The faces change from season to season, but what doesn’t is how the Spotswood High School boys’ basketball team plays an up-tempo transition game that usually leaves opponents breathless.
Imagine what they must be thinking now that head coach Steve Mate said he plans for this year’s Chargers to run even more.
“We’re not big, but the upside is our ability to go up and down the court,” said Mate, one of the best strategists in the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC). “We’re going to exploit that as best we can this season.” A number of new faces will play pivotal roles, including four sophomores who demonstrated during the GMC Summer League that they deserve quality minutes.
Leadership will also be key, and Spotswood is certainly in good shape there with veteran senior guards Eric Dadika (15.5 points per game) and Marlon Hart (13.6 points per game). Both can also drain shots from any place on the court and will be counted on heavily to handle the scoring load.
Two juniors, J.T. Vento and Andrew Fuzesi, will also be important to the rotation because of their athleticism and explosiveness and will be a perfect complement to the Chargers offense.
The sophomores expected to see action are Abdullah Nieskens, a small but quick guard who can shoot; Nate Carone, an effective rebounder; Vincent Guardiola, a multi-talented athlete who has developed an aptitude for understanding the game; and Justin Dekovics, who will come off the bench to add scoring punch.
Two other seniors who should see regular action are Shawn O’Connor, who quarterbacked the football team and has developed a knack for doing the little things that make him a valuable asset, Mate said, and Dan Newton, who has developed confidence in his shot.
Spotswood finished last season 15-10 and fourth in the GMC Blue Division.
However, last year’s champion, Cardinal McCarrick High School, will not be a factor since the parochial institution closed its doors in June.
“I think we’re going to surprise people,” Mate said. “J.F. Kennedy [Memorial High School] has some big kids coming back and Bishop Ahr is always a tough opponent, and I expect they will compete for the title. But we’ll be in the mix too.”