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Riverview boys return 3 senior guards to help rebound from 5-17 season

| Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, 10:24 p.m.
Riverview's Nick DiBucci goes up for a shot during practice at the high school on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Riverview's Nick DiBucci goes up for a shot during practice at the high school on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

It might not be wise to underestimate the Riverview boys basketball team this season.

Don't be fooled by the Raiders' youth and lack of size; they're an experienced team with some sneaky versatility.

“I think people are going to overlook us because we had a down year last year,” Riverview coach Kevin Krajca said. “We were young last year with two seniors and one returning starter. We got a baptism by fire, and I think the other kids have got accustomed to the level of play. I think we will be more prepared to play this year.”

The Raiders finished 5-17 overall with a 2-10 record in Section 3-AA. The offense will be centered around three senior guards, all returning starters in Jason Anthony, Nick DiBucci and Zach Lesnick. All three will look to replace the scoring left behind by grad Sam Gonsowski, who averaged 12 points per game.

Anthony isn't the biggest player on the court, but is hard-nosed and not afraid to mix it up and fight for a rebound under the rim. DiBucci is a versatile player who has the ability to knock down shots, the coach said.

Lesnick, who can play all three guard positions and averaged 10 points per game last season, could be the most versatile player of the three.

“He can do a little bit of everything,” Krajca said. “There will be times where he can pull up and shoot or he can slash to the basket. He's a good passer with a nice skill set. ”

Krajca is unsettled at the other two starting positions, but there is a possibility those could be filled by seniors in Dom Conte and Zach Hanus.

Riverview's bench could be the difference maker since just about every reserve has similar skill sets to the starters, and that is a convenience for a coach in terms of not having to change his style of play late during game. Junior guards Keir Barber, Raymar McCombs, Shyran Glover and Jacob Massack all could be options off the bench.

Riverview does have some size coming off the bench in sophomore Paul Knapp, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds.

“He's a nice, fit kid with good hands and footwork,” Krajca said. “He's coming off a knee injury from football as a freshman. He missed all of last year, and I think he's someone that can help.”

Joining Knapp as the other big man is 6-3 sophomore Dan Fawcett.

Krajca will mix up his defensive looks, once again using versatility as a keystone.

“I would love to be straight man-to-man all the time,” he said. “But it's not really using our athletes in the best way to man up. We don't have the numbers or the size to do that. We do zone, man-to-man and full court press; just a little bit of everything to get an advantage.”

D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.

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