Brian Silvestro's third year as Fairfield Ludlowe boys basketball head coach, he hopes, will be much like the first two.
Silvestro must replace four starters from a team that finished 9-12 a year ago. The Falcons closed the season with six wins in their final seven regular season games to reach the Class L tournament.
"It starts over again every year: new kids, new roles and new opponents," Silvestro said. "We'll have to be a good team defensively. That's always where we start."
As the Falcons hope to compete in a wide-open FCIAC, Silvestro's had to amend his team's defense every year.
"I think what's become prevalent is that a lot of teams play zone," he said. "I've had to adjust to teaching, not only playing against a zone, but playing some zone. We've spent time on that already this year."
"We're expecting big things from them," Silvestro said.
Ludlowe missed Gutierrez for much of the season with an injury, as did another returning front-court player, Stephen Scholz.
The rest of Ludlowe's rotation remains a mystery with junior varsity talent striving to come off the bench. And without a bona fide star, Ludlowe will have to be more team-oriented.
"We don't really have a kid who can go out there and score 20 a night," Silvestro said. "We'll have a lot of new kids playing."
The Falcons have reached the postseason each of Silvestro's prior two seasons and Ludlowe's is hopeful that that streak will reach three.
"Our goals are always the same," Silvestro said. "We want seniors to have a positive experience and make the state playoffs."