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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The Walpole High School boys varsity basketball team enters the 2016-2017 season with high hopes of getting back to the state tournament while competing for a Bay State Conference title.
The Rebels return four of their five starters from 2015-2016, highlighted by captains Isaiah Shephard (point guard) and shooting guard Luke Esty. Shephard took home First-Team All-Conference honors after being the bread and butter for the Rebel offense a season ago with his incredible ability to shoot from beyond the arc and drive the lane, all while Esty was awarded honorable mention. Like last season, both Shephard and Esty will be playing key minutes for the Rebels and each should play pivotal roles in the team’s offensive production.
Another returning starter for the Rebels this season will be junior guard Trey Wilkes, along with senior forward Brett Von Klock. Both Wilkes and Von Klock are going to be key pieces for the Rebels on both ends of the floor and should provide excellent leadership alongside Shephard and Esty, according to head coach David St. Martin.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys this year,” said St. Martin. “Thankfully, we have a solid core of experienced guys like Wilkes, Shephard, Esty and Von Klock who can spread that leadership amongst the rest of the group.”
Coming off the bench for the Rebels will be a tandem of guards, both upper and underclassmen, including senior Jordan Washburn, junior Aidan Charlton, junior Pat Fallon, and sophomore Matt Falvey. Returning forwards coming off the bench for the Rebels include senior James Randall and junior Dylan Cofsky.
As far as expectations and goals go for this Rebel hoop team in 2016-2017, St. Martin says that his group of young men have their work cut out for them but there is certainly potential to make a lot of noise.
“Our league is really tough, Milton and Wellesley present a lot of difficulty,” said St. Martin. “The goal as always is to try and win the conference and make a run in the state tournament.
We have a lot of speed on this team and we’re really athletic, that’ll give us the ability to run the floor well, should be good.”
At the time of print, the Rebels are set to tip of their season on December 13 against non-conference foe, Bishop Feehan.