CHESTERTOWN Upcounty sports fans have high expectations for the north Warren Varsity Boys Basketball team this year, considering last season’s success and the graduation of only three players.
Last season, the Cougars fought to secure the second place in the Adirondack League Western Division, amassing a 9-9 league record, 10-10 overall. North Warren lost close games to both Warrensburg and Fort Ann because of buzzer beaters, but achieved a significant win against Corinth — a team that qualifies as B-level. Their campaign didn’t stop in the regular season — they played two games in the Section II tournament.
Three talented players graduated last year: Benn Frasier, Kristin Seeley, and Karl Brugger.
Stepping up to fill the void they left are brothers Nick and Anthony Sapienza, as well as Ethan Schenke — considered the top returners.
Speaking of some of his strongest players, coach Jason Humiston said that 6’ 3” sophomore Jacob Dunkley has really impressed the coaching staff with his talent and work ethic.
“They may beat him, but they will not out-work him,” Humiston said.
Humiston added that Nick Sapienza, also a sophomore, “can shoot with the best of them” and scored 52 three-point shots last season, while senior, Ethan Schenke, can run the team and “knock down shots as well.”
In terms of team chemistry, Humiston said that the players are all friends and have grown close over the past few seasons.
Also, the players work very hard, and are hungry to surpass last season’s record, the coach said.
Their practice sessions exhibit both the players’ intense effort and their coach’s focus on helping them improve all aspects of their skills.
This summer, the players participated in St. Lawrence University’s Basketball Camp, participated in the Hudson Falls and Queensbury summer leagues, and attended open gym at North Warren High to play basketball two nights per week.
Watching the team practice this week, Humiston offered his thoughts about the season.
“Our goal never changes—we want to get better through the season. November and December are about winning and learning, January and February are about winning and losing. Our goal is to win the West Divison of the league.”