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Reprinted with permission from
The Fairfield Ledger

Pioneers hopes to satisfy high expectations
Maharishi School returns three starters.

Ledger Sports Editor

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.


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