By ADAM SHINDER
BROADALBIN -- The Broadalbin-Perth Patriots are packing a lot into an extremely short timeframe to get ready for the 2013-14 boys basketball season.
The Patriots won't even have a chance to tuck into Thanksgiving dinner before their season opens Wednesday at home against Cobleskill-Richmondville, a contest which starts a tough non-league slate of four games in seven days -- B-P will also face Fonda-Fultonville, Schalmont and Cohoes in that stretch -- before Foothills Council play begins.
"In 10 years, we haven't started this early," B-P head coach Tucker Gifford said. "It's a really short amount of time to get a lot of stuff done."
It's been an especially short turnaround for the several B-P players who were also members of the Patriots' football team during the fall season. Those players, including standout senior Andre Taylor -- B-P's leading scorer a season ago -- had barely any time to digest their Section II Class B Super Bowl loss to Schalmont before switching straight into basketball mode.
It's been a jarring change, but one the Patriots have adapted to quickly, Taylor said.
"It's pretty difficult, because of the physicality of football -- all the lifting everyday, and then all the running for basketball," he said. "It's a big difference, but I've got to get used to it."
"They didn't get much of a break, but there isn't any time to relax right now," Gifford said. "Basketball's a completely different type of shape than any other sport."
In an effort to cram as much into their short preseason as possible, the Patriots have filled their schedule with scrimmages, including one Wednesday against Suburban Council power Shenendehowa and another slated for today against Amsterdam.
"We've only had a week of practice, but we're looking pretty good and we're looking to progress the rest of the week," said freshman point guard Preston Taylor.
The younger Taylor is back as the Patriots' floor general after starting at the point last season as an eighth grader. An injury held him out of football season during the fall, and jumping straight into the basketball season hasn't been easy.
"I'm feeling a little sore, and to be honest, I'm a little out of shape, but I'm trying to put in the work," Preston Taylor said. "We just came off a rough scrimmage and we're looking to get better."
Alongside the Taylor brothers, the Patriots have several key returners from a team that went 9-11 last season, lost to eventual sectional champion Watervliet in the Section II Class B quarterfinals and lost just three players -- Ben Bellandi, Ryan Newfrock and Mark Sylvia -- to graduation.
The Patriots enter the season with plenty of depth in the backcourt, as Brent Bochenek, Luigi Magliocca and Connor Pingitore are all in the mix along with Preston and Andre Taylor.
"We only lost three seniors, so I think we'll have pretty good depth this year," Bochenek said.
And with that amount of depth in the backcourt, the Patriots are hoping to use their abundance of speed to create plenty of havoc for Foothills Council opponents. That was on full display at practice Thursday night, when the team ran through an eight-minute drill of constant, full-court pressure without a break.
"We're gonna be a fast-break team. We should be able to push the ball," Preston Taylor said. "We've got some really good shooters on this team, and we need to be physical to beat other teams."
In such short time, Gifford said he's impressed with what his team's been able to work on -- though it won't be until the first official tip-off of the season until he can see exactly what's been processed.
"I would say we've accomplished a lot, but we've still got a way to go," Gifford said. "There's a lot of potential out there, but we've got a lot of work to do."
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