Veteran Eagles fully loaded for big winter

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Junior Josh Joyce and the Eagles will look to make another deep run in the postseason this winter after reaching the D-III quarterfinals last season. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
December 09, 2013
GILFORD After a season in which the Gilford High School boys' basketball team came just two points shy of potentially reaching the Division III Final Four, the Golden Eagles have their sights set on another big season on the hardwood. Veteran coach Chip Veazey's squad returns several key players from last year's team that went 16-4 overall before falling in the quarterfinals, 57-55, to Campbell.

Leading the way will once again be junior Josh Joyce, who stepped up in a big way as a sophomore to earn Division III Second-Team All-State honors. Joyce used his size and athleticism in handling the basketball last season, and his deadly outside shooting forced teams to scramble in order to defend him.

Joyce totaled 11 points in last year's quarterfinal loss, a game in which nine different Eagles scored points. The good news for Gilford is that seven of those nine players return this season, though the squad will certainly have a target on its back when the season gets under way Friday night on the road against Lakes Region foe Franklin (6 p.m.).

While Joyce will certainly draw the lion's share of the attention, the Eagles have a balanced supporting cast that is deep and experienced. Junior forward Kaleb Orton (6-foot-2) developed into a beast inside down the stretch last season, and his rebound positioning makes him a potential walking double-double.

Classmate Max Troiano showed he was capable of making the big play on several occasions during his sophomore campaign, including a game-winning three-pointer against Inter-Lakes.

Don't forget about the senior class, as the trio of Jack Athanas (forward), Cam Patridge (guard) and Rich Edson (forward) is loaded with experience at the varsity level. All three have played in big games and will look to close out their hoop careers on high notes.

Junior Kyle Gaudet (forward) also returns for Veazey's club after showing a scoring knack at times throughout last season, while classmates Patrick Scannell (guard), Michael Madore (forward), Nate Davis (guard), Zach Poisson (forward) and Andrew Caulfield (guard) are also capable performers when called upon. Coby Goodwin is the lone sophomore on the roster and will see time at either guard or forward for the Eagles.

While Gilford will have to replace consistent inside/outside play from graduated seniors David Sykie (forward) and Sam Prescott (guard), the overall experience and depth of the Eagles makes the team a favorite in the Lakes Region entering the season.

"It's Gilford," said Winnisquam head coach Kevin Dame when asked who his preseason favorite is. "Until we prove we can beat them or stay with them. They got us last year, they've got a good returning core back. Joyce is one of the better players in the division. Hopefully by the end of the year we're ready to play with them."

The Eagles play just two games before the Christmas break, with the opener at Franklin followed by the home opener on Dec. 17 against Inter-Lakes. The squad will host the Lakes Region Holiday Tournament (Dec. 27, 28 and 30) before picking the regular season slate up again with a contest against Winnisquam on Jan. 3.

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