Marblehead basketball looks to rebound with young roster

Despite a slow start to the beginning of last season, the Magicians’ boys basketball team managed to finish the regular season with a 12-8 record, earning Marblehead a play-in game against Newburyport in the state tournament. The Magicians fell to the Clippers 75-61, but Head Coach Mike Giardi is hopeful that his team can learn from last season’s ups and downs as he expects a very similar situation this season. 

With eight seniors graduating, he knows this year will be a similar battle.

“This year it’s going to be tough again,” said Giardi. “We’ve got a lot of kids that have left the program, a lot of seniors that really turned it on. We’re losing seven or eight seniors that are really, really going to be tough to replace.”

One of the few returners on the team is senior guard Tyrone Countrymon, who was one of the Magicians’ top scoring options last season. Now assuming leadership responsibilities as a senior, Giardi is relying on his star guard to lift up the young group of players.

“He’s going to have to lead the way. We have a lot of really similar type players that are going to be surrounding him,” he said. 

With such a young roster, expectations at the start of the season have to be tempered a bit. Every team enters the year wanting to win the state championship, but Giardi knows that the team needs to start with small goals before thinking ahead too quickly. 

The season opener is just two weeks away, and Giardi says it will take a few practices to get a sense of what his team will be like this year, but says that priority number one is just to win enough games to make the tournament. Then, they can go from there.

“Your first goal is obviously to get a winning record, get to at least .500, getting to .500 will get you in the tournament, that’s always a good thing,” said Giardi. “If you can achieve that goal, then you keep trying to add on and add on. Then, maybe, you fight for a potential league title or a higher seed. Until we really get out on the court that Monday, it’s going to be hard to see what these guys can do.”

Though many experienced players are now gone, the team is not without returning young talent on the roster. Cam Comstock, Ryan Comoss, Scott Campbell, Miles O’Neill, and Matt Sherf are all players that will have an immediate impact on the team, alongside senior Isaiah Makor, whose “athletic ability is second to none” according to Giardi. 

Nick Lemmond, who spent two years at St. John’s Prep, will be returning to Marblehead for his junior year, and looks to make an immediate impact on the team as well. 

Marblehead opens the season against a Beverley team that went 21-3 last season and gives the Magicians an immediate chance for revenge as they lost to the Panthers 63-46. With six games before the New Year, including three that will take place as part of a tournament that the team will be attending in Kissimmee, Fla., Giardi says that first stretch will be a good test and it will force the team to grow quickly. 

“We’ll be six games in by the time the new year hits, so we gotta be ready to go right away and it’s going to be a big test for us, but we’re excited about it,” Giardi said.