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Westmont boys basketball making strides as season tip off approaches

Coach pleased with early development despite loss of several key players

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An all-conference forward and a starting center graduated, a freshman that started at point guard moved to Michigan, and another freshman super-sub has decided to focus on baseball.

To be sure, Westmont’s boys basketball team has a new look this season.

Kris Pierce and Jean Pietrzak are the two returning starters, and though the Sentinels are returning a few other players who saw varsity action last fall, head coach Craig Etheridge has been focusing on the basics as the season gets underway.

“The biggest thing is getting the fundamentals in, our base offense and base defense,” Etheridge said. “I need the guys to be able to execute that, and once they have that down we’ll start doing some more advanced stuff.”

Even though the progression thus far has been a little slower than Etheridge would desire, he said he had seen development from his players in preseason practices.

“I’ve been pretty pleased with how quickly guys have picked things up,” the coach said. “The guys who are going to be a heavy part of our rotation are doing a pretty good job of picking things up and communicating.”

Adam Berg, Dan Dwyer and Danny LoGiurato were all with the varsity team this season and figure to be key contributors this season. Montraveous Little and Greg Pietrzak arrive from the sophomore team to flesh out the roster. The Sentinels run a basic wing offense predicated on back door cuts and back screens, but the coach is hoping to increase the difficulty of the offense sooner rather than later. He believes he has the personnel to do just that.

“This group right now, we have some good post guys and a couple guards that can dribble penetrate real well,” Etheridge said. “We’ve got the pieces we need, and once they learn all the little things we’ll be in pretty good shape.”

Defensively, Westmont will go with a 3-2 zone look that will morph into a 1-2-2 or even something similar to man-to-man, depending on what the situation warrants.

The Sentinels open the season at Ridgewood’s Battle at the Ridge tournament, where they will face Ridgewood, Wheeling and Leyden. Etheridge will wait until after the tourney to discuss goals with his team.

“(Ridgewood’s tournament) is a good measuring stick for us because it’s not going to hurt us in conference,” Etheridge said. “I usually wait until after that first tournament so we have something realistic to base it on. If you go out and defensively give up 80 points a game, then you have a goal to get that down and something to work on.”

At a glance
COACH
Craig Etheridge2011-12 RECORD 17-14 (6-5 Interstate Eight) TOP PLAYERS Adam Berg    jr.    F/C Dan Dwyer    sr.    G Danny LoGiurato    jr.    G Montraveous Little    jr.    G Kris Pierce    sr.    G Greg Pietrzak    jr.    F/C Jean Pietrzak    sr.    F/CFIRST GAME Monday, Nov. 19 vs. Ridgewood at Ridgewood tournament

13.3 Average points per game last season for Kevin Good, one of three starters and four key contributors that is not returning to the team

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