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Loyola basketball hopes to raise game with small lineup

Loyola senior Christian Anderson will be part of the Dons' guard-oriented lineup.
Loyola senior Christian Anderson will be part of the Dons' guard-oriented lineup. (photo courtsey of Alicia McGuire)

The Loyola Blakefield basketball team will be using its own version of small ball this season, and hoping for big results.

"We will have five guys who handle the ball and five guys who can shoot the ball from the perimeter on the floor at all times," said Loyola coach Josh Davalli, whose team is coming off a 8-19 record.

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Among those Davalli is referring to are senior guards Ryan Floyd (6 feet 1), Ryan Conrad (6-0) and Christian Anderson (6-0), and junior guards Andrew Fava (5-11) and Cole Williams (6-4).

"We will try to take advantage of some mismatches when our smaller guys are being guarded by bigger guys from the other team," Davalli said. "It could be a different guy leading us in scoring every night. It could be a positive for us. It could be scoring by committee.

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"Andrew can really shoot the ball," he added about Fava.

Davalli is encouraging his players to step up after the graduation of last year's two leading scorers, guard Ryan Fields and guard/forward Billy Plunkett.

"We lost our two captains," Davalli said. "We need to replace their leadership as well as the scoring."

Junior forward Will Clark (6-5) is the Dons' best player down low. He is a scoring threat inside and outside.

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"He is one of the better athletes we have," Davalli said. "He can do a little bit of everything. He is good with the basketball, he can shoot from the outside and he is able to play guys in the post."

Junior Vincent Weathers (6-3) offers Clark help inside.

"Every year, size is an issue for us," Davalli said. "We don't have the big guys inside to bang around with the big guys we will face."

Junior guard/forward Luke Hurley (6-2) and sophomores Omari Watson (5-10) and Kenny Lewis (6-1) are also expected to contribute.

Davalli, who is in his 10th season, thinks the Dons can end their streak of five consecutive losing seasons.

"I think we can be pretty good," he said. "We have some well-skilled players. I think we will be better at the end of the year. We are relatively inexperienced."

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