Boy’s Basketball Team Rebuilding With Young Talent Against Brutal Schedule

Courtesy of The Buccaneer
Senior Connor Bresnahan stalks his Delran prey last season.

George Rider, Editor

The Cinnaminson boy’s basketball team came into this season with some new talent in need of rebuilding from a 19-8 season that was led by a senior-laden team. The loss of Will Cabbler, Rich Rickus, Pat McCarthy and Devon Taylor left a tremendous void that was going to need to be filled by returning senior starter Conor Bresnahan and a cast of younger players.

Bresnahan came into the season thinking about the possibilities that the Pirates would have.

“We have the players to be a good team so we just have to go out there and prove it.” Bresnahan continued. “I’m just going to go out there and play the way I always do to help my team win. That’s all that matters, victories. Everybody wants to win, we want to make the playoffs and go on a run.”

This season has been a difficult one for the boys because Cinnaminson moved into a tougher division that includes Pemberton and Bordentown who are both defending South Jersey Sectional Champions for Groups 2 and 3.

“The division is tough but we do have a pretty good team that can compete with the others”, said Senior Jimmy Merget, “the team this year is going to be good but honestly this year is a youth movement, we have a lot of guys only in their first full year on the varsity level and it’s gonna be fun. I think we have a shot to beat anyone if we execute.”

Coach Mike Fries has a very positive outlook on this year’s season even with all of the young starters.

“We will continue to grow as a team as the season progresses.  We opened up with a very tough opponent in Bordentown, but we will bounce back.  Every game is going to be a battle.  There are no easy games in our 26 game schedule… The experience these sophomores are getting now is invaluable for the future.  The team is very unselfish with sharing the ball, and on any given night we could have a different leading scorer,” Fries said.

After the initial loss to an outstanding Bordentown team, the boys went on a bit of a hot streak, winning four of their first five games, defeating Burlington City, Pennsauken Tech, Northern Burlington and Salem all before the new year.  After a 77-74 defeat of Riverside on January 5, the team’s record stood at 6-3 and the future looked promising.

However, the youth of the team caught up to them as the Pirates have won just three of their last 14 games to drop to 8-14.  In that span, the boys have played only two teams with losing records with the rest of the teams being among some of the top Group 1, 2, 3 and 4 teams in South Jersey.  As Fries said, this schedule did not have one easy night at any point and it has shown.

The boy’s record might only be 8-14, but their schedule has been so difficult that they were able to get a fifth seed in the South Jersey Group 2 playoffs with that record because of power points that rewards a tougher schedule.  The team will host a first round playoff game at home on February 27 against Lower Cape May because of that schedule.

For the remainder of the season, the Pirates have two winnable games against Palmyra tonight and Burlington Township before hosting a very talented Pemberton and perrenially-strong Rancocas Valley team.

One of the bright spots of this season has been the emergence of junior Craig Turner who is second on the team in scoring, averaging 15.4 points per game for the team.  Bresnahan is leading the team currently with a 16.2 average, so both have been a strong scoring duo for the Pirates this season and will look to lead CHS in the brutal South Jersey Group 2 playoffs that will include some of the top group 2 teams in the state in Camden and Haddonfield.  Also seeded below the Pirates are two teams who have beaten CHS this season, Willingboro and Pennsauken Tech.