Indians hope to pick up where they left off
Bolstered by the return of two standout players from last season, the North East boys’ basketball team is looking to take the next step in 2016-17.
Senior forward Nasir Williams, the team’s leading scorer from a year ago, and junior teammate Kobi Matthews will once again suit up for the Indians, who take the court this winter with loftier expectations after fielding a mostly inexperienced roster last year
William returns after earning All-County honors, while Matthews garnered honorable mention accolades.
“We’re a year older, we’re more experienced. We only have five seniors and we have a ton of juniors but they’re far ahead of where they were last year at this time,” second-year North East coach Alan Foskey said. “I don’t know if we’re going to be a good team but we should be a little better, I think.”
The Indians (5-18 overall, 4-10 Susquehanna) fell in the opening round of the 2A East Region playoffs to Fallston after a regular season in which they won only two games in the month of February. However, close games down the stretch against good opponents showcased the growth of Foskey’s youthful squad.
As the team prepares for its season-opener on Tuesday against Patterson Mill, the second-year coach doesn’t expect to use the same lineup on a nightly basis. An influx of talented players from the program’s JV squad and the return of several contributors from last season, including Williams and Matthews, will result in different floor combinations.
“I think Kevin Garnett is going to have a nice year for us. I think Tim Webster is going to have a nice year for us. Tim plays much bigger than he is. He’s really blossomed,” Foskey said. “Chase Hollister is a good shooter. He has good size. Payton Hoskins, who came up from JV, is very solid. Kenyatta Lane is a very solid player. Eric Potts is going to give us some depth at the center position.
“It’s going to be hard for me to put five out there and stay with them the whole time. It’s going to almost be by committee. That depth is going to allow us to do things that we couldn’t do last year.”
Anchored by their returning All-County forward, the Indians have the potential to finish with a much better record than last season.
“He’s a kid that gives you 100 percent on the floor every minute he’s out there. He gives you everything he has,” Foskey said of Williams, who averaged 11.2 points per game in 201516. “Hopefully he’ll pick up where he left off.”
Foskey noted that only juniors and seniors will open the year on varsity, allowing the underclassmen to gain experience on JV.
“Last year, you kind of know what we had. We just tried to improve each month and I felt we ended on a pretty good note. We played a pretty good February,” Foskey said. “[I’ll be happy] if we can pick up where we left off last February.”
Follow Jordan Schatz on Twitter: @Jordan_Whig
Junior guard Kobie Matthews, pictured, who earned honorable mention last season, is one of two returning players for the North East boys’ basketball team with postseason accolades.