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Bulldogs Basketball Rebuilds With Defense First

IRVINGTON, N.Y. – The Irvington boys basketball team was 14-7 last winter and graduation in June stole many of the players who Mike Auerbach depended on in his first season as head coach.

“Our only goal really is to get better every day, which we have been doing,” Auerbach said. “With almost a completely new team I found it tough to come up with many other goals, such as winning our league, a certain number of wins, or statistical. I think if the kids strive to get better individually and as a team each day, we'll put ourselves in a good position going forward.”

The Bulldogs, who opened the season last weekend with a victory against Ardsley and a loss against Dobbs Ferry in the 33rd William Warnock Tournament at Irvington High School, feature several upper classmen who will be helping to build for the future while trying to win games this season.

Junior Ryan O’Donnell, who joined teammate and sophomore co-captain Jon Goldreich on the Warnock All-Tournament team over the weekend, sees the Bulldogs as a team that can win games with a persistent defense while working on other aspects of the game.

“One of our main strengths is our defense and our unselfishness,” O’Donnell said. “We just need to work on rebounding and scoring more consistently. My goals are to get better every day and work with my team to improve. I have to put my teammates in good positions to score or make plays and I have to set a good example as a captain of the team.”

Auerbach sees the season as a challenge to improve team defense using the Bulldogs inside strengths.

“I think our strengths will be our effort defensively,” Auerbach said. “The kids have really bought into learning how to play man to man as well as a few different zones.  It's still a work in progress, but we've made big strides since the first day of practice in this area.  I think as we progress through the season we should become a pretty good rebounding team as well.  We have some good athletes inside and actually more depth at the forward spot than last year.”

With the loss of a graduating class of players, the Bulldogs will gain confidence as the season moves into the New Year.

“Our biggest weakness right now is just our inexperience,” Auerbach said. “It will be interesting to see how we handle certain late game situations, since none of our guys have really been relied on yet to make big plays in crunch time.”

Seniors Dan Costa, a co-captain, Scott Kanchuger and Marc Cohen; juniors Dillon D’Arrigo, Beau Muise, Toby Boff and Cole Kibel; sophomores Danny Hargraves and Danny Rovello and freshman Kevin Tierney round out the Bulldogs 2011-2012 roster.

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