The Monday after Thanksgiving marks the first day high school winter sports are allowed to begin practice for their approaching season and Coach Dean O'Connor and the Franklin boy's basketball team took to the courts to prepare for their first game on December 13 at Oliver Ames.
Last season the team ended with a 16-8 overall record and 12-4 in the Hockomock League earning second place in the Kelly Rex Division. This year, O'Connor is hoping to see a league championship and a state tournament run.
The team will be led by senior captains Chris Rodgers and Pat O'Reilly. Rodgers, a 6'2 guard, is a returning all-league player who has "improved tremendously" since last season. O'Reilly, a 6'3 forward, saw a lot of court time as a junior and is coming into this year bigger, stronger and more skilled. Also watch for junior Marcus Giese. The 6'7 center was voted last season's most improved player and has worked hard to improve his play in the off season.
The players aren't the only ones working hard for the start of the season, "I prepare for the season by reviewing last season's game films, attending clinics, reading newsletter and books and talking to other coaches," says O'Connor, "The hope is to find ways in which we can improve as a team and program."
The team is faced with a 22 game schedule including two tournaments. Mansfield, Taunton, Attleboro and Sharon are expected to be tough league opponents and Catholic Memorial, Cardinal Spellman, Newton North, Brookline and Christian Brothers Academy from New Jersey will be non-league challenges. The first home game is December 17th against school rivals King Phillip. All varsity games start at 6:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
O'Connor is in his 15th year coaching the boys basketball team at Franklin High School and is eager to get started, "I am excited about the challenge this season will bring," he says, "We have an excellent group of student-athletes who will compete very hard to represent their school and community."
Contributed by Elyse Brightman