What the Lynbrook boys basketball team lacks in physical size and height, they more than make up for it with a hard work ethic in practice and a tireless effort on the court.
Last season came down to the final regular season game against Hewlett on the Owls senior night. Up for grabs was a Class A playoff spot, but the boys came up just short in a dramatic finish to the year.
In 2011-12, Lynbrook will be looking to take its season a step further under fourth-year head coach Chris Rube.
“We have a great group of kids who listen," Rube said. "Chemistry in basketball is very important, so we need all five guys to be on the same page."
Lynbrook parted with five graduating seniors, but many of its key players are back for another season. Seniors Johnny Emmerich, Matt Stroebel and Brandon Peresiper will look to do much of the tough work in the paint and provide some points for the Owl offense.
“They are working together and sharing the ball," Rube said. "This year, the seniors are showing that they will do whatever it takes to get back to playoffs and they are ready for that challenge.”
Along with the seniors, junior Matt Murphy, who started as a sophomore last season, will look to provide some points from the outside. Sophomore Mike McVeigh is another name to watch out for this year, as he logged significant time last season as just a freshman on the varsity squad.
“We are working our hardest and it’s how hard we go that will make us better, and that is going to be seen in our games,” Stroebel said. “We have mental toughness and are always boxing out, which we are always reminding ourselves of.”
Returning four of five starters from last year should be essential for coach Rube and the Owls. The team knows the system, and they are only getting better with each repetition in practice and scrimmage.
Playing out of Conference A-III, Lynbrook will look to contend with Floral Park, Manhasset and Great Neck North, all of which were Class A semifinalists last season.
West Hempstead, Glen Cove and Valley Stream South round out the league competition, so the Owls will be battle tested against what is arguably the most competitive conference in Nassau County.
Prior to the league schedule, Lynbrook will have some good tests in non-league, including Bethpage, Freeport, Mineola, East Rockaway and Kings Park (Suffolk County).
“You always want to schedule some teams that are on par with you and some that might be a little more athletic to see where you are in order to prepare for the league schedule, which is going to be very tough,” Rube added.
Lynbrook will open up its 2011-12 season on the road on Monday, Dec. 5 at Bethpage with a tip off time of 7 p.m. For complete schedule information, visit the Nassau Boces Athletics page.