Boys basketball hopes to improve despite losing key seniors: Team strives to make playoffs once again behind leading scorer Noah Linder

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Josh White

Senior captain Noah Linder takes the ball to the hole against the Great Neck South Rebels on Dec. 9. Despite the loss, Linder tallied a team-high 22 points. On the season, Linder is averaging 21.7 points per game and led the Vikings to its first win of the season over the Hicksville Comets on Dec. 12.

The boys varsity basketball team, one of Schreiber’s more successful teams in recent years, looks to keep up their play from last year’s regular season that culminated in a playoff berth.  However, last season ended in a heartbreaking loss decided by only three points in the first round against Massapequa.

Even after the graduation of last year’s seniors, the team is looking to bounce back from this loss and still believes they have the talent to compete.

Despite all of the talent lost from departing seniors, junior Zach Jimenez, now playing for the team for his second season, cited senior captain Noah Linder as the player expected to be the centerpiece of this year’s squad.

“Noah Linder is definitely going be the go-to guy this year.  I know he’s going to perform consistently and give the team the best shot at being a legitimate post-season contender,” said Jimenez.

Head Coach Mr. Sean Dooley agrees that Linder will likely contribute the most to the team.

“Noah is the main returning experienced player from last year.  He was all conference last year and will be our best player this year,” said Coach Dooley.

Although the graduation of key seniors from last year, including Ryan Kriftcher, Matt Siegel, and David Kobus has left a void in leadership and experience, it has also opened up opportunities for this year’s players.

“There’s a lot of talent, just not a lot of experience,” said Coach Dooley.

The team hopes to gain this experience back in some of the games early on this year.

Under the leadership and experience of Linder, some of the players expected to contribute include juniors Daniel Ernst and Jimenez, and sophomores Jake Block and Adam Mizrahi, who along with Linder himself, were listed in Newsday as important players to the team.

“Everyone is going to have to step up.  We can be a good team but we have to play to our potential,” said Linder.  “Obviously the lack of experience is going to hurt us throughout the year, but we need some of the younger guys to step up.  As the season goes on I feel confident that the sophomores and juniors who weren’t on the team last year are going to develop into their roles.”

This year’s Vikings team is different than other recent rosters, considering it has pulled up many underclassmen to play, including one eighth grader.

Brian Kenyon is the first eighth grader to play on the varsity team since 2012 when Jordan Walker, who would be a sophomore, who no longer attends Schreiber, played point guard.

The team also boasts a core of juniors consisting of Ernst, Jimenez, Hayden Braider, and Kevin Hazan, an up and coming group who hope to gain experience this season for when they are expected to lead next year.

“Despite the tremendous amount of talent lost, I think the new sophomores and other returning players can take the team far.  Also, don’t forget the eighth grader, Brian Kenyon, who I think will be another young player to perform well this year.  This type of young talent will be key to the future success of the team,” said Jimenez.

The team started off their season with a treat; the season opener against Syosset was broadcast on television by FiOS1 News.

The Vikings ended up losing the game 68-52, but the game was non-conference, so it does not count against the team’s playoff hopes.

However, getting to be on television in what was the first game on varsity for many players added some extra excitement to the atmosphere.

“Honestly it was a little bit nerve wracking being on TV in my first game as a varsity player.  But it was still a cool experience and something I will remember,” said Hazan.

Still, there is one ultimate goal for the team this year: to make the playoffs and make a run.

Most players believe that Baldwin’s team will be its main obstacle toward achieving this goal.

“Baldwin has a great coach and usually tends to end up on top of the conference, if not the county.  Their players are always athletic and very talented,” said Jimenez.

The team believes that it has what it takes, and the fact that many players are gaining experience this early in their high school careers could pay dividends in the future.