KINGSTON – When Sean Donovan decided to step down as head coach of the Silver Lake boys basketball program at the end of the last season, it started a series of dominoes falling into place within the coaching ranks of the program. The faces remain mostly the same, but they’re now in different places.
It started with JV head coach Bob Savoy moving up a level to take over as the new varsity head coach for the Lakers. Matt Cleary has moved up a level to take over as JV coach and Mike Bernier steps up from coaching the middle school basketball team to take over for Cleary as the freshman head coach.
Savoy completed his staff by bringing on former Sacred Heart School Head Coach James Smith as his varsity assistant.
Savoy had coached the JV team for four years and led the freshman squad for two years before that. He believes that kind of local knowledge on the coaching staff will help the team get back to where they want to be in fast fashion.
“Having a new coach is always a challenging time, but it really helps the transition when you have a new coach who already knows his players,” said Savoy, who is also the head coach of Silver Lake’s boys golf team. “All of the coaches already know the players in the program, and I think bringing in someone like James (Smith), with his head coaching experience, is going to help the program.”
The Lakers went winless last season during the shortened schedule and took some lumps in some of the losses. Savoy hopes the memory of those tough times will fuel the team as they look forward to a better day.
“Hopefully they’ll play with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder” remembering the losses from last season, Savoy said. “I think things have gone well so far with our scrimmages. It’s been a mix of some good things as well as some other things that we will need to correct.”
Silver Lake started the schedule Tuesday night on the road against an improved North Quincy basketball team before heading to reigning Patriot Cup champion Whitman-Hanson on Friday night for a 6:30 p.m. game. The Lakers are on the schedule for a full 20 games, including a pair during Pembroke High’s Holiday Tournament later this month as well as non-league games against Norwell and Abington High.
Senior co-captains Matt Wilmarth and Jacob Bugbee will lead the Lakers this season.
Wilmarth is the real deal, Savoy said, both as a player and a leader. He’s in his second year as a captain, and the veteran guard has good speed and can shoot the basketball.
“Matt really can do it all on the basketball court, offensively as well as defensively, and he’s already proven what kind of a leader he is,” Savoy said. “He can get to his own shot or set a teammate for an assist equally well.”
Bugbee can play either the point guard or off-guard spots. He has good range to his shot and is a “defensive pest” with a high motor, Savoy said.
Two names to look for in the post are seniors Ryan Armstrong and Ryan Carroll.
Armstrong’s a big body, standing about 6-foot-4, with some good post moves and the ability to hit the mid-range jumper when needed.
As anyone who’s been tackled by or tried to tackle him on the football field over the last four years will attest, Carroll is the very definition of a power forward. While he can hit a three-pointer, he’ll do his best work in the paint and is sure to grab his share of rebounds and points on the inside.
“Ryan plays hard every minute of the game and he brings a real intensity to the basketball court,” Savoy said.
Juniors Mike O’Brien and Luke Lofstrom have prior varsity experience and can offer some depth at the guard spot. Senior Ben Buitenhuys, a small forward, is an excellent shooter who can put up some quick points when he gets rolling.
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