Wyoming Area boys basketball coach Al Brogna is well aware that speed will be a big factor in how his team performs this season.
The Warriors will have to be quick in their development as a team that is young and limited in varsity experience. As they develop, they will need to be fast on the court to offset what will be a size disadvantage in most games.
Juniors Evan Musto, Jeremy Zezza and Nick Gushka all have experience, but Wyoming Area has just one senior on the team and he has never spent a day practicing with the program.
“We’re very young with the exception of those three, but we do have some athletic boys in the program that are coming up,” Brogna said. “We’re going to experience some growing pains early on, but it’s one of those things that if we continue to work hard in practice, we’ll start to turn the corner and, hopefully, we can start becoming competitive on a nightly basis.”
Jeremy Seabridge, a 6-foot-1 senior who could potentially provide some much needed muscle under the basket, will begin working with the team once he recovers from a neck injury suffered in football season.
Ryan Murray, a 5-11 sophomore who could also be a factor in the lineup, is also out while recovering from an injury suffered in the final football game against rival Pittston Area.
The Warriors finished last out of five teams in Division 2 of the Wyoming Valley Conference last season with a 2-11 conference record and went 3-20 overall. GAR won the division and Lake-Lehman, Nanticoke and Holy Redeemer also had winning records in the format where Division 2 teams play each other twice and play each of the Division 3 teams once.
Musto and Gushka are 6-foot guards.
The 6-1 Zezza can play in the frontcourt, as needed.
Brogna is hoping Seabridge can boost the team’s inside game.
Anthony Shaver and Tyler Dougherty, who both played on the junior varsity team as freshmen, could also be ready to make significant contributions.
“We have a couple of youngsters that are sophomores, who put in a lot of work in the offseason between leagues and some off-season conditioning and they’ve gotten a lot better than where they were last year,” Brogna said. “We’re trying to speed up the learning curve with these kids and get them to practice and play at a faster pace.”
The Warriors open Dec. 6 at Old Forge in The Badger Game, which honors the memory of Anthony Marseco, who played at Old Forge and coached in the Wyoming Area School District.
In some cases, other commitments have kept many of the players on the team from playing a lot of basketball in the offseason.
“We’re a little bit behind and a little bit small, so we have to speed up the learning curve over the next few weeks,” Brogna said.
With the size and experience deficits, there will not be a lot of room for error.
“We have to work on all the little things,” Brogna said. “We have to be a fundamentally sound team. We have to play the game a lot faster.”
Wyoming Area opens its season Friday, Dec. 6 at Old Forge in the annual Badger Game.