The Onondaga Community College men’s basketball team will begin its season on Saturday as the Lazers host Anne Arundel Community College in the Onondaga Community College Classic in the SRC Arena & Events Center. The Lazers will follow up their season-opener against either Northampton or Delaware County on Sunday afternoon.
Onondaga is coming off a season in which it qualified for the Region III Men’s Basketball Championship for the 12th time in head coach David Pasiak’s 14 seasons at the helm. With 10 sophomores on the 2014-15 squad, Pasiak believes his team’s size, speed and intelligence will prove effective throughout the season.
“I’m very excited about the potential of this year’s team,” said Pasiak. “If we continue to work hard and grow as a team we have a chance to have a very special season.”
Despite losing two of their top scorers from a season ago, Onondaga has the talent to fill the void with returning sophomore guards Joseph Piazza whose 10.6 points per game ranked third on the team last season. The sophomore guard came on strong to end the 2013-14 season, averaging over 16 points per game over Onondaga’s final seven contests. Piazza will look to carry over his 3-point shooting success from last season in which the Central Square native converted 58 attempts from beyond the arc.
Joining Piazza in the backcourt is Trevor Smith who scored nearly eight points per game for the Lazers last season. A leader both on and off the hardwood, Smith will bring a veteran presence to the lineup and should contribute on both ends of the floor.
Colyn Hanley will anchor a strong frontcourt for the Lazers this season, after averaging 6.5 rebounds and 5.2 points per game as a freshman to go along with a team-best 28 blocked shots. Michael Scott will also return for his sophomore year after averaging 7.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game as a freshman during the 2011-12 season.
Patrick Twiss, Kyle Kline and Lloyd Parkmond are also set to return for their sophomore seasons and are expected to improve upon the successes each had in their inaugural collegiate season.
In addition to its solid corps of returning players, Onondaga has several newcomers who will contribute this season. Kameron DiSanto, who was named a top newcomer by the NJCAA, has the ability to contribute in every aspect of the game after leading Clyde-Savannah in points, rebounds and assists during his senior season of high school. DiSanto was named First-Team All-State as a senior and has the ability to become one of the top players in the region.
Point guard Steven Dolgos and forward Thomas Towner were each named Honorable Mention All-State last year and have the potential to play impactful minutes this season. As a senior, Dolgos led his team in free throws attempted and made 3-point field goals while Towner nearly averaged a double-double, notching over 14 points and just under 10 rebounds per game.
The Lazers also have high expectations at the guard position for Nicholas Filippi, Cameron Littlejohn, Zachary Perry, Trayshaun Hymes, and Michael DeLuca. Baron Correll is also expected to contribute at the forward position. Redshirts Jordan Bandera, Nikeem Deleon, and Rex Ryan complete the roster.
The Onondaga Community College men’s basketball team opened its 2014-15 season on Saturday in nail-biting fashion as the Lazers overcame a late deficit to defeat Anne Arundel Community College, 75-74, in the opening round of the eighth annual Onondaga Community College Classic in the SRC Arena & Events Center. In other action, the Northampton Spartans defeated the Delaware County Community College Phantoms to advance to the championship game on Sunday.
After trailing by four points to start the second half, the Lazers would quickly climb back into the thick of things when Joseph Piazza buried a 3-pointer from the corner to pull Onondaga even at 43-43.
Onondaga would claim its first lead since the 6:42 mark of the first half when a Kyle Kline layup made it 45-43, but the lead would be short lived as the Pioneers began to gather momentum thanks to a 9-1 run to retake the lead, 52-46.
After exchanging baskets, the Lazers would erase a seven-point hole courtesy of a 9-1 run of their own highlighted by a 3-point play by Kameron DiSanto to give Onondaga a 61-60 advantage.
Both teams battled on the defensive end of the floor as the second half wore on, but a modest five-point run would stake Anne Arundel to a five point lead, 69-64.
Back-to-back baskets by DiSanto and Kline would bring Onondaga to within one point before a Piazza bucket from beyond the arc tied the contest at 71-71 with 1:33 remaining in on the clock.
Anne Arundel would score again to take a 73-71 lead, but the advantage wouldn’t hold as the Lazers scored four unanswered points including two key clutch free throws by Kline to earn a 75-74 win.
Piazza was impressive in his first game of the season, shooting 7-of-10 from the floor including a career-high six 3-pointers resulting in a team-high 20 points. The sophomore guard also posted five rebounds and two assists in the win. Kline contributed 13 points for Onondaga along with four assist while DiSanto nearly posted a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds. Zachary Perry had six rebounds and Trayshaun Hymes frustrated Anne Arundel’s guards all game after coming up with a team-high three steals. Michael Scott had eight points off the bench and Lloyd Parkmond chipped in seven points and three boards for the Lazers. Trevor Smith led all players with five helpers.
The Lazers will return to action at 2:15 p.m. on Sunday and will play Northampton in the championship game of the Onondaga Classic to be held in the SRC Arena & Events Center.