In an early-season tournament game, Country Day scored the first 10 points and built an insurmountable 36-12 halftime lead over La Jolla that showed the team’s potential for 2019-20.
Carmy Cesaire, the Torreys’ assistant coach, says of team leaders James Hapgood and Sam Coleman, “They’re guys who were a big part of our [Division 3] state championship team last year. They have played a lot of basketball and have some good experience.”
With All-CIF star Ryan Langborg graduated to the greener pastures of Princeton, Cesaire and Country Day are looking to Hapgood, a talented 6-foot-2-inch guard, and Coleman, a 6-foot-4-inch returner, to help season a young squad who won their first three games out of the chute.
Ryan Meier, in his 14th year as Torrey head coach, appreciates the value of Hapgood. “He does everything,” the coach says. “The deflections. The steals. He sets everyone up for a basket.
“You don’t see everything he does from what you see in the media coverage. The kid is a winner. If I could find the words, I’d use them.”
Coleman, who plays in the middle back of Country Day’s 2-3 zone, started part-time last year as a junior. But this year expectations are much higher. “Coincidentally, you ask about him. We looked at film today,” said Meier. “In our first possession [of our previous game] on both offense and defense, he did everything we ask players to do. He’s a coach’s player.”
Asked to elaborate, the head coach said, “We want to see a lot of off-ball action [on offense]. Defensively, we want to see the same. He does that.
“As the defender in the middle, we want Sam to communicate. He’s in the back, so he sees everything. He does that. He’s a great communicator.”
The rest of Torreys’ young rotation, with the head coach’s comments:
Tate Smith, a 6-foot-1-inch sophomore: “Tate is our second-leading scorer, a perimeter shooter, a skilled offensive player. It’s his first year on varsity. He’s going to put points on the board for us.”
Marc Begin, a 6-foot sophomore: “He’s going to be one of the more talented basketball athletes. He handles the ball at point guard, plays good defense. Mentally, Marc’s young. He’s a sophomore. He has played at a competitive level in the offseason. I think when he plays more this season, his confidence will grow.”
Jake Altman, a 5-foot-9-inch freshman: “A tough-nosed point guard. Physical at his position, strong, yet he’s going to be thrown into the lion’s den early. He’s going to make freshman mistakes. I think by the end of the year, he’s going to play a major part on our team.”
Gavin Bass-Sulpizio, a 6-foot-1-inch junior: “He’s a guy with experience, his high basketball IQ, a good lefty perimeter shooter.”
Sean Reed, a 6-foot-4-inch senior: “A good perimeter shooter. His defense is improving. He has a strong work ethic.”
Anthony Aruffo, a 5-foot-11-inch freshman: “Anthony is one of our physical, tougher guards. A lock-down defender. He rebounds really well at guard.”