Despite dropping some winnable games, the Sewanhaka Indians varsity boys basketball team still have high hopes heading down the stretch this season.
Currently sitting at 7-5, 5-5 in conference play, the Indians control their own destiny, currently sitting in fourth place in the Nassau Conference A-II, with four conference games remaining, five in total.
“We have to win two of those four conference games to get into the playoffs,” said head coach Jason Allen. “We’re in a good spot and this next game against Great Neck North is huge.”
While Allen believes that his team has let some winnable games slip, he thinks it has made them tougher. If they win two of their final four conference games they will make the playoffs, Allen said. If they win out they can move up to as high as the second seed.
Allen believes that his team is playing their best basketball of the season now, but there are two key areas he hopes to improve: defense and free-throw shooting.
“The games that we did lose we had defenses lapses that hurt us tremendously,” he said.
His players agree.
“The big thing we been working on and can improve is our defense,” said junior forward Carlos Bodden. He leads the Indians scoring with 18.6 points-per-game
“It’s the simple things with us like getting back on defense and boxing out,” said senior shooting guard Phillip Repalone.
This will be a focus of Allen’s down the stretch.
“If we can play good defense and make our free throws I think we can beat any team that is put in front of us,” he said.
The Indians are confident heading into this final stretch of the season. “We are in a great position and have a real good chance of getting in,” Allen said.
“We’re definitely going to make the playoffs,” said Bodden. “That’s our main goal.”
“Our first goal is to make a playoff run. But then we got to keep progressing and hopefully make it to the Long Island championship,” said Repalone. “I believe in the system one hundred percent.”
The Indians made the playoffs in 2012, Allen’s first year on the job, but failed to make it last year. He believes making a post season run will set his franchise in the right direction moving forward. A goal of his is to be a perennial playoff team.
Allen is looking for his first playoff win and believes his team can accomplish that and more.
“Once we get in [to the playoffs] we want to shock people,” he said. “We are going to be a dangerous team that a lot of people are not going to want to play. We want to push to be one of those final four teams.”
Allen believes that this season will solidify his program and elevate them into playoff contention every season.
“We have turned the corner as a program,” he said. “We have a very good junior varsity team with a lot of talent down there,” he said.