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Golden Lion Basketball Season Preview
December 2nd, 2014

The 2013-2014 season saw the St. Pius X basketball program reach record heights. The team was ranked in the top 10 in the polls for the entire season and won the Jefferson Tip-Off Tournament and St. Pius X Christmas Classic, respectively. In addition, the Golden Lions tied the school record for wins with 24 victories. With the graduation of 9 seniors and with program moving up to AAAA this year, Coach Parr and his staff will face new challenges.

“With us losing so many players, many people around here think it may be a rebuilding year, but we have high expectations,” said Coach Parr. “We have some highly skilled seniors who have waited their turn as well as a core group of talented younger players. We will have a very skilled offensive team who will be eager to prove themselves. It should be a fun group to coach.”

The leading returning scorer is junior Christian Merrill. Merrill started 10 games last season and was the team’s best defensive player. He will be looked to for more scoring and leadership this year. Seniors Louie Aponte and Pornchai Chantha will be relied on heavily at the point guard position. Aponte saw significant playing time at point guard last year while Chantha has been arguably the team’s hardest worker this offseason. In addition, Senior Lawrence Lococo will be looked to for leadership and strong offensive play at the forward position. Lococo started 8 games at forward last season.

The Golden Lions hope that outside shooting will be one of its strengths this year. Leading the way are two senior wings, Derek Rufolo and Hamilton Crane, as well as a sophomore newcomer on varsity Carson Seramur. All three will compete for time and all three are big time weapons from three point range.

One of the biggest question marks going into the season is how Pius will fare after graduating 6’10 Center Nick Harris (College of Charleston). Rather than replacing the inside force, Pius will become more perimeter oriented and play more versatile post players in juniors Kerney Lane (6’5) and Jakob Spitzer (6’7). Lane is a transfer from Mission Preparatory Catholic High School (San Luis Obispo, California) with a multidimensional game. Spitzer, who started on the Junior Varsity team last year has grown three inches this offseason.

According to Parr, one of the potential strengths of the new group is their depth on the perimeter. Juniors Ryan Lynch and Chandler Parks are two of the most athletic players on the team who have the ability to defend multiple positions as well as score the ball. In addition, juniors Michael Bresnahan, Sam Petry and Joey Carbonara will provide depth at the guard and wing positions.

There is no doubt that Pius’s road will be challenging. Their region includes state powers Columbia, Grady, Stone Mountain and rival Marist. In addition, Parr has loaded up the team’s non-region schedule as Pius will play against top teams in “The Rock Holiday Classic” in Orlando, Florida over the Christmas Holiday. Two time defending 6A Alabama state champion Mountain Brook High School will also travel to Atlanta to face the Golden Lions. “There is no doubt that our schedule is challenging, but playing teams like Columbia and Mountain Brook make your program better. We have been fortunate to be able to be able to schedule some of the top teams in the Southeast,” said Parr.

With so many newcomers on the roster and a challenging schedule awaiting the Golden Lions, Parr says the most important thing to focus on is themselves.

“We want to focus on the process. If we can get a little better each day and play with the intensity level that Pius is known for, wins and losses will take care of themselves. Our team has to focus on what we can control and strive to be the most unselfish and hardest playing team we can be.”

Basketball season is back!

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