Kingston High looks to build on success
Tigers return many players from squad that reached sectional semifinals in 2015-16
Kingston High’s boys basketball team regrouped and took a giant step last season, going from two wins in 2014-15 to 17 victories and a spot in the sectional semifinals.
The Tigers — still young, fast and athletic — are aiming to continue stepping in that right direction this year.
Kingston starts its 20th season under head coach Ron Kelder at 6 p.m. Saturday, playing Spackenkill in Poughkeepsie’s Hall of Fame Tournament. The Tigers open at home next Thursday with a 7 p.m. contest against John S. Burke Catholic.
The Tigers, 17-5 last season, lost three key pieces from that team as graduation claimed Andrai Bailey and AllStar sixth man Alex Karamanos. Guard Dante Nardi left to do his senior year at a prep school.
“We lost three-fifths of the team, but we have a lot of guys back,” said Kelder, who has a good nucleus back in junior guards Chris Wright and Damani Thomas, plus seniors Chris
Lacey, Reid Jordan, Jasir Hymes and Tre’Shon Rashada.
“I feel that’s a veteran group, per se in that they got a lot of minutes last year. They got their varsity experience,” Kelder said. “We’re going to have to be a really good defensive team, because we’re not very big and our big guys are young. They’re going to be thrown into the fire.”
Up from the junior varsity are 6-foot-4 Jimmy Moot and 6-3 Skilar Ryan, plus guards Garrett Warnecke and Tyquan Watson. Brian Moore, a New York City transfer who turned 15 at the beginning of the week, also joins the team. All five newcomers are sophomores.
“The sophomores are going to play right away. We have expectations that they need to come in and fill some positive roles for us,” Kelder said, “and they are expected to perform at a level and perform at an energy level that is high.
“I’m expecting to go at least eight deep early; eight guys that can really contribute at a high level. It might be guys that we’re asking a lot from early, but that’s what it is. I don’t have a choice. There’s probably going to be at least one sophomore starting game in and game out and other sophomores that are going to come off the bench quick.”
Wright and a bigger, stronger Thomas will be the starting backcourt with Wright at the point. Lacey will also start, then it’s between Jordan, Rashada, Ryan and Moot for the other two spots.
“If I go with Skilar, it gives me a little more size in the game,” Kelder said. “If I go away from Skilar, I’m going to be smaller and quicker, but that means I’m probably putting Lacey in the middle of the floor, which he’s capable of doing, but he’s really more valuable to us all over the floor or in the wings.
“I’m trying to develop Ryan and Moot to be able to run that middle of the court, be the size guys that play for us around the rim.
“If I see early that they’re not ready for that,” Kelder noted, “then I got to go to that more veteran, more smaller, maybe a little more athletic lineup. They (Ryan and Moot) are extremely athletic for their size, but they’re young.
“Losing Alex was a big loss, because Alex was a guy who gave you 120 percent every single second of the game and played probably five inches taller than he is,” said Kelder, who is looking for that same kind of impact player off the bench.
“I’m still trying to find that Alex Karamanos guy,” he said. “I’m looking for that guy who can change what is going on. If we got a lead, pump that lead up. If we’re losing, get us back into the game. Make a change.”
Contenders for that
role could be Rashada, Warnecke (still not fully recovered from an injury) and Moore.
“He’s very quick, very athletic, has good hands and is a smart, athletic guy with long arms,” Kelder said about Moore. “He’s a kid who could put more gas into the lineup.
“I think we’re going to be a little different versatility-wise. We’re not going to rely on one or two guys,” Kelder added. “I think that everybody that is on the court is going to be able to contribute some way at all times in the rotation, which is something that is very beneficial.
“We’re going to play more defenses, probably more than we played last year,” he said. “And we’re going to try to create some havoc. If we’re able to do that, we’ll be in a good place. If we’re not able to do that, then we’re going to have to be even more solid mentally and fundamentally.”
With six returnees and five newcomers, the key will be cohesiveness.
“We have a lot of pieces to the puzzle,” Kelder said. “We have to put the puzzle together and make it one and don’t let it come apart as individuals. We have to keep it together”
Middletown and Pine Bush are the teams to beat again in the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Division I and in Section 9, Class AA. The Tigers beat Middletown at home during the regular season, but got pushed around in a 93-76 loss in the AA semis. The Middies went on to win the title and reach the state final four.
“They physically and mentally took our heads totally out of what we wanted to do. They took one piece of the puzzle out at a time and just dismantled us,” Kelder remarked. “It hasn’t left my system, so for anybody who was involved in that game it shouldn’t have left their system either.”
That in mind, the Tigers plan to be more physical.
“We’re a long, lanky, thin athletic team. I think we’ll be feisty,” Kelder noted. “I think we’re going to bang people around a bit and be aggressive.”
Kingston was a major underdog when it began last year and caught a lot of teams off guard with its quick resurgence.
“I would consider us still the underdog, which is fine,” Kelder remarked.
“I like our athleticism. I like our attitude right now. Right now, we’re loose and, hopefully, we walk in Saturday loose, play hard, play smart and get off to a good start.” SCHEDULE DEC. — 3, vs. Spackenkill at Poughkeepsie, 6 p.m.; 8, BURKE CATHOLIC, 7 p.m.; 12, at Watervliet, 6:30 p.m.; 16, VALLEY CENTRAL, 7 p.m.; 22, MINISINK VALLEY, 7 p.m.; 28, at Troy, 7 p.m.; 29, vs. Lansingburgh at Troy, 5 p.m. JAN. — 4, at Warwick, 6:30 p.m.; 6, NEWBURGH, 7 p.m.; 10, MONROEWOODBURY, 7 p.m.; 12, at Pine Bush, 6:30 p.m.; 14, BETHLEHEM, 6 p.m.; 20, MIDDLETOWN, 7 p.m.; 31, at Newburgh, 7 p.m. FEB. — 2, at Monroe-Woodbury, 6:30 p.m.; 4, in Officials vs. Cancer Tournament at Dutchess Community College, 4 p.m.; 6, at Washingtonville, 6:30 p.m.; 8, PINE BUSH, 7 p.m.; 16, at Middletown, 6:30 p.m. Home games in CAPS.
LOCAL SPORTS CALENDAR for non-residents and is due at time of registration. For more information, call Rob Dassie at (845) 481-7334. —— BOWLING Saugerties Bowling Association Tournament: Dec, 3-4 at the Saugeries Bowlers Club. Open to all Saugerties bowlers. Teams can be composed of any combination of five men or women. Squad times are 7 p.m. Dec. 3 and 1 p.m. Dec. 4. First place guaranteed $1,500 payout. Handicap is 90 percent of difference between 1125 and team average. First 40 teams are accepted. Entry fee: $75 per team (paid at the time of competition). For more information, call the Bowlers Club at (845) 246-4969. Tournament Club: Next qualifying event of the season will be held 1 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Saugerties Bowlers Club (Please be there by 12:30 for check-in). All bowlers will use last year’s average. This is a handicap tournament. Regular tournaments will be held the last Sunday of each month through March. All bowlers receive points for each tournament they participate in toward the April Championship event. For more information, call Rob Houtman at (845) 2464969 or John Cook Jr. at (845) 417-1512. —— FENCING Woodstock Fencing Club: Meets 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the Woodstock Elementary School (when school is open). Now gearing up for the 2016 season. Instruction given at all levels in all weapons — Foil, Sabre and Epee from 6:30-8. Practice and bouting. Fence dry or electric. It is a non-profit Club with volunteer instructors in Ron Zukor of Woodstock, David Osherow of Shokan, George T. Gallagher from Kingston, plus Elene Umberto Schoeps of Olivebridge. BASEBALL Frozen Ropes Open House: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 11 of the sports training facility on 24 Old Black Meadow Road in Chester. Open House will feature free pitching and hitting evaluations, video analysis, bat speed and velocity measurements. Every player that attends receives a $10 gift card. For more information, visit www. frozenropes.com or call (845) 469-9507. —— BASKETBALL Events Red Hook-Rhinebeck Elks Lodge 2022 Hoop Shoot: For youngsters age 8-13 in the Red Hook, Rhinebeck and Pine Plains school districts Dec. 3 at Bard College’s Stevenson Gymnasium. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.; shoot starts at 9:30. Each participant must provide a copy of their birth certificate. For more information, contact Richard Belcher at (845) 758-3129 or at firstname.lastname@example.org Youth Programs Kingston Recreation Youth Basketball: Registration now being accepted online at www. kingstonparksandrec.org and at the Department’s Main Office in the Andy Murphy (Midtown) Neighborhood Center, 467 Broadway in Kingston. Program is for ages 14-18 who do not play on their high school varsity, junior varsity, freshman or modified teams. All players must be age 14 and no older than 18 as of Jan. 1, 2017. League games will be played Sunday afternoons at the Murphy Center, beginning in mid-January for the 14-18 division. Fee is $40 for City of Kingston residents and $50 There is no charge to join for classes, lessons or fencing. Only requirement is $10-peryear dues for a USA Fencing membership. For more information, call Elene Schoeps at (845) 657-8021 or George T. Gallagher at 331-3832, e-mail YESUS@ hvc.rr.com or visit www.ashokan. com/fencing.html —— HEALTH & FITNESS Jazzercise Classes: Offered 5:30 p.m. Mondays at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Albany Ave., Kingston. All ages and fitness levels welcomed. Local instructor Cathy Shaw has been working with toddlers to seniors for 24 years. For more information, call (845) 339-1545 or email email@example.com Jazzercise Lite & Fusion Classes: Offered 9 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at the Marbletown Community Center, U.S. Route 209, in Stone Ridge. All ages and fitness levels welcomed in this fun and effective program. Local instructor Cathy Shaw has been working with toddlers to seniors for 24 years. For more information, call (845) 339-1545 or email ecshaw87@ aol.com Gentle Yoga: 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays in the HealthAlliance Hospital-Mary’s Avenue Campus auditorium in Kingston. Instructor is Deb Albright. $8 per class. Mats are provided. For more information, call (845) 616-3765. Senior Mall Walking: The Ulster County Office for the Aging invite seniors to join them for walking at the Hudson Valley Mall every Tuesday at 10 a.m. All participants receive a coupon to buy tea, coffee or water at The Coffee Shoppe in the Mall. For more information, call the Office for the Aging at (845) 3403456. —— OUTDOOR SPORTS Trailsweepers Snow and Sports Club: Open to new members of all ages. Trailsweepers ski, snowboard, cross country ski, snowshoe, windsurf, mountain bike, road bike, hike, backpack, canoe/kayak and have fun. Club meets second and fourth Tuesdays of the month 7:30 p.m. at Stella’s Italian Restaurant in Uptown Kingston. For more information and to check out their events calendar, visit www.trailsweepers.org —— SOFTBALL Frozen Ropes Open House: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 11 of the sports training facility on 24 Old Black Meadow Road in Chester. Open House will feature free pitching and hitting evaluations, video analysis, bat speed and velocity measurements. Every player that attends receives a $10 gift card. For more information, visit www. frozenropes.com or call (845) 469-9507. Travel Teams Dutchess Debs 18U: Looking for a few players, including a pitcher, for the 2017 season. If interested, call Mike Sheedy at (914) 474-6794. Mid-Hudson Rebels 14U: Looking for two solid players. Program features year-round training that includes winter, spring and summer tournaments as well as indoor instruction at the YMCA of Kingston and Ulster County. Interested players should call Boyd Vaughn at (845) 389-1667. —— WRESTLING Clubs Mid-Hudson Dark Corner Wrestling Club: Meets 6-8 p.m. Wednesday and Fridays in the Kingston High School wrestling room. Beginning through advanced wrestling. Folkstyle, Freestyle and Greco-Roman. For more information, call coach Cappy Weiner at (845) 5320364.
Damani Thomas goes up for a layup during a recent Kingston boys basketball practice at Kate Walton Field House. The junior guard is among the returnees from last year’s squad.