The Portland boys varsity rode a tight rotation led by four seniors to a perfect record and a state championship in 2014, but the what’s his names and whose his faces are gone and this team must find its identity if it is to rival the success of the last season.
Whereas last year any of the five starters could emerge in any given game as the offensive star, this year’s edition is led by returning senior Stephen Alex. Alex has added muscle to his long frame and a hint of swagger to his step. On the court he is more vocal and his game more varied adding slashing drives and pull-up jumpers to his nimble above the rim play that has made him the top finisher in the state.
Alex will have help from fellow starters Amir Moss and Joe Esposito who are both strong wing players, especially off the dribble; Deering transfer Liam Densmore provides floor leadership with athleticism and a traditional point guard game.The question is who else, if anyone, can step up to be a big contributer. Tonight’s season opening 72-38 drubbing of Massabesic gave coach Russo an opportunity to audition, and fans a chance to preview, some hopefuls.
Russo will probably stick with 6’3″ senior Tanner Foley as starter for his workmanlike game but 6’4″ center Cedric Smith really seems to deserve starter minutes. Smith demonstrated good hands and handle both around the rim and on the perimeter. Another big, John Williams, showed off his three-point touch as well as ability to take it to the rim. However the most intriguing players role players are a pair of freshman. Terion Moss and Griffin Foley (presumably the younger bros of Amir and Tanner) show obvious talent and innate feel for the game. Terion in particular can be noted for his smooth ball handling and knack for making steals on the defensive end.
As Portland plays more powerful opponents coach Russo will undoubtedly tighten his rotation but giving giving burn to his bench might just spark this team.