Southern Aroostook boys poised for dynamic season

3 years ago

DYER BROOK, Maine — After experiencing a fair amount of success last season under the guidance of coach Brett Russell, the Southern Aroostook boys are hungry for more this year.

And with nearly the entire roster returning, it is difficult to argue with that thought process.

The Warriors finished 13-5 last season, which earned the squad the No. 5 seed in Class D North and a bye directly to the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. In the postseason, SA fell to No. 4 Machias 57-46. Machias went on to win the regional championship. 

While there will be no return to Bangor for any squad this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an Aroostook County title could be in the mix for the Warriors, provided the team can stay healthy.

“I’m looking forward to playing and improving this year,” coach Russell said. “We will look to build off last year’s successes and failures. We should be competitive. Then we will see where the cookie crumbles.”

COVID-19 has affected some Aroostook squads, either in the form of a delayed start to the season or with some students opting not to play basketball at all this year because of the state’s mandate that all players wear face coverings.

Those restrictions have not affected Southern Aroostook, according to Russell, as nearly every player from last year is back for another season.

“The kids are very excited and happy to have the chance to play this year,” he said. “Experience is going to be big for us. We also have lots of young players still with two to four years of varsity time left to play.”

The Warriors roster features seniors Jacob Brooks (guard), Parker Skinner (forward) and Robert Chambers (forward); juniors Hunter Burpee (forward), Chris Caswell (forward) and Gunner Siltz (forward); sophomores Camden Porter (guard), Graham Siltz (forward) and Drake Weston (guard); and freshmen Dylan Burpee (guard) and Brennan Burpee (forward). 

That mix of veterans and underclassmen could bode well for the Warriors, not just for the current season, but for the next several years.

“Hunter and Graham should be down low on opening night,” coach Russell said. “Jacob, Chris, and Camden will be the guards on opening night. Also, we will be looking for some minutes from Gunner, Parker, Drake, Dylan and Brennan.”

If the team’s opening night win — a 94-47 victory over Hodgdon — is any indication,  good things could be in store for the Warriors this season.

One area the coach hopes the team will work on is handling defensive pressure from opponents and improved rebounding on both ends of the court. Above all, coach Russell is just happy that his  squad has been able to start the year on a positive note.

“We just wanted the chance to lace up and play,” Russell  said. “That is a win in my book this year.”