With nine of his seniors departing and just two players with significant varsity experience returning, Foxcroft Academy boys’ basketball coach Dave Carey understands that it may take some time for his team to hit its stride.
“We’re a work in progress,” said Coach Carey, who enters his 17th season as a head coach at Foxcroft. “We have some weaknesses we need to shore up, and we’re working at it.”
The team will be without three-year varsity players Hunter Law (second in the Big East conference with 3.3 assists per game and fifth with 2.1 steals per game in 2013-2014), Sam Keane (ninth in the conference with 1.7 steals per game and tenth with 5.6 rebounds per game), and Kolby Kendall (second on the team in scoring and third in rebounding). The departing trio was a big part of the Ponies’ improbable run to the Class B East semifinals in 2012-2013, and all three were starters for last year’s club, which won four of its final six games to finish 7-11 and earn the 12th seed in the Class B East postseason tournament bracket before being bounced by #5 Winslow 58-46.
The cupboard is far from bare, however, as do-everything junior Hunter Smith returns and looks to build on a strong sophomore campaign that saw him finish fourth in the Big East with 17.1 points per game and second with 2.3 steals per game while also placing second on the Ponies in rebounds and assists. Fellow junior Dylan Harmon-Weeks, who was third on the team in assists and fifth in scoring last winter, also returns for his third varsity season and is expected to run the point.
Senior Sean Cody, who scored a career-high 10 points at PCHS late last season, is ready to make the leap into the starting lineup, where he’ll man the center position vacated by Kendall. Sophomore Riley Richard, who swung up to varsity as a freshman, is expected to start alongside Harmon-Weeks in the backcourt. Seniors Isaiah Kennell, Drew Smith, and Alex Hung, sophomore Max Santagata, and freshmen Drew Dankert and Nick Clawson will add depth to the roster and are all looking to carve out a bigger role.
The Ponies are set to travel to Ellsworth for a 7 pm tip-off in the season opener Friday night after a preseason that saw them defeat Orono and Madison and fall to Nokomis and Hall-Dale. They’ll host Dexter in the home opener Monday at 7 pm.
“We won’t really know where we stand until we start playing some regular season games,” said Coach Carey.
Photo of Hunter Smith was taken by Kevin Xu ’14 last season.