Veteran Mavericks expect to be playoff contenders | Boys basketball

Meadowdale plans to take advantage of its height, athleticism
By David Pan | Dec 07, 2017
Photo by: David R Pan Seniors Mustapha Sonko and Dan Barhoum (right) have been on varsity since their sophomore seasons. Meadowdale returns seven seniors this year.

The Meadowdale boys basketball team appears to have all the pieces in place to make its strongest postseason run in head coach Roger O’Neill’s three-year tenure.

The Mavericks return senior starting point guard Will Schafer, two seniors who have been on varsity since their sophomore seasons – Mustapha Sonko and Dan Barhoum – and a roster of tall and athletic players, who shoot the ball well.

“We’ve got things to prove and things to accomplish, but in terms of how we look … this is certainly the most talented group I’ve had since being head coach,” O’Neill said.

Though Schafer figures to be the primary ball handler, the Mavericks’ offensive system doesn’t rely on just one player to get rolling. Meadowdale’s goal is to run the court and push the pace.

“We have a lot of people who can handle the ball,” Schafer said. “There’re two or three out there and we just run. It doesn’t have to be one specific guy.”

At any given point in the game Barhoum, senior Justin Chambers and senior Mason Harvey might be bringing the ball up the court, O’Neill said.

Schafer sees his role as being more of a distributor to his teammates.

“We have a lot of scorers,” Schafer said. “It’s just making the right decisions, not forcing things and getting the ball into the scorers’ hands.”

Barhoum led the team offensively, averaging around 12 points per game.

Ideally, O’Neill wants to see different players at the top of the stat sheet every night.

Barhoum, Sonko, Shafer, Chambers and Harvey are all capable of putting up big numbers, he said.

“I think it’s going to be anyone on any given night with this group,” O’Neill added. “We’re excited about being a balanced scoring attack.”

Meadowdale also plans to take advantage of its size and length on both ends of the court.

“Most years we’re lucky to have a guy over 6-2,” Barhoum said. “This year we’ve got Justin Chambers at 6-4, Mustapha Sonko at 6-3, Will McKinley at 6-2, Colton Walsh at 6-2 and me at 6-3. It’ll be nice to take advantage of our length and get out and push the pace.”

The Mavericks should have success in crashing the boards and also be a tough defensive team.

“We think we have a chance to be one of the better rebounding teams in the league,” O’Neill said.

“We’re going to get in passing lanes and get as many steals as we can,” Schafer added.

The players are doing a lot of running in practice in preparation for the season.

“We do drills every day, trying to get up and down the court,” Barhoum said. “Conditioning this year has been way more tough.”

Meadowdale advanced to the district tournament last season for the first time in six years. The Mavericks lost both of their games.

O’Neill said that the team has a lot of goals to check off before a possible return trip to districts.

“We’ve got to take care of business in conference,” he said.

“We have high goals this year,” Barhoum said. “We’re looking to make an impact, not only getting to districts but putting our stamp there.”

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