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Experience Makes Indians ‘Intriguing’
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2023-11-29

            Upper Perkiomen's boys basketball team enters its new season with a degree of intrigue, according to head coach Michael DeCarolis. With four returning starters and an overhauled offense, he expressed hope that the program will take another step

Tribe senior Owen Williams takes a shot during 

Tuesday's scrimmage with Faith Christian Acad-

emy.

forward.

            The big picture goal is to qualify for the Pioneer Athletic Conference or District One playoffs, according to DeCarolis. He said the short-term objective is to get "one percent better each day."

            A quartet of seniors -- Braden Rieg, Owen Williams, Aidan Keyser and Evan Bosler -- each started last season for the Indians, who finished with three victories. Rieg and Keyser received significant playing time as ninth graders.

            "They all have a ton of experience," said the coach, whose team hosted Faith Christian Academy in a scrimmage on Tuesday.

            Isiah Brown, a 6'2 senior point guard, will join his classmates in the starting lineup. The second-year player -- who spent most of last season on the JV team -- is athletic and can score, according to DeCarolis.

            A trio of juniors -- Rob Rice, a 6'5 junior post player, Connor Gehman, Vin Galassi -- and freshman Darius Reed will likely be included in the rotation.

            Brown will orchestrate a motion offense. The coach made the shift from a dribble-drive approach to a system that relies on passing, cutting and screening to share the ball and hopefully lead to balanced scoring.

            "I believe we can put five guys on the floor who can each score eight to 10 points per game," the coach said. "The idea is to get everyone involved in the offense. I don't think we have a lead dog."

            DeCarolis decided to change the offense after noticing some issues with the previous approach during his team's participation in a summer team camp at Alvernia University over the summer. He said the goal is to get the players to learn to react instinctively to certain situations.

            "I'm seeing some light bulbs go on," said the coach, who started tinkering during open gym sessions. "Hopefully, they will get better as the season goes on. The goal is to get them to trust the offense."

             DeCarolis said Upper Perkiomen's defense will feature more looks than in past seasons. The coach said he expects the unit to shift from man, which the team played most of last season, to zone.

            "We've got some guys who will come off the bench with not a lot of experience," the coach said. "We're going to have to ease them in."

            DeCarolis felt his team performed well in a recent mini-tournament at Pottsgrove High School. He said the players showed significant improvement during the Whitehall Summer League where they reached the title game before losing to Lehighton.

            "More guys than ever worked on their games over the summer," the coach said. "They showed a willingness to get everyone involved."

            DeCarolis noted a compressed pre-season practice schedule has forced him to be as efficient as possible.

            "So far, so good," the coach said. "The first two weeks will be really important to us."

            The Indians open their season this weekend in the Tulpehocken Tipoff Tournament. They are scheduled to host Brandywine Heights on Tuesday night.


 

 

 

 

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