New coach anxious to lead youthful Bears
EASTON, Maine — Following more than a decade as an assistant under five different coaches, Danny Warren finally gets a chance to be the chief decision-maker for the Easton boys’ varsity basketball team.
The 35-year-old, a history teacher at Presque Isle High School, was handed the reins after previous coach Brad Trask stepped down during the off-season.
Warren, a graduate of Easton High School, coached under Travis Carter, Dillon Kingsbury, Manny Martinez, Cody Closson and Trask since 2009 and took lessons from all of them, which he believes will serve him well in his new role.
He also had coaching role models from his high school playing days, including current Presque Isle High School head coach Terry Cummings, who was Warren’s JV coach when he attended Houlton High School, and the late Vance Smith, who became Warren’s coach after he moved to Easton.
“There are positives to be taken and utilized,” Warren said. “I am excited to take certain aspects of their teachings and mix them with my own. I can now provide these tools to the players and allow them to use them as needed.”
This year’s Bears squad is excited to see how well they can compete in the Class D North ranks after losing eight players to graduation, including most of the starters.
Warren said Easton has played a solid stretch of basketball, taking on Class B Caribou and Class C Fort Kent and Madawaska during a summer tournament hosted by Fort Kent. The Bears scrimmaged against Caribou again later in the summer and recently took on Washburn twice and East Grand during the preseason.
“I really like how well rounded the boys are this year,” said the coach. “I think we’ll have a nice mix of being long and tall, but sneaky and fast too.
“The boys are hungry. Easton teams have made it to Bangor nine of the past 10 years and this group has its sights set on the long haul,” Warren said. “They know not to take things for granted, and that winning is very hard and requires a lot of work.”
The Bears’ roster includes versatile 6-foot, 2-inch center Ben Wipperman, multi-talented 6-1 forward Evan Carver and 6-foot floor general Cade Ennis, all juniors; lightning-quick 5-9 sophomore guard Owen Sweeney and smooth-shooting 5-9 freshman Chase Flewelling. All are in the mix for starting roles and possess specific abilities that will serve the team well, according to Warren.
Zach Mills, the lone senior, is 6-3 and a strong rebounder, while 5-9 junior guard Rylee Chasse possesses a strong basketball IQ and 6-2 freshman Zack Pelletier provides athleticism and versatility.
Gus Bonner, a 5-11 sophomore, is a defensive-minded player who helps round out the roster along with sharp-shooting 5-9 sophomore Dawson Lamoreau and 5-9 freshman spark plug Blake King.
“With so many new faces, our goal is to build relationships and trust through the lens of the game,” Warren added. “The more they play, the more that will come together.”