The Madness Begins For Spartans

Despite losing their leading scorer from last season, the Castleton men’s basketball team will bring back the majority of last year’s roster in hopes of contending for the conference title.With scrimmages and exhibition games already under their belt, the Spartans are ready to open the regular season this week.

Castleton head coach Ted Shipley returns for his sixth season at the helm, and expects a lot from his team — both on and off the court.

“Obviously we want to win basketball games, but it is also important for each player to be excellent students and good citizens in the community,” he said. “A very strong work ethic and team approach are vital toward the outcome of games and how we present ourselves to the community.”

The Spartans return four starters from last year’s 13-13 squad, including junior guard Rich Reilly and senior big-man Jeremy Jorgensen.

Reilly, a point guard from Manassas, Va., averaged 18.2 points per game last season and led the team in assists. Jorgensen, a 6-4 forward from Fairlee, enters his final year after leading the team in rebounds with 9.9 per game and averaging over 15 points.

Coach Shipley has stressed the need for his players to fill in the leadership role, which he believes will be occupied by Jorgensen and Reilly.

“Player leadership is everything in the direction of our team,” Shipley said. “Both guys have good leadership qualities and are very competitive.”

The other two returning starters from last season are senior forward Matt Tomaino and junior guard Alden Gregory, both known for playing tough on the defensive end.

To add some size to this year’s roster, the Spartans bring in 6’9 center Zach Briggs from Randolph. According to coach Shipley, Briggs will give the team valuable minutes off the bench and will have an immediate impact in the frontcourt.

It is uncertain whether or not the Spartans will get production from the newcomers, but the sixth-year head coach sees this as a good thing.

“There is not a lot of pressure on the new players to produce right away,” he said. “They will be able to learn the offense and defense this season, and any early season production is an added bonus for our team.”

Castleton opens its season Friday against Clarkson in the first round of the Potsdam State Invitational. The host school, Potsdam State University, and rival Green Mountain College round out the teams participating in the two-day tournament.

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