As the Albany High School Men’s Varsity Basketball team starts TCAL play, many observers are curious if the team can duplicate its 28-3 record of last year and its deep run in the NCS playoffs.
With a league season-opening win, 64-39, over the De Anza Dons last night, the Cougars have boosted their record to 10-3.
Will seniors Marcus Simon and Josh Friedkin lead their team towards success and an even further playoff push than last year?
“I’m super excited for this season, I think we can do some special things this year. I do think we will go further this year — we’re older and wiser. The will and desire on this team is strong,“ said co-captain Josh Friedkin.
Thus far, the Cougars took a hard loss against one of their rivals, Drake, in the second round of the Red Brown Tournament (59-56) and to Laguna Beach in the quarterfinal round of the Torrey Pines Tournament (56-46).
However, they have also had some great victories against Washington (62-47), Terra Linda (65-37), Stellar Prep (66-15), Lake Washington (59-53), and Stuart Hall (55-48).
Because of their terrific play last year, the Cougars are facing better teams this year. It is particularly important this year that the less experienced players step up and fill in those big shoes lost to graduation.
Friedkin added: “It’s definitely going to be challenging, but we make up in skill, we’re older, more experienced and overall a better team. I think everyone deserves to be on the varsity team, they are learning to adapt to the game mentally and physically. The juniors who came off the bench last year are handling their business and getting the job done this year.”
Joining Friedkin and Simon in the starting lineup are senior Billy Treseler and juniors Jason Kamuri (co-captain) and Eric Mireri.
Asked if expectations are high, Friedkin added that there is, “definitely pressure not from anyone else just from myself. It’s my senior year I want to go out with a bang.”
Joining the team this year are two freshman, Mateo Rodriguez and Avri Finch. They both play a huge role on the team being the tallest players.
“I feel honored to be on the varsity basketball team, I expected it to be a big challenge, but I think we are a really good team, and they’ve made me feel really welcomed,” said Rodriguez.
The Cougars take on John Swett Friday January 15 at Swett, Albany of New York at home Saturday January 16 and Newark High on Monday January 18 at Haas Pavilion at UC Berkeley. Students who buy a $5 advance ticket to the Albany – Newark game — 10:00 am Monday 1/18 — get a free Albany Hoops “6th Man” t-shirt. Tickets available in AHS athletic office.