The Tewksbury High boys basketball team practices Monday in its gym under the watchful eye of second-year coach Phil Conners. The Redmen, coming off a 9-12
The Tewksbury High boys basketball team practices Monday in its gym under the watchful eye of second-year coach Phil Conners. The Redmen, coming off a 9-12 season, opened Thursday night with a victory over Lawrence. SUN/BOB WHITAKER

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our Smugmug site.

ACTON-BOXBORO

League: DCL Large

Last Season: 9-13 (lost to Lowell in Div. 1 North first round)

Returning Starters: Alex Boyd, sr., C; Reid Larsen, jr., G.

Other Key Returners: Ryan Graziano, jr., G; Eustaquio Carvalho, sr., F; Mike McGovern, jr., G; Luke Davidson, jr., G.

Promising Newcomers: Nnamdi Udokwu, sr., F; Mike Mundowa, jr., G; David Crawley, jr., F.

Coach Rick Kilpatrick (17th season): "We have a big team, I haven't had this much height on a team in a long time. Boyd is 6-foot-6, and we got a couple players at 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4. I'm hoping for a stronger inside game and to do a better job on the boards. Our two returning starters and Graziano are the only ones that got a lot of minutes last year, so we're inexperienced. It will take time for us to get comfortable. I think the DCL will be stronger than it was last year. If we qualify for the state tournament, we'll be in the Central Mass. bracket. It will be very foreign to me. I've probably been in every gym in Eastern Mass., but not too many in Central. It will be different. I'm certainly going to miss all the great tourney games and rivalries we had in Eastern Mass."

ALVIRNE

League: N.H. Div. 1

Last Season: 10-8 (lost to Bishop Guertin in Div. 1 state tournament)

Returning Starters: Tyler Brown, sr., F; Ryan Quinlan, sr., G; Danny Brown, so., G.

Other Key Returners: Alex Wetmore, sr., F; Jake Thyne, sr., C.

Promising Newcomers: None given.

Coach Seth Garon (4th season): "I would say that we have a lot of potential, it's just a matter of putting it all together and getting a good rotation squared away. We're a little undersized, so we'll have to gain possessions any way we can. We'll be a little more up and down the floor and a little less structured."

BEDFORD

League: DCL Small

Last Season: 7-13

Returning Starters: Allistar Williams, sr., G; Ben Johnson, jr., G; Peter Whallon, jr., G.

Tewksbury High is excited for the 2013-14 season. Veteran players are (front, from left) Nate Tenaglia, Alex DiRocco. Back: Xavier Salaman, Joe Csokmay,
Tewksbury High is excited for the 2013-14 season. Veteran players are (front, from left) Nate Tenaglia, Alex DiRocco. Back: Xavier Salaman, Joe Csokmay, Kevin Dick, Justin Derrah. SUN/BOB WHITAKER

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our Smugmug site.

Other Key Returners: Liam Doyle, jr., F; Conner Green, jr., F; Olan Abner, sr., G; Nate Walters, sr., G; Brian Ricci, sr., F.

Promising Newcomer: Brandon Jackson, jr., F.

Coach Jim Byrnes (20th season): "We are optimistic. We have a lot of returning players who put in hard work during the preseason. I would say we are really trying to stress improving on our weakness last year, which was defense. We allowed the third-most points in the state last year per game, but we scored the eighth most. We like to take the first good shot we get. We just need more consistency on the defensive end. We can control the tempo, we just have to stop teams."

BILLERICA

League: MVC Div. 2

Last Season: 7-14 (lost to St John's Prep in Div. 1 North first round)

Returning Starters: Nick Baltayan, sr., F; Rob Gambale, sr., G; Reuben Sands, sr., G.

Other Key Returners: Dan Najjarian, sr., G; Luke Sands, sr., G; Adam Mahrez, sr., G; Dave Rogers, sr., F; Tim Herrick, sr., G; Brendan Bouthillette, jr., G; Kyle Murphy, jr., F; Jeff Trainor, so., G; Josh Bradanese, so., F.

Promising Newcomers: Jon LaFleaur, jr., G; Brad Fisher, jr., G.

Coach Mike Dagle (11th season): "We're top-heavy with seniors. We can do many different things on offense and defense. If we can stay within our structure we'll do fine."

BISHOP GUERTIN

League: N.H. Div. 1

Last Season: 16-6 (lost in Div. 1 state finals)

Returning Starters: Andrew Williams, sr., G; Kyle Gavin jr., G; Costan Niarhos, sr., F; Joe Marandola, sr., C.

Other Key Returners: CJ Boykin, sr., G; Jack Zimmerman, so., G; John Noon, sr., G; Alex Arika, jr., G.

Promising Newcomers: Garrett Camacho, sr., F; Mike Ranko, Fr., G; Ryan McGahey, jr., G; Nick Kasarsis, jr., F.

Coach Jim Migneault (7th season): "We have a lot of kids coming back, we graduated four seniors. We'll score a lot of points and we are really quick. Defensively, we have learn how to play with the referees calling things a lot closer."

CENTRAL CATHOLIC

League: MVC Div. 1

Last Season: 21-6 (lost to Mansfield in Div. 1 state semifinals)

Returning Starters: Tyler Nelson, sr., G; Nick Cambio (Tewksbury), sr., F.

Other Key Returners: Aaron Hall, sr., F; Alex Santos, jr., G; Anthony Crespo, sr., G; Nick Boes, sr., G.

Promising Newcomers: AJ Pettway, so., G; Alec Buresh, so., G; Kevin Fernandez, Fr., G; John Homsey, jr., F; Pat Sullivan, jr., F; Ryan Rondeau, jr., G; Brian Triglione, jr., G; Sam Lara, Fr., F; Ryan Etter, sr., F.

Coach Rick Nault (8th season): "It's a very young group, youngest group we've had in my eight years. Inexperience will hurt us at times. With having Tyler (out for the start of the year with a broken wrist) and Nick leading the way, that will help solve our issues. Nick is doing a lot of good things for us, scoring a lot in the paint, he is really taking over as the lead post guy and rebounding at a high level. Overall, rebounding could be challenge for us all year. We will probably play a lot of three-guard lineups."

CHELMSFORD

League: MVC Div. 2

Last Season: 9-13

Returning Starter: Brad Hausler, sr., F.

Other Key Returners: Jackson Gamer, sr., F; Mike Calicchio, sr., F; Todd Dowrey, sr., G; Jonny Morse, sr., F; Devin Lekan, sr., F; Matt Kuda, jr., F; Jack Campsmith, jr., G; Voshon Holmes, sr., G.

Promising Newcomers: Mike Tice, jr., F; Jackie Jillett, jr., G; Joe Markey, jr., G; Nick Beati, so., F.

Coach Charlie Micol (22nd season): "We definitely have some decent size that will hopefully work to our advantage. We've had a pretty good offseason, the league is just so tough. Tewksbury is very good, Billerica is certainly going to fight. We have to find a way to win the close games. We have some pretty good athletes, a good mix of football kids and basketball kids. There is so much good guard play in the league that you have to have guys that can defend one-on-one. Point guard play will be huge."

CONCORD-CARLISLE

League: DCL Small

Last Season: 15-7 (lost to North Andover in Div. 2 North quarterfinals)

Returning Starters: Jamir Henderson, sr., G; Jon Dor, sr., G; Blaine Taylor, sr., C.

Other Key Returners: Eric Sellew, so., F; Austin Hoey, so., F; Joey Crowley, jr., G.

Promising Newcomers: George Cohen, sr., G; Tim Collins, jr., C.

Coach David Cohen (7th season): "We have a good core coming back. We are pretty young with only four seniors on the team. We are trying to find roles for a lot of players. Jamir has started for three years. He and Blaine Taylor (6-foot-6) give us really good options. They have both been DCL All-Stars. But we are pretty balanced with good guard play. Like a lot of teams at this point, we are further along defensively than offensively."

DRACUT

League: MVC Div. 2

Last Season: 3-17

Returning Starters: Dan Zabbo, sr., G; Adam Barbosa, sr., G; Zach Mellonakos, sr., F; Adam Gagnon, sr., F.

Other Key Returners: Ryan Gagnon, jr., G; Ty Bassett, jr., G.

Promising Newcomers: DJ Greenhalgh, jr., G; Michael Odiana, Fr., G.

Coach Ben Shaw (2nd season): "We need to get better every day. It's a long road ahead, we need to approach every game the same way and respect every opponent. We should be better this year, but you never know. It's a tough league. We have some shooters and our younger guys will have to step up."

GREATER LOWELL

League: CAC Large

Last Season: 8-12

Returning Starters: Jayson Colon, sr., G/F; Gbah Dualu, sr., G; Anthony Zeoli, sr., F

Other Key Returners: Winston Smith, sr., F; Raul Navaro, sr., G; Bryant Va, sr., G; Mike Roman, sr., F; Meshach Dunn, so., G; Raymie Brown, so., G.

Promising Newcomers: Fernando Nherisson, sr., G/F; Ian Kirumira, Fr., F.

Coach Joe Kane (4th season): "We have a lot of seniors and some solid experience. Colon and Dualu both averaged over 15 points last year. If that can continue, we can hopefully compete for a league title. Defensively, we'll have to play better, and we'll have to rebound. If we don't do that, we'll be in trouble."

LITTLETON

League: Mid-Wach C

Last Season: 23-2 (lost to Smith Academy in Div. 3 state semifinals)

Returning Starter: Travis Bassett, sr., G

Other Key Returners: Alex McLaughlin, sr., F; Matt Jackson, sr., G; Matt Johnson, sr., F; Brad Magnuson, sr., G; Mike Wilson, sr., C; Nick Fontanella, so., F; Connor Bassett, so., G; Nick Murray, so., G; Chris Renacio, so., G.

Promising Newcomers: Christian Watson, so., G; David Tornell, jr., F; Elijah Pyram, jr., G.

Coach Mike Lombard (8th season): "We are really athletic, and I feel a little under the radar. We were deep last year and we lost some experienced players, but it's not as big a dropoff as people think. I don't think we'll surprise anyone and I don't think anyone will be afraid of us. Coming off the Super Bowl win, the football players have flipped the switch to basketball pretty well. We'll need to get out in transition to score. We don't run a lot of set plays, we like to get Travis out ahead of the pack."

LOWELL

League: MVC Div. 1

Last Season: 18-4 (lost to Everett in Div. 1 North quarterfinals)

Returning Starters: None

Other Key Returners: Andre Ruff sr., F; Dewayne Thomas, sr., F; Sean Bryan, so., G; Victor Santos, sr., G.

Promising Newcomers: Jesse Zander, so., F.

Coach Bobby Michalczyk (1st season): "I think it is fairly promising. We are obviously going to be down from last season. I do think we should have a good year. Defensively, we are very strong, very active. Hopefully we can turn that into offense. We'll try to play man-to-man and use our quickness. We have a lot of little things to work on. It was extremely surprising how quickly the players have adapted to the new system."

LOWELL CATHOLIC

League: CCL Small

Last Season: 12-11 (lost to Lynnfield in Div. 4 North semifinals)

Returning Starters: Mustapha Koroma, sr., F; Kyle Rafferty, jr., F; Yi Shi, sr., C; Connor Sullivan, sr., G; Brian Ngaruiya, jr., G

Other Key Returners: Justin Oum, sr., F; James Sullivan, sr., G.

Promising Newcomer: Javaun Robinson, so., G.

Coach Dan Hart (3rd season): "I think last year everybody bought in. We have a lot of talent and we have Mustapha back. He is a very talented senior. The guys played against tough competition last summer. We have a lot of guys who have taken big leaps, such as Rafferty and Shi. We have tough guards. I don't think we can sneak up on anybody anymore. I think the sky is the limit if these guys buy in again. We can have a great year, but it will be a grind."

NASHOBA TECH

League: Colonial Athletic League

Last Season: 5-15

Returning Starters: Zach Connell, jr., G; Cam Skinner, sr., F.

Other Key Returners: Chris Kent, jr., F; Dan Kent, jr., F; Pat Gannon, so., G; Pat Shaw, Jr., C.

Promising Newcomers: Ryan Barnoski, fr., F; Kevin Lewis, jr., G; John Young, sr., F; Ryan Harding, jr., G; Bobby Dumas, so., C; Alex Butler, jr., G; Scott Berlandi, Jr., F.

Coach Rob Beaudette (9th season): "The expectation coming into the season is that we will have a good defensive team. We will have to get down and dirty. We're not super athletic, so we'll have to work hard. Skinner and Connell will lead us."

NORTH MIDDLESEX

League: Mid-Wach A

Last Season: 9-11

Returning Starters: Tyler Thomas, sr., G; Bobby Larsen, sr., F; Sam Heller, sr., C.

Other Key Returners: Drew Patno, jr., G; Lucas Ravanis, sr., G; Mark Rossi. sr., G; Dylan Woods, sr., G/F; Austin Lowrey, sr., C.

Promising Newcomers: John Boutwell, jr., G; Richie Sharp, so., G/F.

Coach Erik Dellasanta (9th season): "I'm optimistic. The team has really good chemistry. My concern is that we can start playing real physical when we get into league play. That's when it becomes a contact game. But on the whole we are going to be uptempo and we'll pressure the ball. Everybody can shoot and stretch the floor."

PELHAM

League: N.H. Div. 2

Last Season: 11-7 (lost to Pembroke in Div. 2 quarterfinals)

Returning Starters: Jake Vaiknoras, sr., G; Ryan Frank, sr., G; Keith Brown, so., F.

Other Key Returners: Joe Slattery, sr., G; James Lapolice, sr., F; Ryan Cloutier, jr., F; Mike Pelletier, sr., G; Dylan Silvestri, jr., F; Zach Conway, sr., G; Joe MacArthur, sr., F.

Promising Newcomers: David Rogers, jr., G; Bryce Brown, jr., G; Kyle Frank, fr., G.

Coach Matt Regan (4th season): "I think last year we kind of got going toward the end of the year. We're bringing back pretty much everybody from last year's team. Once we get Joe Slattery (torn MCL) and Lapolice (broken foot) back, we'll be in good shape. Portsmouth will be good, so will Pembroke and Lebanon. We have the ability to score at all five positions, and we'll be pretty good defensively."

SHAWSHEEN TECH

League: CAC Large

Last Season: 8-12

Returning Starters: Jared Pinette, sr., F; Joe Mason, sr., G; Ryan Donnell, so., F.

Other Key Returner: Chase Rebidue, sr., G.

Promising Newcomer: Pat DeCourcy, jr., G.

Coach Greg Bendel (3rd season): "We're working hard every day to improve and make the state tournament. I'm excited about our size, led by Pinette. We do have a lot of guys that that lack experience."

TEWKSBURY

League: MVC Div. 2

Last Season: 9-12 (lost to Arlington in Div. 2 North preliminary round)

Returning Starters: Kevin Dick, sr., G; Alex DiRocco, jr., G; Nate Tenaglia, so., G; Justin Derrah, so., F; Joe Csokmay, jr., F.

Other Key Returner: Xavier Salaman, sr., F.

Promising Newcomers: Justin Norbrega, sr., G; Adam Cajjawi, so., F.

Coach Phil Conners (3rd season): "If we put all the pieces together we can be pretty good. We have a strong eight-player rotation and seven of them can shoot. We had a really good offseason as far as kids committing to basketball. We played against teams like St. John's Prep and Lawrence. Rebounding and size are always the issues. We change up our defenses, we'll throw in zone and zone press and try to mask what we lack in height."

TYNGSBORO

League: Mid-Wach C

Last Season: 11-10 (lost to Bartlett in Div. 2 Central first round)

Returning Starters: Austin Coene, jr., F; Paul Sickinger, sr., F; Ben Foley, sr., G; Drew Hurynowicz, so., G.

Other Key Returners: Eric Morrison, sr., F; Tom Jacobs, jr., G.

Promising Newcomers: Jake Keenan, so., G; Justin Day, sr., G; Martin Kelly, jr., F; David Walker, jr., F; Joe Callahan, so., G; Dan Magee, sr., G; Luke Corkery, jr., C.

Coach Mike Crowley (1st season): "We had to learn quickly in the preseason because it's my first season with the team and it's a new system. It's all about playing defense and rebounding. We have a team that can play fast or slow it down. And so far the kids have been very unselfish."

WESTFORD ACADEMY

League: DCL Large

Last Season: 16-5 (lost to Haverhill in Div. 1 North first round)

Returning Starter: Eric McCord, jr., C.

Other Key Returners: Pat Derren, sr., G; Luke Moran, sr., F; Dan Cornelius, jr., G; Tristan Lee, jr., G; Tom Jacobsen, jr., G; Scott Callahan, so., F.

Promising Newcomers: Bobby Hartmann, so., C; Pat Coffey, so., G; Jimmy Ward, jr., G; John Glidden, Fr., G; Nick Fiorillo, so., G.

Coach Chris Bramanti (2nd season): "I think the DCL is going to be pretty tough this year. If we play competitively on the defensive side of the ball, we'll be in a good position. We lost two really key players in Justin Mount and Troy Faretra, so we'll see who steps into their shoes. McCord (6-foot-6) was hurt all summer and fall. We expect a lot from him and we know teams will focus on him. He's a great athlete but still growing into his body."

WILMINGTON

League: Middlesex Freedom

Last Season: 2-18

Returning Starters: Connor Bennett, jr., C; James O'Regan, jr., G; Zack Abbott, jr., F.

Other Key Returners: Colin Ahern, sr., F; Kevin Keane, sr., F; Scott Manganelli, sr., G; Ryan McEvoy, sr., F; Jimmy Murphy, sr., G; Ryan Colangelo, jr., G; Ryan Walsh, jr., F.

Promising Newcomers: Matt Spurr, so., G; Ryan Horgan, jr., F; Evan Raffi, jr., F; Matt Penny, jr., F; Ryan Flood, jr., F.

Coach Joe Maiella (5th season): "We're expecting to turn things around from last year. We feel like we can be competitive in the league, it will be a matter of learning how. Bennett (6-foot-9) will be an excellent player, he has improved on the offensive end. Last year as a sophomore, he was kind of beat up physically. He has put on 15 pounds from last year and that's helping him. We also need consistency at point guard, and that will probably fall on Scotty Manganelli."