Delayed Start for Boys Basketball Season

Published in the December 23, 2008 issue of The Stow Independent

By Jordana Bieze Foster

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After two game postponements and multiple missed days of practice, the Nashoba Regional boys' basketball team was glad to finally get the season underway on Thursday with a trip to Algonquin. But the early season rust proved to be too tough to shake, and the result was a 59-36 Chieftain loss.

Still, Nashoba head coach Jon LeSage said he saw a number of positives in his team's play, and remains confident that the Chieftains will be able to improve on last season's 4-15 record.

“We have a better group of competitors, a lot of kids who played together in the off season. They've kind of gone to war with each other a little,” LeSage said.

But with only four varsity players returning from last year and a number of Chieftains making the transition from fall sports, this Nashoba team could have used some extra time to gel. Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans. The first two games of the Chieftains' season were postponed due to weather, and a number of practices were canceled as well.

“There were probably five or six days when we couldn't get into the gym,” LeSage said. “That definitely didn't help us.”

Frustrated by Algonquin's relentless full-court press, the Chieftains coughed up 26 turnovers in the game and allowed the Tomahawks to grab 22 offensive rebounds—two factors that LeSage said were the difference in the game.

Even so, the Chieftains kept things close for three quarters, thanks in part to an advantage at the free throw line, and trailed by only four points at the beginning of the fourth period. But that's when Algonquin senior Joe Moreno ripped off seven straight points, killing Nashoba's momentum and essentially putting the game out of reach. Moreno finished with a game-high 21 points, with 12 of those coming in the fourth quarter.

“The effort was there. I can't question the kids' effort by any means,” LeSage said. “But Algonquin just put the game away.”

Junior center Chris Parenteau recorded a double-double for the Chieftains, with 15 points and 13 rebounds to go with five blocked shots, although 10 of those points came in the first half. The 6-foot-7 Parenteau, the only junior on the team with varsity experience, should be a big asset – literally – for Nashoba this season.

“We have a pretty good-sized lineup,” LeSage said. “We've had good size in past years as well, but now some of these guys with the height are starting to take the game a little more seriously.”

Team captains Matt and Paul Murray, both Stow seniors and mainstays of the Chieftain football and baseball programs, will also be hoping to use their size to Nashoba's advantage at the forward positions. The 6-foot-2 Matt Murray is the twin with more of a power game, while the 6-foot-3 Paul Murray is more of a slashing forward.

“They're three sport athletes, and I love that. I really do. It's kind of a dying breed,” LeSage said. “But what I really love about them is that their favorite sport is whatever season it is. So now they're in basketball mode.”

Rounding out the quartet of returning Nashoba varsity players is sophomore guard Brett Macko.

The Chieftains will try to turn things around today at the season home opener against Narragansett Regional, scheduled to tip off at 7 pm. During the holiday break, they will play at Hudson on Dec. 27 and at Oakmont on Dec. 30. Weather permitting, of course.

Copyright 2008 Jordana Foster – 24 Kirkland Dr, Stow, MA – Email: – Fax: (815) 346-5239