Learning season for young Eagles

After struggling through a 4-6 Berks League record in the 2013-14 season, the Exeter Township High School basketball team bounced back with an 8-2 season and a second place finish in Division 1 last year, before losing to Governor Mifflin in the league quarterfinals. The Eagles would like to repeat, or even improve on last year’s performance, but it may be a tall order for a very young team. The Eagles have just one returning starter coming back from last year’s squad, so this will be a learning season.

“We will be rebuilding with some younger talent in hopes to contend as the season progresses,” said head coach Kevin Boettlin. “We will have a mix of largely inexperienced upperclassmen and younger players looking to find their roles on this year’s team.”

Boettlin is impress with the way the team is working to improve their game, and despite the inexperience, there is some talent that could develop as the season goes along.

The lone returning starter is Angel Ocasio, who will be the team’s primary ballhander as the point guard. He will be counted on to do some scoring as well. Last year he was sixth on the team in scoring with 94 points, so he will need to come up with better numbers in that category.

Keyshawn Slythe has been providing some leadership for the team this year, and has been a good influence on the team during the early going of this season.

“He is a very good defender and athlete who will also be counted on to provide stability in the backcourt,” said Boettlin.

Austin Gilbert is a transfer from Berks Catholic where he played in 22 games last season. He has been a good shooter for the Eagles so far and he could provide some much needed offense on a team that graduated its top scorers from last year.

Shawn O’Reilly is also a key player for the Eagles this year. He is also a good shooter,. but Boettlin likes his versatility, able to play many positions for his team.

Right now the players are simply trying to figure out their roles on the team this year. They are learning the game at the varsity level and the goal is to just keep improving as each game passes, Boettline still believes this could be a playoff team, both in the county and district.

“This will be achieved only if the boys work hard and ‘buy in’ to the idea of a team first mentality,” said Boettlin. “We will need to get better every day individually and as a team.”

The team is off to a 1-3 start so far in 2015, defeating Manheim Township (46-38), but losing to Lancaster Catholic, Warwick and North Penn.

Gabe Schappell has provided some of the offense for the Eagles, leading the team with 56 points this season, 14 points a game. Slyth is second on the team with 34 points, and Riley Dobraniecki is third on the team in scoring with 30 points.


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