Saugerties boys’ basketball team hopes to use speed as a weapon

Saugerties boys’ basketball coach Mike Tiano is looking for big things from his talented group of senior players. (photo by Robert Ford)

Saugerties boys’ basketball coach Mike Tiano is looking for big things from his talented group of senior players. (photo by Robert Ford)

Saugerties High School boys’ basketball coach Mike Tiano is looking forward to an exciting season as his team prepares to get their scheduled started.

Unlike the last several years when he’s had a number of tall players who could dominate under the basket, this year’s team is a bit shorter, but much faster, Tiano says. He expects to rely more on the run-and-gun. “We’ll be looking to use our speed to get quick steals, get the ball down the court on a fast break, and put the ball into the net,” he says. “We have guards that can really run, and we’re going to get our forwards running as well.”

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A number of players just finished playing for the successful Sawyer football team that finished the season 7-2. Tiano sees the hard work put in by his players in the gym and in the weight room translating into success. “They’ve brought in a philosophy of winning and hard work,” the coach explains.

One of the surprises on this year’s team has been seventh grader Dior Johnson, a quick guard who’s still finding his way with the varsity, but bringing speed and court awareness to the team. “He plays on a high level, which we expect from all our players,” Tiano says. “It’s still a learning process for him, but our older players have really accepted him, and we are looking for good things from him this year.”

This year’s team will be led by a talented group of seniors: Austin Curlin, Jacob Johansen, Martin Lopez, Omar Mazariego, Mathew Nielsen and Keith Hartrum.  Tiano is also counting from contributions to the team from Tavin Rell and Jack Hindes.

The Sawyers open their season at a tournament at John Jay High School next Thursday, December 1.

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