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Strong senior class to lead North Hills boys basketball

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The North Hills boys basketball team didn’t net the result it hoped to achieve last season, but the 4-17 campaign the group of mostly underclassmen put forth is seemingly paying dividends.

Seven seniors, now with varsity experience from last season, return to the Indians’ lineup this season, along with a handful of juniors. The makeup and experience level for coach Buzz Gabos’ roster is far different then it was just a year ago, and so is their desire to improve, the coach said.

“We return a lot of guys that played, which is nice. The experience factor, knowing what it takes and how to be successful, that always helps. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks how hard it will be in the section and whether or not we’re good enough to beat enough teams to make the playoffs,” Gabos said.

“But we’re experienced, and it’s a group of really, really good kids. I told them the other day that in all my years as a head coach, I’ve never had a group that’s worked harder than they’ve worked. So, they put in the work, and hopefully they’re rewarded for it down the road.”

The seniors leading the charge are Luke Seidl, Danny Ritchey, Jordan Albright, Wyatt Mays, Jake Stuckert and Brandon Manning. Another senior, Joe Ryan, is rostered but will be out for the season with an injury he sustained while playing for the football team.

As of now, North Hills will feature a rotation of players composed of the six aforementioned seniors and three juniors — Logan Marshalek, Ben Gamboa and Christian Heinl. Marshalek has the most experience of the junior trio after seeing considerable time at the varsity level last season as a sophomore.

In addition to being heavy on experience, the team’s roster also will be heavy on guards. While Gabos said the Indians lack of size compared to their Section 1-6A counterparts could be a shortcoming, he hopes it can be remedied with ball movement and unselfish play.

“We don’t have a lot of size, so we’re going to have to shoot it well, I think, to be successful. When you rely on perimeter shooting a lot, you’re going to have ups and downs, stretches where the ball doesn’t go in for you,” he said.

“With what I’ve seen so far, though, is that our guys do a great job of bringing a ton of intensity and effort. The seniors set an unselfish tone, too. One that trickles down to the juniors and the younger guys. This is the type of group that doesn’t care who puts the ball in the basket. They just want to have success. That’s a great attitude to have.”

North Hills will play its first game at 8 p.m. Dec. 7 at home against Hampton as part of the North Hills/USC tournament at North Hills.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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