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Valley Sports Report
SAYRE — Sayre returns nearly everyone from a team that made a trip to the state playoffs, and second-year coach Devin Shaw is looking for depth and a high-octane offense to make that happen again in 2021.

Senior Matt Lane will start at point guard for the Redskins, with senior Zach Moore and junior Dom Fabbri at the shooting guards, sophomore Lucas Horton at power forward, and senior Connor Young at the center.

Shaw expects senior Josh Arnold, sophomore Jackson Hubbard, and junior Kannon VanDuzer to get significant minutes off the bench.

“We have four starters returning, and three coming off the bench that saw a lot of minutes last year,” said Shaw.

Seniors Nic Bentley and Cody VanBenthuysen, and Tavone McClenny will also vie for time.

“It’s nice to have four starters returning,” said Shaw. “I think that nucleus coming back, and being able to improve on the system we tried to implement last year is going to be key for us to be able to have a transition from last year into this year.

“All the guys on the bench also played varsity, so we have a great group of guys coming back with varsity experience,” he added.

Shaw believes his team’s depth, and its ability to play an up-tempo style of game will be its biggest strength in 2021.

“Hopefully, you’re going to see us play a fast-paced game,” said Shaw. “We’re trying to pick it up a little bit. We’re looking to play fast, and get up and down the floor.

“I think our numbers help, too,” noted Shaw. “Wearing these mask is going to take a toll, people are going to get tired and it’s going to be difficult. Hopefully, we can push the floor a little bit and wear teams out and use our depth.

“Being able to sub and keep guys fresh is going to make a big difference in some of our games,” Shaw added.

Shaw doesn’t see offense as a problem for this Redskins team.

“I think we’ll score points,” he said. “We have so many guys who can score in different ways. It’s going to be difficult for teams to take one guy away because we have so many other guys who can step up and score.”

The main loss from last year’s playoff team was 6-3 Corbin Young, who was a presence in the paint, especially late in the season. Shaw believes 6-5 Young will fill his shoes.

“Connor has looked really good in practice,” he said. “I think we’re going to rely on him, and use him in the post, which is going to open up our guards.”

Shaw’s main concern is his team’s ability to talk on the court.

“Coming together in the communication piece of being a team is difficult,” he said. “At the high school level, kids like to talk off the court, but when they get on the court, they’re trying to figure out how to communicate properly.

“I think communications is huge,” added Shaw. “It keeps your defense flowing and keeps everybody on the same page.”

Communications also plays an integral role on defense, said Shaw.

“I think we’re still working on our defense.

“Getting the defense together is always the hard part in basketball,” said Shaw. “Everybody sees scoring, and everybody wants their name in the paper for points, but defense is the one area that gets overlooked.

“We need to get everyone on the same page defensively,” added Shaw.

“The league is going to be tough overall,” said Shaw. “There are a lot of teams returning guys.”

Small School Division
“North Penn-Liberty went to the state playoffs last year, so they’re going to be strong,” noted Shaw.

“We played Canton three times last year, including in District. They have a lot back, and are going to be a tough team,” he added. “And, Northeast Bradford should be pretty good, too.”

Large School Division
“Athens, Troy, Wyalusing … every night in the NTL is going to be a battle,” noted Shaw.

Sayre, which opened the season with a win at NEB Monday, is in action tonight at Canton.


IN PHOTO: Clockwise, starting top left: Zach Moore, Matt Lane, Dom Fabbri, and Lucas Horton. … VSR STOCK PHOTOS.

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