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By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
A 14-6 regular season earned the Needham High School boys varsity basketball team the No. 7 seed in Division I South last winter. The Rockets drew a tough first-round matchup, having to face Catholic Conference power and No. 10 Xaverian in the first round. Needham fell, 62-47.
In 2019-2020, the Rockets enter the season with some high expectations. However, these expectations will need to be met without Bay State Conference All-Star forward and now Duke University football tight end Matthew Smith, who graduated last June.
Leading Needham this season will be a trio of senior co-captains in reigning Bay State Conference MVP and guard Will Dorion, wing Johar Singh, and power forward Jacob Hammermesh.
“We need to have a ‘we over me’ mentality,” said Dorion when asked about his team’s mindset heading into the new season. “Always win, always hustle and always battle.”
When it comes to replacing talent such as Smith, Dorion and his teammates realize the tough tasks ahead of them. However, Dorion also says that the Rockets look forward to utilizing their speed in order to counter some of the size they lost.
“Our size might be down this year but our quickness and speed are assets that we will take advantage of,” said Dorion. “We need to try to keep games at a fast pace while playing good man-to-man defense. We also need to rebound as a team in order to help with how undersized we might be.”
At the time of print, the Rockets will tip off their season at home against rival Walpole on December 17 before taking part in the Westwood Holiday Invitational from December 29-30.
For funny and insightful sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.