Boys basketball: Frederick hoping to win the close ones in turnaround attempt

  • Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Frederick's Joe Cartelli (No. 23) is one of the Warriors top returning players in 2018-19 after leading the squad in scoring at 10.8 points a game. Frederick lost some tight games last year, and the hope is natural growth and experience will turn the tides late in games.

  • Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Frederick head basketball coach Enoch Miller directs a recent practice at FHS.

  • Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Frederick's Izayah Elize works against teammate Jacoby Conway during a recent practice at FHS.



FREDERICK — There’s no easy way to put it. Last season was a rough one for the Frederick boys basketball team.

On the heels of a decent 11-13 campaign in 2016-17, the Warriors finished last season with a 1-22 record and without a single win in Tri-Valley League play. Despite their love of basketball, losing that much put more than a little bit of a damper on the season for the Frederick basketball players.

The Warriors are determined to make some significant changes this winter. Maybe they won’t be world-beaters, but losing 22 games again is not an option.

“We want to turn it around a lot from last year,” Warriors junior Joe Cartelli said. “We’ve got a lot to prove. It’s just about us coming together as a team in the final three minutes. We played about 60 games this summer and it was way different than last season. I think our team in really emphasizing that unity when it matters most this season and we think that’s what’s going to be the difference in those close games.”

Of course, the Warriors can say they’re going to be better until they’re blue in the face. The fact is, there is evidence from last season that they weren’t quite as overmatched as their dismal record would imply. And that’s where the Warriors’ current optimism stems from, not just some blind hope that things will get better because they can’t get much worse.

In 2017-18, the Warriors lost seven games by six points or fewer, including overtime losses. In one Tri-Valley League contest, they lost to Holy Family, a second-round playoff team in Class 4A, by eight points. In their regular-season finale, the Warriors lost 63-62 in overtime to a Skyline team that upset eventual 4A champion Longmont the next night.

With all of those narrow losses in mind, one of the Warriors’ primary focuses is playing better as a unit down the stretch runs of games so they can hopefully close out a few more victories.

“We were close a bunch of times last year but this season is already better than last season,” Warriors junior Jacob Green said. “We expect to have a winning team and no matter what happens, we’re going to support each other. No matter what, we’re all focused on being leaders and stepping up. We’ll be fine if we do our parts.”

With only two seniors on the roster, the Warriors also were unusually young last season. It was Cartelli and Green who as sophomore guards led Frederick in scoring with 10.8 and 10.3 points per game, respectively. In all, the Warriors return their top four scorers from last year.

They don’t, however, return much height. Thus, the Warriors want to press teams and play a fast dribble-drive style of offense. But the biggest change this year’s Warriors hope to make is to develop a winning mentality, one that mirrors the turnaround the Frederick football program has constructed over the past several seasons. In their minds, that starts with being better teammates.

To that end, the Warriors have adopted the slogan, “BAGTT,” which stands for “Be A Good Teammate Today,” as their motto this winter.

“We have a different vibe to us,” Warriors head coach Enoch Miller said. “It’s all the same kids, for the most part, but they’ve really grown skill-wise and they’ve matured off the court and on the court. I’ve seen a lot of good things over the summer and the fall that I think will transfer into games and, hopefully, wins.

“I think that when kids step on a field or a court, either way, winning and having success does transfer over. You start stepping into the arena think, ‘Well, maybe we should win,’ instead of hoping you win. I think the success those football guys had makes it so that they have less fear.”

Brad Cochi: or