Ashland boys look to improve after disappointing 2019 season

4 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — After a season in which the team went 3-15 and did not qualify for the playoffs, the Ashland boys basketball team is ready to prove itself this season. 


Coach Lucas Belanger, in his fifth year leading the Hornets, said his team’s biggest strength is its speed. He hopes the Hornets will be able to swiftly overcome its opponents on the floor, whether on offense or defense. 

“We are a pretty fast group,” Belanger said. “We got some guards that can really cover some ground fast.”

The members of the 2019-2020 Ashland Hornets are senior Drew Doughty; juniors Blayne Boutot, Josh Celestre, Sam Craig, Gabe Page and Alden Routhier; sophomores Lukas Deabay and Chance Mills; and eighth-graders Andrew Dotson, Inyas Janoch and Blake Vincent.

In terms of improvements, Coach Belanger said he is “always” trying to improve defensive play. He pointed out that any team without a good defense leaves themselves susceptible to being dominated by the offense, especially with troublesome 3-point-shots. 

“If we can’t defend and can’t get rebounds, then we’re not going to limit possessions,” Belanger said. 

Coach Belanger said while the eighth-graders on the squad might initially be somewhat timid, he was optimistic that the experience would ultimately help them down the road.

“As the season gets going and they understand their role on the team, they know this is like an extra year for them to participate in the sport,” Belanger said. 

Celestre, a junior, is someone Belanger describes as the fastest guy on the team. Belanger said Celestre’s speed is to his advantage in defensive play and that he can have dominant defensive abilities on any given night. 

Celestre, who also plays soccer, said that it was his love of basketball at a young age that first drove him to start playing. He continues to hold a similar attitude today. “I just wanted to play for fun,” Celestre said. 

Belanger said that Page, a junior, is distinguished by his height (he is about 6-foot, 4-inches) and athleticism. He will be the starting center for the team.

 “He would do anything to play minutes and stay on the floor for this team,” Belanger said. “He’s got a good motor as a basketball player.”

Page, who said that his father motivated him to begin playing basketball, said that while the life of a high school athlete was busy and sometimes stressful, he had no problems managing it.

Belanger said that he believed all of the teams on the Hornets’ schedule were formidable. He was optimistic about his team’s chances if they kept up with winning fundamentals. 

“We just [have to] take care of ourselves offensively and defensively,” Belanger said. “And on our nights, when we are really attacking the paint and shooting the ball well, we can beat any team.”