By: Erin Holly McDermott, Editor-in-chief 

The Boys’ Varsity Basketball Team at Indian Hills has been the subject of much discussion and surprise as the team has experienced unexpected success. The team’s record is currently sitting at 8-2, impressive as compared to last season’s record of 4-21. Drumbeats staff had the opportunity to discuss the changes made in order to appreciate such athletic success with Varsity coach, Nicholas De Carlo.

The most asked question for the coach was ‘why this year?’ What changes have the basketball coaching staff implemented that are reflected in the season record? DeCarlo explained, “The success in the early part of the season can be attributed to the experiences that our Senior leaders have had over the last 3 years.” Leaders that DeCarlo highlighted include seniors Anthony Puglisi, Everett James, James Hickey, Gavin Enright, and Anthony Giacamaro. In the latest game of the season, against Westwood, key players included James who threw up 24 points, Enright with 11 rebounds, and Puglisi with 4 steals. The impact of senior players is tangible on the court, reflective of the off-court training and conditioning of the players. Without the dedication from both the coaching staff and players, success, like that experienced by this team, is not possible. DeCarlo detailed, “The need to make sure things do not become stale is something that as a staff we need to address every day.” IH Basketball, on both the Boys’ and Girls’ sides, has been historically balanced in the fight between players’ style and successful coaching tactics.

DeCarlo also took the time to express the importance of the team culture and playing style instigated by the individual players, as well as its role in the successful season. Individual players, who have stepped up for the leadership role, create a more free-flowing practice and game space. DeCarlo expressed his appreciation for student leaders, namely Gavin Enright, Anthony Puglisi, and James Hickey, by stating, “They make it a point to lead by example and have created a certain level of expectation that the other players need to meet. Their leadership has made it easy for the coaching staff to strictly focus on basketball.” The ability to focus on basketball the coaching staff has been reflected in games such as against Wood-Ridge in the Herb Cohen Holiday Tournament, where Hills scored a season-high 69 points. This game was altered by Gavin Enright with 16 points and 12 rebounds. He explained that there is an “expectation that we will compete every night we step on the floor.” The long-lasting effects of a successful season led to increased confidence in future games and a unique pride Hills students carry while in attendance. DeCarlo highlighted that “to compete is a life skill that these young men will carry with them even after their playing days are done here at Hills.”  

With the senior class putting up so many points per game, what can be expected for the future of IH Basketball? DeCarlo answered, “We have multiple Juniors and Sophomores that will hopefully make an impact in the coming years. Additionally, this current season saw one of the biggest freshmen classes we have had tryouts in recent years.” Looking to the future of the program, through underclassmen, is crucial to the survival of IH sports teams. In a more narrow scope, the future of IH Basketball includes a game against Paramus Catholic on the 19th, Dwight Morrow on the 21st, and Eastern Christian on the 23rd.

Finally, DeCarlo highlighted the “WE” attitude of IH Boys’ Basketball, which aims to place the team above the individual. It’s clear that the record of the team is due to the hardwork and dedication of teammates and coaches alike. As students look forward to the season, many are hopeful for continued success and prosperity in the world of IH Basketball.