcourt with Ehlin and Nowmos swinging back and forth between positions.

While the Indians lost some scoring provided last season by Margolis and Glenn, what they have going for them this year is their defense. The Rock has every intention on building off last year’s defensive performance, one that saw CR North set a new school record when it limited opponents to a miserly 42.8 points-per game.

“We have the potential to be an elite defensive unit this year,” said Desautelle. “I know we have a lot of work to do but I think we have a chance to be really good this year.”

Will thinks this year’s team has the potential to break the defensive mark set by the Rock last season.

“We have a lot of great defenders coming back and this is a really unselfish team,” said Desautelle. “It’s just a matter of getting more reps with each other and getting more comfortable in the system.”

“We have some key pieces back who can make us really good defensively,” added Wright. “But there’s a lot that goes into being able to hold teams down to that point – even just offensively, taking care of the basketball, being efficient, being patient – that this team is going to have to work on.”

With the departure of Margolis and Glenn, the Indians have lost some of their shooting ability from beyond the arch. While Thompson was a consistent three-point shooter last year and will be counted on for that this year, what remains to be seen is who else will help Riley on the perimeter.

“Shooting-wise, we’re not quite as good as we were last year but we do have a lot of guys who are good from the 15-foot range and can get to the rim pretty well,” said Desautelle.

“We have Tyler Nowmos – he’s good off the catch; if we have him open, he’ll hit (the three) – guys like Eric Levine, who will knock it down if you let him.

Wright adds that Rock won’t be as dependant on the three this season as it has been in the recent past.

“We can’t match what we did last year from the perimeter; we just don’t have that type of personnel,” the coach said. “We have to be a little more aggressive and get to the paint and get to the offensive glass.”

Last season, North got off to a quick start, winning six of its first seven and eight of its first 10 games. Like last year, the Indians begin the current campaign with a matchup against New Foundations Charter. The Indians beat the Bulldogs last year 62-43 in Newtown so this year’s battle is on the road. The season opener is set for Monday, Dec. 7 at NFC.

With players like Desautelle, Thompson and Nowmos getting set to begin their final season in a CR North uniform, Rock would like to make a solid run to the postseason in 2016. Last year, the Indians reached districts only to take an early exit after falling by the slimmest of margins to Lower Merion, a state qualifier in 2015.

“They are great kids that have meant a lot to our program and I hope for their sake that their senior year is an enjoyable one,” said Wright. “And I think that includes making another playoff appearance.

“I know they’ll do everything they can to get us there.”

In last season’s District 1 playoff against the 12th-seeded Aces, a pair of treys poured into the basket by Thompson and another by Glenn erased a late-game 7-point deficit and put Rock on top 37-36 with 41 seconds to go.

Twelve seconds later however, Lower Merion senior Steve Pendleton, who notched seven of his team’s 12 points in the final frame including the last two baskets, hit an open layup, giving the Aces a 38-37 edge. With just 29 seconds to answer, North nearly turned the ball over at the foul line then got off an off-balance shot by Steve Nowmos that clanked off the rim.

Lower Merion – which finished sixth in District 1 – entered the battle averaging over 54 points-per-game.

NOTES: After their season opener at New Foundations, the Indians return home Dec. 9 to face BAL rival Bristol, hit the road Dec. 11 at William Tennent where they’ll open league play then return home Dec. 15 to battle Pennsbury.

Contact the author at OR @BucksLocalSport on Twitter

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply