Back-to-back 9-12 season-ending records greet former Fairfield Ludlowe boys basketball assistant coach John Dailey as he takes the helm of the Falcons' fortunes for the 2013-14 season that opens Dec. 18 at home against Harding. He has replaced Brian Silvestro after three years.
On the surface, he'll have one advantage and one disadvantage in year No. 1. Ludlowe will be tall -- with a front court featuring players who are 6-foot-8 inches tall, 6-4 and 6-3 -- but six seniors from last year's team must be replaced, including four starters. Mark Malone, a 5-9 point guard who averaged 10 points per game a year ago as a junior, and junior Chad Peterson, a 6-4 forward who supplied strong defense in 2012-13, are the Falcons' captains this winter.
Also expected to be in the starting lineup are 6-8 senior center Kevin Hickey, a pitcher who did not play basketball the last two winters; 6-4 junior shooting guard Matt Doyle; and 6-3 junior small forward Darren Lee. Doyle started two games last year and Lee played quality minutes a year ago, as did Doyle when he did not start.
Expected to contribute off the bench is a group of three seniors, two juniors and a freshman. Hayes Kelchner is a 6-5 ninth-grader who will come in as a power forward. The rest of the reserves are guards -- 6-0 senior Jack Armstrong who can shoot from outside; 6-0 junior Owen Mockler who played sporadically on varsity last year; 6-0 junior Brendan Mockler who can play both guard positions; 5-8 senior Kiran Prakash who plays the point; and 5-10 senior Jonah Rosner who is a shooter.
"I think we're a deep team, and it's our goal to play more up-tempo than in years past," Dailey said. "Our program has always prided itself on playing solid team defense. That won't change, but if we're going to be successful this year, we need to score more points and assert ourselves on the offensive end. We need to become a more consistent perimeter shooting team, if we're going to win ball games."
Last year ended for the Falcons in the first round of the CIAC Class L tournament with a loss to Wilbur Cross. Daily had arranged scrimmages with Bergen (N.J.) Catholic, Kolbe Cathedral and Bunnell this week, with a final tune-up Saturday against Weston.