2017-18 Varsity Basketball Preview
Coming off one of its most disappointing winters in recent memory, with only four wins to show for the season, the varsity basketball team has almost nowhere to go but up. An intriguing influx of newcomers joins returning starter Bryce Daley to raise the hopes of Hilltop hoops fans for the upcoming season. Daley, a deadly outside shooter, led the team in scoring last year with 15 points per game (to go along with 5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals) and gives the team a poised and experienced floor leader at point guard, one who has already had a season under his belt to master the nuances of head coach Harlan Dodson’s system.
That experience bodes well for Daley’s many teammates new to Dodson’s system, as only one other player returns who was part of the regular rotation last year, guard Dylan Sanchez ’18, who will be counted on to provide further leadership in the weeks ahead. Heading the group of newcomers is highly touted Brandon Roughley, who entered Salisbury this fall as a fourth former. Last year as a sophomore, Roughley, a Berkshire County native, helped lead Wahconah Regional High School (Dalton, MA) into the Western Massachusetts playoffs. The 6’8” forward has already attracted the attention of several Division I college programs. Starting to feel intrigued?
Other players new to Salisbury and expected to have an immediate impact on the basketball program include 6’4” guard Sean Ingoglia ’19 from San Francisco, CA (Stuart Hall School); 6’5” center Justin Oliveras ’20, from Hudson, NY (Hudson H.S.); 6’2” guard Mitchell McQuate (a PG from North Andover H.S., North Andover, MA); 6’5” Emmet Sheehan ’18, whose name may be familiar to the baseball faithful in the Salisbury community, as Sheehan is a mainstay of the Knights’ varsity pitching rotation in the spring but who is new to the basketball program; and 6’1” Parker Stone ’20 (Old Lyme H.S., Old Lyme, CT). Two-year junior-varsity mainstay Winston Jules ’19 moves up to the main stage this year, as does crafty Seth Gelwarg ’20, whose shooting prowess and all-around court savvy made him an invaluable member of last winter’s j.v. team. Intrigued now?
Rounding out the roster are four returners who saw only limited court-time last season: center Zach Banks ’18, guard Skyler Crawford ’18, forward Gilchrist Gasana ’18, and center Will Philo ’19.
Certainly, Dodson is primed – especially after adding injury to insult last year, in the form of a mid-season torn Achilles tendon on top of the pile-up of losses. “I’m excited for the season,” Dodson recently told one of the team’s followers. “We return some key pieces and have a lot of new talent. We’ll be young but will have more length and athleticism than in years past. The league is as strong as ever,” the third-year program director added circumspectly, “but I think we’ll be able to compete at a high level.”
Whether Dodson’s charges are ready to challenge the likes of Western New England showcase programs such as Avon Old Farms, Hotchkiss, Loomis-Chaffee, Suffield, Taft, and Trinity Pawling remains to be seen. This is a group not lacking in confidence, however, and who seem excited by the challenge of helping to turn the Salisbury program around. Opponents who have already marked a “W” next to Salisbury on their season schedules may be in for a rude awakening.
Our TraditionOver the years, Salisbury School has produced some of the finest basketball teams in New England, qualifying for year-end tournament play 20 times in the last 23 years, including five trips to the championship game. The 2010-2011 season saw Salisbury move up to Class A basketball and the Knights reached the championship game of the NEPSAC boys tournament. In March of 2012, Salisbury captured the New England Class A final with a 72-60 win over Choate Rosemary Hall for the first basketball championship in the School's history.
Now a member of NEPSAC Class A, Salisbury plays a challenging schedule that includes traditional prep school opponents and games against the Williams College JV and the United States Military Academy Prep School. The team has also traveled to many in-season tournaments, including the Doc Hurley Classic (Hartford, CT), the National Prep School Invitational (University of Rhode Island), the Thomas Blackburn Tournament (Worcester, MA), the Hall of Fame Classic (Springfield, MA), and the Sun Youth Holiday Classic (Montreal, CAN). This year, the Knights will play in the Hoop Mountain Prep School Showcase and return to Loomis-Chaffee School (Windsor, CT), where they have won four consecutive Bob Southall Holiday Tournaments.
Numerous Salisbury players have continued their careers in the collegiate ranks. Recently, twelve Knights have gone on to play Division I basketball, including Jason Pancoe '09 (Army), Zaid Hearst '11 (Quinnipiac) and Ryan Frazier '12 (Bucknell). Lachlan Magee '10 was the leading scorer at Endicott College last year as a sophomore and Brandon Hedley '12 is starting at guard for Susquehanna University.
Salisbury hoopsters have also played at Oklahoma, Tulane, LaSalle, Massachusetts, Utah, Bucknell, and George Washington. Other Crimson Knights have represented schools such as Middlebury, Trinity, Bates, Assumption, St. Lawrence, Rhodes, Wesleyan, Merrimack, Susquehanna, and Hobart. Demetrius Porter '08 (Connecticut College) was named New England Small College Athletic Conference "Rookie of the Year" for the 2008-2009 season. In addition, three former Knights -- Rock Battistoni, Jameel Heywood and Terence Skyrm -- have played professionally overseas.
Three members of the 2012-2013 Salisbury team were recognized by the New England Boys Basketball Coaches Association for their outstanding play. Samuel Dingba '14 was selected to the All-NEPSAC Class A first team, while KJ Lee '14 and Mackenzie Morrison '14 received honorable mention.
History of the Program
Salisbury students began playing intramural basketball as early as 1907 on the ground floor of North Dormitory. The boys then moved their contests into anew 40-foot by 70-foot gymnasium on the site of the current Wachtmeister-Bates Math and Science Building. Basketball remained an intramural activity until 1922 when a match was play against Pawling, yielding a 22-9 victory. But interest soon lapsed and the sport reverted to intramural status until 1934 with two scheduled games versus Lenox School. A reduction in the number of students during the 1930s, and heightened interest in intramural hockey and skiing, however, made filling out team rosters difficult, and soon, basketball again disappeared from the interscholastic schedule, only to be revived and placed on a permanent basis in 1944. Wartime restrictions on travel limited the number of games, but in the winter of 1945-1946, a full schedule was played. Since that day, basketball has played an important role on the winter sports scene. In 1957-1958 the team moved into new quarters in the recently completed Myers Gymnasium. Between 1990 and 2003 coaches Ken Stone and Chris Hinchey guided the team to 13 consecutive appearances in the New England tournament, finishing second in 2000, with an overall season record of 23-5. During that same period, the team compiled a combined 225-95 record. The basketball squad played its last game in Myers Gymnasium in 2009 after more than 50 seasons in that facility, and now plays in the Flood Athletic Center. In 2012, the Crimson Knights won the New England Championship under the leadership of Head Coach Jeff Ruskin. Today, the Knights are led by Head Coach Harlan Dodson.