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Ben Painchaud ‘18, Sports Editor

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With the fall sports season having drawn to a close, the focus now shifts to the basketball team, which is looking to live up to its preseason #2 billing. This past week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Troy Salmans ‘18 and get his thoughts on the upcoming season as well as his goals/expectations for the team. For the lanky, sweet-shooting forward, this could be a breakout year. The team is looking to avenge its exit from the South Sectional Semi-finals last year at the hands of Newton North, and Troy is primed to play a key role in this quest. “I think this year we definitely have a good shot of definitely winning both the Catholic Conference and the sectional championship.” Unbeknown to most, preparations towards achieving this goal had already begun to take form back in the hot summer months of July and August. While most students could never fathom being anywhere near school during the summer months, Troy and his teammates were putting in hours of work in what I’m sure was a sweltering McNeice Pavilion.

That drive and work ethic carried over into the fall, a time Troy has spent adding bulk to his frame and continuing to get in shape. “I worked a lot this fall season with Mr. Roldan. I was in the weight room every Tuesday and Thursday with Travis and Carl and a lot of the rest of the team […] to make sure that we’re doing everything we can outside of the season to make sure it’s the best season.” The team is not without its challenges, however, as they lost some veteran senior leaders. As to how the team plans on replacing the production and leadership of these seniors, Troy offers, “In a sense, by losing seniors last year like Jack (Loughnanne) and (Stephen) Timmons and Nick (Gill), we’ve gained even better leaders this year in Travis and Carl, who’ve really stepped up by having after-school runs during the fall, showing that they’re the leaders we need.” He also adds that it will be necessary that “everyone contributes their part. Each person has different parts in leading the team. From the starting five to the last player on the bench … in practice, in everything. The person has to contribute what they can, and if everyone does that, then we will succeed.”

As for how he himself plans on contributing to the team this year, Troy says that, first, “I definitely want to improve getting more playing time, working hard in practice and showing Coach that I deserve to play … doing whatever I can to help the team to win the South, which is obviously the main goal.” Given that BC High was such a great shooting team last year with players like Travis Evee ‘18 and Carl Pierre ‘17, Troy sees his height as being an extra advantage and another factor teams will have to account for this season. Maximizing his height advantage and ability to shoot from outside will, he says, help space the floor and get even better looks for his teammates.

The team’s schedule is going to be exceptionally strong this winter. He believes the strength of schedule to be a reflection of Coach Loughanne’s tough-love style of coaching, “He tells us all the time that we have the toughest schedule. Last year we had like five fluke games that we won by forty and were jokes. This year, we dropped all them, so this year we have barely one ‘gimme’ game. He does that so that we’re ready for the playoffs … A win is a win, gotten by the players, but he definitely has a huge influence on games.” Right off the bat, the team faces a huge test against Needham. It’s a game Troy sees as holding a lot of weight, given that Needham will be coveting the chance to get revenge for its at-home loss to the Eagles in the South Sectional quarter-finals.

For the Eagles, preseason games have served as crucial outlets for them to build chemistry and shake off some of the dust in preparation for their brutal schedule. After lopsided wins against Oliver Ames and Westwood, the Eagles faced their first true preseason test against Central Catholic this past Wednesday (12-7-16), a wake-up call for the team. According to Troy, the game “showed us what we need to be ready for from practice on. Now we know how hard it’s going to be.”

Following the season opener against Needham, BC High is set to take on the likes of teams such as Brockton, CM, Mansfield, and Newton North. It is going to be a taxing schedule, and nothing will come easy for the Eagles, but they are ready for the road ahead, and have been since July. Best of luck to Troy and the varsity basketball this season, and make sure to come out and show some support!

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