Last year the Gardner-South Wilmington boys basketball team set the kind of school record no team wants to be known for – fewest wins in a single season.
The Panthers’ 2-24 record stands alone as an unwanted piece of history.
“It’s time to turn the page,” GSW guard Tristan Noonan said. “We just have to get over last year and move forward.”
Noonan is one of five returning players for the Panthers this season. Joining him are Nathan Ruffatti, Danny Houseman, Kyle Robison and Jeremy Kunz.
Regardless of the experience on the team, first-year GSW coach Chris Gibson thinks the team has to go into the new season with a different attitude.
“First it’s a mindset. We’re changing the mentality,” Gibson said. “There is a lot more communication this year and a lot more enthusiasm. With that said, we’re 0-0 right now, so the question is, when we get into adversity, can we keep that right mindset? And will that help us get going in the right direction.”
Noonan said so far he thinks the switch has paid off.
“I think we’re doing really well. I think we are a lot better than we were last year,” he said. “I think we have more team chemistry and have shown teamwork and more dedication than we did last year.”
In addition to the returning starters, Gibson said the team will be counting on juniors Blake Marks, Trevor McDaniel, Brendan Elens and sophomore Scott Horrie.
All of them have had the task of learning a new system that Gibson brings with him.
“It’s his style to run and gun,” Noonan said. “It’s more fast paced. Everyone likes it a lot better than we did last year. We feel there is more scoring opportunities that way. I think it fits everyone’s personality a lot better.”
GSW thinks St. Anne is the team to beat in the conference this year, though Tri-Point is at the top of the list, too.
“It will be a battle. There’s some really good teams in our conference,” Noonan said. “St. Anne is really good, they were regional champions and Tri-Point. Those two teams are the teams to look out for.”
As far as team goals are concerned, basically everyone is willing to take all victories, both big and small as they arise this season.
“We aren’t talking about goals in terms of number of wins,” Gibson said. “We are simply working on changing the mentality and the work ethic.”
Something the team seems to have bought into.
“I just want to see us play and to continue to develop team chemistry,” Noonan said. “Record wise, I think .500 would be great, especially after last year.”