Hilton Garden Inn - Stony Brook

Wildcats have the talent, but lack experience

December 15, 2006 | 05:03 AM
The Shoreham-Wading River boys' basketball team hopes to improve on last year's disappointing 5-9 (7-12 overall) record. New head coach Kevin Culhane returns eight players from last year's team.

"We had two really good offensive players last year who between them averaged about 26 points per game," Culhane said. "Plus we're missing a big guy inside. This year's team is talented but they're still lacking in varsity experience. They're going to need some time to adjust to the speed of varsity basketball."

Senior center Sean Tinley at 6-2 and forward Sean Austin at 6-3 give the Wildcats some strength inside. Culhane is hopeful that Tinley can develop a good post game as the season progresses. Austin, the quarterback for the football team, is a tremendous athlete. Austin can play both an inside and outside game and is equally capable of driving to the basket or draining a three.

Joining Austin and Tinley is 5-11 senior guard Dan Turano. A solid three-point shooter, Turano plays larger than his height and likes to mix it up underneath. Juniors Mike O'Donnell and Kyle Kolakowski will share the point guard role. O'Donnell is in his first year of varsity play and has distinguished himself with his crisp passing so far. Kolakowski started for the Wildcats last year. Seniors Brandon Abbatello and Dan Franck, along with junior Kevin DeFranco, will all see considerable time in reserve roles.

"I think we're pretty athletic and quick," said Culhane. "On offense I want to rebound and run with the ball. We've had some success so far in running the ball and I think we're better right now running than in a half-court game. If we do get into a half-court game we'll try and spread the ball around and work to Sean underneath with four guys on the perimeter."

Defensively the Wildcats will play an aggressive man-to-man or slip into a tight zone depending on their opponent. "I've seen improvement in every game so far," said Culhane. "I hope we will progress and develop some traps and presses as the season goes on."

Culhan continued, "It's a tough league. You have some perennial powers in Amityville, Bayport and John Glenn, along with some traditional rivalries with Mount Sinai, Westhampton and Miller Place. It's a very competitive league and hopefully we'll challenge for a playoff spot. It's going to be a challenge but if we play the way we are capable of playing, I think we'll be a playoff team."

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