The final roster is set, the captains have been picked and the team looked ready for action as they continued to build towards their season opener on Dec. 10. Before the first game of the season the Patriots played in three scrimmages, which gave the team an opportunity to play together and gain chemistry prior to the contests that actually count.
This squad is made up of six seniors, seven juniors and one freshman. Senior guards Jack Lvovsky and Jack Moskowitz along with junior guard William Margaritas were selected as team captains. Two other seniors, centers Andy Ram and Conor Walsh, are playing competitive basketball for the first time and are hoping to make an impact this season. Although they will most likely have a bench role, the two big men are adding much needed height, size and depth that will benefit the Patriots.
With Walsh’s main sport being baseball and Ram’s being soccer, it will be interesting to see how they become acclimated and learn the ropes of playing high school basketball. “Soccer is something I’ve been very comfortable with, but the mental aspect of basketball is definitely something I’ve had to adjust to. There are plays and certain things that you need to memorize that affect the game, that aren’t present in soccer,” Ram said.
As for the seven juniors, four of them were starters on JV last season. Guard Jayden Rowe in particular is agile and a phenomenal ball handler. He will play a key role as one of the first guards to come off the bench. There is excitement around this team and the players believe they can attain anything they set their minds to. “I think the team is going to be good this season, and we have the right roster to achieve anything,” Rowe said.
Another guard is the sole freshman on the roster, Franklin Ayissi-Etoh. He has big shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of his older brother, Kevin Ayissi-Etoh who played for the Patriots from 2015-2019. Ayissi-Etoh injured his knee in the Patriot’s second scrimmage, but then got an MRI and should be good to go before the first game. “Franklin is a really talented player who can and will be huge for this team,” senior forward Hubert Bayigamba said.
In MCPS scrimmages, there is no score kept. There are five periods, and after each period the score is erased and starts back at 0-0. The Patriots handled the practice games well. According to Moskowitz, they went 2-1, beating the Poolesville Falcons and Clarksburg Coyotes.
The game against the Falcons was a cakewalk as the Patriots won easily by double digits. It was a different story when it came to Clarksburg. Ahead of the meeting against the Coyotes, most would’ve picked Clarksburg to come out on top. This new-look Patriots squad made shots and played suburb defense in order to get the job done. “I feel like after the first scrimmage against Sherwood we got all of the jitters out of our system. It showed after we beat Clarksburg, a very good team, in our last scrimmage,” Bayigamba said.
The first game was on Dec. 10 against Blair at home, but was too late to be covered in this issue.