Mountain Lions look to roar into D-IV mix

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DORSET — After a successful season in soccer where the Long Trail boys reached their first Division IV final in school history, the Mountain Lions are hoping that rubs off on the basketball team — many of whom were on that ride this fall.

They do lose leading scorer and all-star Liam Sheldon, but they bring back a handful of athletic players that will make some noise this year.

"The whole team, basketball and individually, are a lot more mature," said second-year head coach Seth Rice. "They understand if they play together like they did in soccer what the results [can be]. They have a year under their belt with me, they know my style. It took a while to get on the same page last year. We're not on the same page yet this year, we have a couple new players we're trying to integrate."

Long Trail was 10-9 last season, losing to Proctor in the quarterfinals in only its second season of varsity competition.

Seniors including Will McCullough, Levin Coe and Luc Carmel, three major pieces of the Mountain Lions' soccer success and all part of last year's team.

"We've seen the leadership in practice already, they help the younger guys get in the right places," said Rice, who has coached at Burr and Burton in the past. "They're encouraging them to be more aggressive, that's what we need out of our young guys, they can't be tentative. They have to step in and be aggressive, that's the style we want to play."

A couple of new players that look to make some noise include Jeremy Linfield and BBA transfer Sean Lin.

"Jeremy is new to our program but he has some nice skills and a good feel for the game," Rice said. "Sean was here at BBA last year, he's athletic and he'll help us."

The team are still considered road warriors, with no home gym at Long Trail School. They will have five "home" games at Manchester Elementary Middle School this year.

"We're used to it. We don't have any home rims, so we have to get a feel wherever we're shooting, but if we can get layups like we want to, it doesn't matter what gym we're playing in," said Rice after scrimmaging D-I BBA on Monday. "The goal to turn teams over, and I think we'll be more effective against D-IV teams."

Rice has some realistic and achievable goals for the Mountain Lions.

"We want to get better every day," Rice said. "They went to the championship in soccer, so I think if we were able to get to the Final Four in basketball, that would be a good goal."

Roster: Luc Carmel, Garrett Petrossi, Will McCullough, Levin Coe, Cole Norkon, Collin Racine, Sean Lin, Mike Daley, Jackson Washburn, Liam Murphy, Jeremy Linfield, Sean Bottomms


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