(Nov. 29, 2013) The Worcester Prep boys’ basketball team captured its first Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference title since 2007 at the end of the 2012-13 season.
The Mallards, who finished with a 17-3 record last season, hope to take home their second consecutive title this year. The squad got off to a good start Monday, winning the season opener, 68-24, over the Gunston Day Herons in Berlin.
“Our ultimate goal, we just want to win the ESIAC championship again and bring that banner here again,” said senior captain Matt Reilly, a four-year player. He was named to the All-ESIAC Second Team last season.
Reilly scored 10 points and had 10 rebounds in Monday’s season opener.
“Matt will be tough to stop in the half-court game. He’s great from everywhere on the court–down low, outside,” Second-year Coach Keith Geiger said after the game.
Added Reilly, “I just want to give a lot of credit to our coaches for what they’ve done and their support. As a leader on the team, I want to really help the younger guys and kind of just bring this team together, be a positive influence on them and just have a great season.”
Joining Reilly as a team captain is senior point guard Ryan Nally (All-ESIAC First Team). Nally led the Mallards Monday against Gunston. He scored 21 points, had five assists and seven steals.
“It will be hard to slow us down with Ryan Nally running the show,” Geiger said. “He’s a fun player to watch and he makes things easy on the rest of the team. He creates easy shots for the rest of the team.”
Geiger, (ESIAC Co-Coach of the Year 2012-13) said Reilly and Nally have done a good job stepping up to lead the team.
“They always work the hardest, run the fastest and they always ask for more,” Geiger said.
Senior Jack Marshall, a four-year player, is also a veteran who will help lead the Mallards “because of my experience. I’ve been here for four years and I know what to do on the court.”
“I think we’re looking better than last year,” he said. “I think our bench is a lot deeper this year.”
Geiger has 11 players on his roster. About half of the boys are new to varsity, including sophomore Elio Telo and freshmen Tate Shockley and Owen Nally, who Geiger said have impressed him.
Geiger said the Mallards get better every day, their conditioning is improving and they are working hard in practice.
The team’s defense is also solid this year, Geiger said.
“Defensively, I think we’ve really stepped it up to another level,” Reilly said. “Defense has always been our strong point, but it’s even stronger this year.”
Reilly said this is because the coaching staff has implemented new defensive techniques.
Geiger said the team’s strengths is in its defense, transition game and shooting. The goal is to get as many transition points, lay-ups and three pointers as possible.
“We lost three starters (to graduation), two were our top scorers that combined for 25 points. We have to make up those points,” Geiger said. “Matt, Ryan and the other guys have to score more.”
Geiger said the Mallards have been focusing on their defense and transition game, getting the ball down the court fast. Every play is a fast break, Geiger said. The Prep team still needs to work on ball handling and rebounding, he said.
“I think we’re better at the beginning of the year then we were last year. We’re starting off better. We’re a little more fine-tuned,” Geiger said. “We’re more discipline on defense. We’re a lot better on defense this year already and we have good three-point shooters this year–Ryan Nally, Jack Marshall and Matt Reilly.”