Hampton boy's basketball returns core of talented players
By Jerry Clark
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
There are few teams that can compare to the Hampton boys basketball team. A deep playoff run and an appearance in the WPIAL championship seem to be consistent with this team.
The 2013-14 season will have the same expectations as Hampton returns Colin and Ryan Luther to the front court for their senior seasons, and the tandem of guards in Joey Lafko and David Huber, both juniors, is equally as battle tested. Veteran forward Jack Obringer will round out a starting five that should be as exciting a group there is in Class AAAA basketball.
Despite the impressive talents of his starters (and reserves for that matter), Hampton coach Joe Lafko refuses to look at anything past the next practice.
“This is an exciting time,” Lafko said. “Every team is 0-0, and our motivation is a little different. We still have high expectations, and we have had as good an offseason as ever seen.”
In addition to the obvious excitement with the returning players, Lafko said he was able to work in more players to increase depth and fans can expect to see more up-tempo pressing and more ball movement using the entire court.
The reason to tweak a successful system is that Lafko and his squad know everyone will bring their best for a team that advanced to the WPIAL finals in each of the past two seasons. To add to the suspense, Hampton, North Allegheny, Seneca Valley and defending WPIAL champion New Castle not only were the final four last season, but these teams reside in the same section, thus will each play one another twice with added intensity.
“This team (the 2013-14 Talbots) has not proven anything,” Lafko said. “We have to look at each opponent and go out and execute. We are battle tested with WPIAL and PIAA playoff game experience.”
A lot will be made of the starting five, especially with Ryan Luther committing to Pitt next season, but there is talented depth on this team.
Senior guard Hayden Seserko had a good offseason according to Lafko, and 6-foot-3 forward Chandler McKinney will help in the front court as well.
A trio of guards will help off the bench as Pat Murray, Jack Morrison and Nate Hyre add quality depth at an already strong position.
Although the team is experienced, Lafko noted that there will be errors that the team will have to overcome, and that adjustments in game and at the half of games also will be important factors in the success of the team.
“This season brings high expectations,” Lafko said. “We always set goals of a section, WPIAL and PIAA championship, and we will compete against the best teams. The team has to take it upon itself to be motivated and achieve, and the motivation and work ethic of our seniors has been exceptional.”
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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