Conestoga boys’ basketball team aims to peak at right time

Lower MerionThere is nothing more rewarding for a coach than to see his young team continue to show improvement through the season and hopefully peak at the right time.

For Conestoga boys’ basketball coach Mike Troy that is exactly what he has gotten to see from his Pioneers this season. With a relatively young roster that graduated seven seniors, Conestoga took its lumps early but seem to be coming together at the right time.

“We talked this year about lessons we have needed to learn and early in the season we had some painful lessons taking a couple of early L’s,” Troy said. “It’s nice to see them work hard and starting to peak at the right time. We’re not there yet and we still have some work to do but It’s rewarding to see as a coach.”

“Our senior leadership has been very important,” said Conestoga junior Zach Lezanic following Conestoga’s 65-61 win over Lower Merion Feb. 2. “Every day they bring a high level of intensity to practice and games. That has certainly helped us as we have learned from our early mistakes and have gotten better.”

With the knowledge his roster was filled with young players, Troy did not back down on making a challenging schedule that he hoped would pay off. Despite some tough early season losses, the team stayed together and picked up big non-league wins over Pennridge, Boyertown and Glasgow coupled with league wins over Springfield (D) and Lower Merion (twice).

“We knew we had to grow,” said Troy. “We made a very tough schedule this year for non-league opponents and the guys have responded tremendously. They see a challenge in front of them and they want to get it. They have goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the year and now is the business time of the year and they want to get them.”

“They’ll be everything,” said Conestoga senior Charlie Schappell. “Experience is what you need going forward in the playoffs. We have had many close games this year and hopefully that will help going forward.”

With the district playoffs on the horizon, Conestoga has its sights set on continuing to build on what the team has accomplished this season.

“This year was tough,” Lezanic said. “We have learned from our mistakes and that has helped us win tough games. It has been a fun ride.”

Troy added, “I think the guys did a great job and it helps. You try to build throughout the year. If you look and see how hard they have played and how much they wanted it, you understand what it takes to be a good team.”

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