|High expectations surround the
Maharishi School boys' basketball team after the record-breaking 2000-01
campaign that saw an 18-game winning streak, 23 wins and a substate berth.
The big question is can the Pioneers reach those heights
again. The only problem is that the Pioneers lost two of the five starters
responsible for much of the success. Gone are point guard Danny Duszynski
(six assists per game) and forward Ben Stone (15 points per game). While
trying to replace those two, the Pioneers are counting on senior all-stater
Zach Silverman (20 ppg), forward Michael Hauptman and guard David Dannemann
to provide the leadership and help the team pursue its goals. Sixth-year
coach Harley Carter hopes his team can reach them. "I'm really excited and
it's a new year," said Carter, whose team has gone 34-12 the last two years.
"I like this team, but we have a lot of raw
That could be the double-edged sword for the
Pioneers. While another crop of exciting players rests in the sophomore
class, the players that will see time this season didn't see many minutes
last year. Players expected to contribute are junior Will Kern and seniors
Spencer Bright and Kevin Craig. Bright was the starting point guard early
last season before sustaining an injury. Sophomores Will Carlisle, Noah Loin
and Lucas Carter may also see some time on the court.
Carter wants his team playing its best basketball in
February when districts begin. First of all, the Pioneers will have to deal
with a difficult SEI Superconference West Division, which the team has won
the last two seasons. "This will be the toughest the division's been in a
lot of years," Carter said. "It's very solid from top to bottom and anyone
can win on a given night. No one will be overlooked this year." That
includes the Pioneers, who rolled past divisional competition last
year en route to a 12-0 mark. Carter does not expect the same this season,
for there are many teams who would like a shot at the Pioneers.
"One thing that's for sure is that it won't take much
for teams to get up for us," he said. "Our kids want to grow from last
year's success. Last year, it was tough to improved from our victories. This
year, we're going to have to suffer through some adversity early on before
we can get where we want to go."
The most glaring losses are to those of Duszynski and
Stone, each of whom provided great leadership for the Pioneers. Stone was an
honorable mention all-stater last season, while Duszynski's quickness and
specialty on defense were excellent for a team that allowed less than 50
points per game for the season.
"The past is over, and we want to focus on this
season," Carter said. "I'm confident this team will come together at the
right time. I expect a lot of players to step up."
One in particular could Hauptman. Hauptman came on
strong at the end of last season to shoot 75 percent in the postseason. He
averaged 7.5 points as a solid post defender with good height (6-foot-4).
Carter believes Hauptman could have a breakout season. "I think you're going
to see a different Michael Hauptman this year," Carter said. "He was a key
component for us last season, and he's matured a lot. I expect him to take
some of the load this season."
Overall, the Pioneers appear to be in a dogfight for
a division title. But with many ingredients from last year's team, plus some
individuals who could contribute, it may not be a surprising to see another
deep run into theClass 2A postseason in February and March.