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‘Speed and quickness’ key for Copley boys basketball team

12/5/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COPLEY — Copley High School boys basketball head coach Mark Dente said one of the strengths of this year’s team is it features a good mix of “youth and veterans.”

The seniors on this year’s team are Todd Williams, Will Thomas, Brandon Chillious, Will Andrew and Larry Spear.

“Todd Williams and Brandon Chillious are two-year letterman — and will be three-year lettermen after this year — so they are experienced, but the other three haven’t played a lot of varsity,” the coach said. “Will Thomas played about half a season of varsity last year. But overall, I would say we have a mixture of experienced and inexperienced seniors at the varsity level.”

According to Dente, the other key players on this year’s squad are: juniors Justin Hovorka and Conner Huth; and sophomores Larnell Nealy, Bryce Harvey and Daniel Ester.

“We have three sophomores that are going to be playing,” the coach said. “Our sophomore class is extremely strong, with an excellent point guard in Larnell, a great shooter in Bryce Harvey and an outstanding all-around player in Daniel Lester.”

Dente said the starters this year will be Williams, Chillious, Nealy, Huth and Hovorka.

“Offensively, we will be versatile with both a strong inside and outside game,” he said. “Defensively, we will be very quick and athletic and install a mixture of man-to-man and zone-type trapping defenses. I expect us to probably play more zone than we have in the past. We really haven’t played any zone in the last three seasons, but I do expect that we will have to play some zone this year to make up for some of our size at times. I expect junior Justin Hovorka to be a legitimate post player. He’s a legitimate 6-foot-3 post player, which is nice to have.”

One area where Dente said he would like to see his team improve this season is rebounding.

“We don’t have a lot of size, so maximum effort and positioning will be important. Rebounding comes down to hustle, desire and good positioning,” he stated. “We need to play at an up-tempo pace to keep teams off balance. Our keys will be speed and quickness. Our outside shooting is pretty good.”

Last year, Copley finished with a 12-10 overall record and made it to the sectional final, where the team lost to Canton Timken High School.

This year, Dente said, the team has one primary focus for the season.

“Our goal for the season is obvious and that’s to win the Suburban League championship,” he said. “That’s probably anybody’s goal in the league, I would imagine, but with that being said, we have a demanding home schedule.”

Dente is in his fourth season as Copley’s head coach. His assistant coaches are Steve Doss, Scott Gabor and Doug Allen.

Copley’s next game is tomorrow, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m. against Nordonia High School at Nordonia.

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