In recent years, even on the first day of practice, Buddy Brasky said he was eager for go-time. He thought his teams were ready for their first regular season game.
This year, with six seniors graduating and a roster stocked with sophomores and juniors, it's going to take a little time to get the team into championship form.
"We've got to get better throughout the year," Brasky said following a practice at Batavia High School today. "We get a little bit better, a little better, a little bit better, and hopefully we peak by the end of the year. Where in the past couple of years we've been really good right from the beginning, I think it's going to take a little while this year."
The core of the starting squad appears to be Justice Fagan, a senior guard, and Jeff Redband, a junior forward whose clutch buzzer beater in last year's regional championship helped send the Blue Devils to the state championship semi-finals.
"We've got two really good players, two first-team, all-league type of players," Brasky said. "If we can get the guys around them to step up, yes, we can win the league title and then the next step from there is sectionals."
It's a little bit of a setback, Brasky said, that Redband is sitting out pre-season wth an injured ankle. He's already been sidelined for three weeks and is at least two weeks away from returning for action. He may not be ready for the opening tip-off.
Also missing a big chunk of practice time is starting senior guard Andrew Turner, who will miss the next 10 days of practice after suffering a mild concussion.
Brasky is also expecting a big contribution from sophomore forward Malachi Chenault, who made the varsity last year as a freshman.
Coming up from JV is that squad's second-leading scorer last year, guard Jerrett Laskett, a junior.
"These are good kids," Brasky said. "They listen. They're coachable. Our schemes are pretty complicated. Our defenses are not easy to pick up, so little by little, I see improvement every day. I'm pretty pleased with how they're working right now."
The Blue Devils, in Class A-II this year, opens the season Dec. 7 against Williamsville South at Niagara Falls HS. There are no home games scheduled before the Lions Tournament, Dec. 27 and Dec. 30 at Genesee Community College.
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