Bulldogs ready to run

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MANCHESTER — After an 8-13 season and a first-round playoff exit, the Burr and Burton boys basketball team loses its top scorer from a year ago.

But the 2017 version of the Bulldogs still have a lot of strong pieces, ones that have an ambition to be in the mix as the calendar turns to March.

"We actually like to say we started our season back in May," Green said after a scrimmage with Long Trail School on Monday night. "We did a lot of informal stuff, had the international team come in and we [participated] in a summer league in Rutland. It was all these guys, JV and varsity, every week, three days a week in the gym. So we hit the court running, which is nice."

BBA, in Division I, graduated its top scorer in Carter Vickers, who averaged better than 16 points a game, and Sean Apps, one of the top rebounders and defenders for the Bulldogs. But they return Jake Nicholson, who averaged 11 points per game and Bryce Little, who had 7.3 points per game.

We lost a lot with Carter and Sean, but the energy this year compared to last year is night and day," Green said. "It's exciting to see. To say it's going to happen is one thing but to see it is something else."

Nicholson has been a pure shooter in the past, making the varsity as a freshman. But this season, he'll look to do much more, including getting into the paint.

"He's done a great job accepting that role, he's kind of been dreaming about this for a while now," Green said. "Last year, he was our primary ballhandler. This year we should be able to get the ball out of his hands a little bit, free him up to run a little through our primary and secondary sets. He runs the floor well and makes good decisions."

Little, coming into his senior season, is on the verge of breaking out as well.

"Bryce is in a position to have a really good season, I wouldn't be surprised if he led the team in scoring," Green said. "His shot is smooth, his mid-range game is some of the best in the state. He's making better decisions and his motor starts on the defensive end, which is what we love."

A pair of new players are coming in with very little basketball experience, but each are top athletes in Jay and Joey McCoy. The brothers go from the rink to the court this season.

"We talked before he tried out, he left a varsity spot in hockey," Green said. "I told him, if he's focuses on defense and rebounding, we'll find minutes for a guy of your size."

Green said McCoy has become a leader, just as he is on the football field.

"He's exhibiting leadership roles, work ethic and accepting his role," Green said. "Joey is the same way, his energy is contagious. I feel good about our potential this year."

Another new player that Green said could surprise is Jake Baker.

"He's an undersized 4 or an oversized 3," Green said. "He plays bigger than he is and he has a nice jump shot. He's another high energy guy that will feast off the rebounding and defensive end."

The Bulldogs are carrying 16 players on varsity and they want to use that depth to tire out teams.

"We want to run, we're deep and athletic," Green said. "The goal is to be up the floor with a good look in 12 seconds. It looked a little sloppy [Monday night], but we want to play fast."

Green said a goal was to get a home playoff game, something they didn't do last year.

"We also want to win all of our Division II games, we have to take care of those," Green said. "They should be index points in our favor."

Roster: Jake Nicholson, Patrick Forstmann, Jake Baker, Jay McCoy, Joey McCoy, Cody Goebel, Will Frank, DJ Mulroy, Evan Rawson, Joe Hancock, Bryce Little, River Defelice, Bruce Blanchard, Aiden Francomb, Colby Leary, Tommy Baker.

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