The Reds are coming off a trip to the Section 5 finals.
NEWARK — Bob Havrilla’s game-to-game goal is pretty simple, and pretty clear.
“We have to score one more point than the other team,” he said.
To that end, his smallish squad has been concentrating on its strengths: lots of speed, above-average athleticism, and a shared cohesiveness.
“We’re 6-2 across the board,” coach Havrilla said, looking forward to his fifth year as head coach, 24th in the Newark basketball program. He figures to play eight kids every night, “and we’re very athletic – very athletic: that’s a good thing to be.”
The Reds finished last season in the Sectional finals, losing to Batavia after finishing third in the Finger Lakes East League. His team got better, showed more maturity on the floor, and finished the season strong. Havrilla likes Newark’s chances in the league this winter, but Geneva and Mynderse are still going to be tough games.
“We’re going to be up-tempo,” he said. “We’ll force the tempo and play a full-court game. We want to push the pace of the game because of our athletic ability. Everybody I have can pretty much handle the ball.”
Are his kids in the kind of condition to handle that kind of pace? Are they ready?
Junior Tyler Collins (5-10) has taken over as point guard. “He was a starter and had as good a sectionals as anybody,” Havrilla said. “He really came on at the end of the year. We expect more scoring from him. He’s a good outside shooter and excellent in free throws.”
Senior Micah Wright (6-2), a four-year varsity player, has become a better three-point shooter and will play more on the post. “Between Micah, Jaymee Rosser (6-1) and Phil Tack (6-1) – they’ll do a little bit of everything for us, and they’re our three biggest kids. Micah jumps well, and he is so fluid.”
Rosser, another senior forward, “is one of our better shooters and our best post player. He and Tack are also our best rebounders.” Rosser and Tack, both three-year varsity players, will never be far from the rim.
“Phil Tack is probably our best defender,” said Havrilla. “He is a very good passer and reads the floor well. He’ll always make our inbounds passes.” He also clears a lot of space on the way to the basket, offensively and defensively.
RonDerrick Morris (5-11), a junior guard, is in his second year of varsity play but could easily have a lights-out season. “He’s our fastest, most athletic, on-the-ball defender,” Havrilla said. “He’s a slasher on offense and plays offense pretty well. He’s one of our keys to being successful. I don’t know who’s going to defend him. He’s our X-Factor.”
Senior forward Paul Dingman (6-1) will be a situational player for the Red. “He’s a good rebounder, he can score around the basket and he’s a good teammate,” Havrilla said.
Junior small forward Shamar Logins (5-9) is up from the jayvees and will help the Reds press the attack. “He’s a very good shooter and ball-handler,” Havrilla said.
Zeron Bratcher (6-0), a senior, is back with the team after a knee injury ended his season last year. “We’re pretty excited to have him back,” Havrilla said. “He’s very good on the ball, a good defender man-to-man, and a slasher when he moves to the basket. He’s a good athlete and we expect a lot of him.”
The Reds lost Anthony Lombardi to graduation. He’s at Brockport now, and Havrilla goes a little misty when he thinks what this team could have been with someone like Lombardi on the floor: Lombardi led the team in scoring and rebounding.
Newark will open its season in a tourney at Skidmore College on Dec. 6, taking on Ogdensburg, the state runners-up last season. The home opener is against Geneva on Dec. 10 – a big game.
“This team has good chemistry,” he said. “Four of our six seniors have played together for three years and some of the guys have played football together for years before that. This is a pretty good group. We have higher expectations this year.”