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Boys Basketball Aims to Return to New England Champ Contention This Season

Boys Basketball Aims to Return to New England Champ Contention This Season

Boys Basketball Aims to Return to New England Champ Contention This Season

ASHLEY OPDYKE '26

The team defeated Avon 72-60 during its home opener in Fowle Gym.

Staff Writer

December 7, 2023

Ben Wistar '26

With a roster full of shooters and a high-speed offense, Boys Varsity Basketball is hoping to make it to the playoffs after missing them last year. The team was the New England champion in 2022. 


Co-captain Dean Hogans ’25 said, “This year, we are taking it day by day and game by game to improve. We have a group of guys that cares and wants to win as a team. Nobody is selfish. We all know that we have roles to play if we want to be a championship team.” 


Last season, the team finished 14-10, narrowly missing the playoffs. It was a season marred by injuries, including that of captain Brandon McCreesh ’23, who fractured his hand in a loss at Williston Northampton and missed the last nine games of that season. 



The team graduated several key players last year, most notably co-captains McCreesh and center Will Groot ’23. Head Coach Joe Busacca said that returning players, including Preston Merrick ’26, along with co-captains Hogans, Davyn deJongh ’24, and Carter Warren ’24, have stepped up to fill the gap left by the departures.


“You don’t replace guys like Brandon or Will with one player— you replace them with a roster that is hungry and driven to get better,” said Coach Busacca. 


“Davyn, who is one of our co-captains this year, has worked hard and made tremendous strides on the court, but more importantly he has made even bigger ones as a leader. Dean, Carter, and Preston are all extremely hungry and have made huge improvements, as well,” he added. 


The team has welcomed several new recruits, including Jackson Bleecker ’24, Jules Varin ’25, Ian Randall ’25, and Owen Zabel ’26. Bleecker, Varin, and Zabel are all guards who will provide shooting from behind the arc. Randall is a 7-foot forward who will contribute with his rebounding and shooting abilities. 


Randall said he chose Hotchkiss because of the team’s culture. “When I was looking at schools, the bond that the Hotchkiss team had on and off the court really stood out to me. All the guys were humble and looked out for each other when they needed something,” he said. 


The team had already started bonding by playing and training together throughout the fall. Coach Busacca emphasized conditioning in the first weeks of official practices. 


“The players have done an amazing job getting in the best shape of their lives and getting ready to play at a high level for an extended period of time. Our goal is to wear teams down and take over in the last 6-8 minutes of games,” he said. 


Coach Busacca emphasized the growth mindset that he hopes his team will have this year. He told the team that their motto this year is “BBTY: Be better than yesterday.” The team is introducing a new “lock left” defense that aims to solve some of the defensive inconsistencies that plagued the team last year. 


“Defense is our identity this year, and the guys have really bought into it. We have a group that can really guard the ball and fly around,” said Coach Busacca. 


From December to January, the team will play in four different showcases across New York and Massachusetts. These include the Zero Gravity Prep Classic against Tabor, NYC Rising Stars against Blair Academy, Basketbull Hoopfest against Pomfret and Macduffie, and Hoophall Classic against Taft. 


Coach Busacca said he is excited for these opportunities to test his team’s resilience and consistency. “Every team is unique. Last year was such a fun year, and I loved coaching those guys every day. This year the group has formed an incredible bond. They enjoy being around each other and they thoroughly enjoy practice. Our leadership has been tremendous, and I am excited to see where they take us,” he said.

Ben Wistar in a staff writer for The Record.

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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