SCRANTON — Despite losing four starters to graduation, Scranton Prep head coach Andrew Kettel believes the culture is in place for the Cavaliers to continue their winning ways.
Guard Tim Rose, who is now playing for Binghamton University, guard Bobby Casey, forward Matt Bednarz and forward/center Matt Bershefsky are gone from last year’s team that finished with a 24-4 record, including a perfect 8-0 in league play, and advanced to the second round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 3A playoffs before losing to Imhotep Charter.
Senior Joe Rossi is the lone returning starter, but junior guard Paddy Casey played significant minutes off the bench last season.
Seniors Dan D’Arienzo and Kevin Holmes, who returns after missing last year with an ACL injury, are expected to see time at the guard and forward positions. Juniors Logan Bailey, Nick Dende and Brett Para should also see time at guard. Sophomore Wes Simons and freshman Leo O’Boyle may contribute at forward or center.
Scranton Prep created a challenging non-league schedule featuring successful teams from Maryland and New York.
“We believe to be able to be the best, you have to play and beat the best teams,” Kettel said. “We try to make our schedule as tough as possible and it paid dividends last year because we didn’t lose any games locally. We hope that playing bigger schools will also help prepare us for the state tournament.”
While the team may be inexperienced in some areas, Kettel is hopeful the young players will improve throughout the season.
“We’re young, but we’re talented,” he said. “If we can gain some positive experience early in the year, I know we have enough talent. We hope to be competitive in the league and see what we can do in the district playoffs.
“And, our goal is always to make the state tournament.”
Kettel expects Abington Heights, Scranton and West Scranton to provide the toughest competition in Lackawanna League Division 1 play.
“Abington Heights’ size is unmatched in the area,” he said. “I also expect Scranton and West Scranton to be much improved due to the return of many key players.”
Scranton Prep opens its season at 7:15 p.m. Friday in a non-league game at Meyers High School in Wilkes-Barre.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.