By BRENDAN O’LEARY
The Washingtonville boys’ varsity basketball team started their season off just as planned: winning their first game on the road against Port Jervis with a score of 65-50. The gymnasium was packed with fans and spectators as they got their first glance at the team’s talent and effort as both teams battled hard. Next, the Wizards have one of their toughest opponents ahead of them on Thursday December 7th as they prepare to face off against Newburgh Free Academy. This is also the first time the Wizards will get to play on their own stomping grounds this season.
Not unlike previous years, Newburgh is a team that is full of skilled, athletic, and very quick players. Key returning players for NFA include forward, Sam Clark, and guard, Izzy Williams, who both score in transition efficiently and love to run up and down the court. This year’s Newburgh team clearly displays talent, but as shown last year, was not strong enough to take down the Wizards. In the Section 9 quarterfinal playoff game, Washingtonville held on and slightly outworked a powerful team, barely outscoring them with a final of 53-51.
BRENDAN O'LEARY FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
Going into the season underrated and overlooked, Washingtonville is looking forward to making this game a strong statement, proving that they are the team to beat in Section 9. Important players coming off great opening performances include senior guards, Brendan O’Leary and Ryan Johnson, while junior Kareem Lubin controlled the paint down low. O’Leary and Lubin scored efficiently while Johnson was a force on defense, turning attempted passes into steals commonly resulting in a basket for the Wizards.
Sophomore guard, Ryan Graham, surprised many by providing a spark off the bench scoring 10 points on only 5 attempts from the field. Ryan explained, “I think we can beat NFA off basket cuts and driving to the basket since they often over deny. If we can stop them from pushing the ball, we will be successful.”
Expect the gym to be crowded and full of excitement as the Wizards take on the Newburgh team that is hungry for revenge and a victory.