The M-A boys basketball team has high hopes for the 2015-2016 season. With two returning starting guards, senior Christian Fioretti and junior Eric Norton, and eight returning seniors, the Bears have the experience and depth to improve from previous years.
Head coach Mike Molieri explains, “This year's goals are a lot higher than previous years. We have a lot of players returning. We played a lot this summer, over 40 games, and there's a lot of great energy going into the season. The players are showing a lot of commitment, especially with the weights, strength, and conditioning; it's been really amazing. Our goal every year is to win a Pacific Athletic League (PAL) championship and then go from there into Central Coast Section (CCS) and whatever transpires.”
This year coach Molieri hopes to improve the Bears' offense by quickening the pace of the game. “Our culture has always been blue collar mentality: defend first and foremost. I think this year we are going to see a lot better offense. We have a lot of guys who can score consistently: Christian and Lucas Fioretti, Blake Henry and Eric Norton. We’ve got guys coming off the bench who can score as well. So, we should be seeing a lot more high scoring and up-tempo games. We have a lot of guards and we are going to push the ball a lot more, see more transitions, and a set a fast pace.”
Coach Molieri also emphasized the Bears' purposely tough schedule. “We have a very, very challenging schedule as I always like to have because to get recognized, we have to play the good, tough teams. We play Riordan and Bellarmine, two WCAL teams in preseason and Serra in a scrimmage. We also play our local rivalries Menlo and Sacred Heart Prep (SHP) in January, which are always challenging games. Our big rivalry within the PAL continues to get more intense each year: Sequoia High School. We are really looking to bring that PAL title to M-A.”
Additionally, Molieri looks to the Fioretti's and Norton for leadership this year. “We have guys who have a lot of experience like starters, C. Fioretti and Norton. We also have players who may not have gotten experience last year, but who are going to have a lot more expectations this year. Senior Blake Henry has physically grown and has a lot of potential as a scorer. We also have some bruisers, like senior Kailen Kershner and some guys moving up from junior varsity: Kai Winterling, Will Perrone, and Raymond Fowler. Their challenge will be the physical and mental aspects of the game. From junior varsity to varsity it's a lot more intense and challenging. They are all guys who can get a lot of minutes for us.”
Senior Blake Henry goes up for a basket
Senior Christian Fioretti drives the ball up the court
Seniors C. Fioretti and Kershner echoed Molieri: “We are returning a lot of seniors this year so we have some pretty high expectations. The first goal is a PAL championship. We haven't won a CCS championship in 27 years, so CCS is definitely also a goal. We've worked really hard in the off season both in the summer and spring. We were up before 7 am four days per week this summer for conditioning, weights, and skills. It was tough, but I think it's going to pay off.” C. Fioretti also added, “This year hopefully we'll be a little better offensively: more fast paced and getting shots off quickly. We are also planning on implementing a press this year.” Kershner concluded, “We are looking forward to getting started and encourage all the students to come out and support our team!”
The Bears' season starts at the end of November. Be sure to come out and support M-A!