Franklin Tech boys seeking league title

Could this be the year that Franklin County Technical School raises another banner in boys’ basketball?

The Eagles — who open their season tonight at 8 vs. Mohawk Trail Regional High School in the Eagles’ Holiday Classic Tournament — have not won a league crown since 1986. Third-year head coach Rick Recore would like to end that drought this season.

Recore may have enough horses in the stable who are capable of doing that; four starters return from last year’s team, which finished 9-11 and fourth in the Tri-County League. Last year’s starting lineup included three sophomores and one junior, so the majority of players were young for the varsity level. Now, with a year under their belts, Recore believes they have the experience and balance on offense to be a top team in the TCL.

“I feel very good going into the season,” he began. “We are going to be a lot more balanced this year. We can score multiple ways.”

The area Recore would like to see the most improvement is on defense, where he has already challenged his players this season.

“We absolutely need to key in on defense,” he explained. “We need to keep teams in the mid 40s, if not the low 40s, and I think that’s something we can do.”

The biggest offensive loss from last year’s team is guard Jake Earl, who won the area scoring crown and was among the top scorers in the TCL at 23.8 points per game. Despite the high point total, Earl was an unselfish player who would dish the ball when he needed to, and Recore admitted he would be missed. But the loss of Earl opens the door for a number of talented players to step up.

Junior forward Chris Wetherby is one of those players. As a sophomore, Wetherby finished second on the team in scoring (14.8 ppg), using his size and athleticism to score in the paint. Should he continue to develop, he could become a dominant force inside. He was followed in scoring by classmates Kyle Jarvis and Nate Boyer, who are the Eagles’ top outside shooters. Boyer averaged 9.3 points per game, while Jarvis netted 5.4 a contest.

Thomas Duffy is the only starting senior on the team and is a hard-nosed forward, while Brett Martin is the fourth member of a talented junior class and is likely to start the season at center. Martin does not have the enormous size of a typical center, but he plays with the type of tenacity Recore is looking for in a low post player.

And then there is Colin Gould, the only freshman on the team and the starting point guard. Recore said he has full faith that Gould can handle the job despite being so young. Gould, who already stands 5-foot-10, has what Recore referred to as “great genetics” with a 6-foot-5 father and a 6-foot mother who played Division II collegiate basketball. In Gould, the team will have a truer point guard than Earl, who was a score-first player.

The team depth does not end there. The second and final senior on the team is guard Tyler Chaplin, who is a strong defender and will contribute on the offense as the season goes on. Brian Como is the fifth player out of the junior class and can play both the guard and forward positions. The sophomore class has four players who will come off the bench — CJ Daignault and Alex McBurnie are backup guards, while Joey Barcomb and Zack Korpiewski are reserve forwards.

“Depth will be a strength of ours,” Recore said. “I plan on going at least 10 deep in the rotation this season.”

The TCL underwent a bit of a makeover this season. League champion Dean Technical High School was moved into the Bi-County League, while the rest of the teams from last season remain. St. Mary High School finished second in the division at 15-5 overall, while Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School placed third at 10-8 overall. McCann Technical School, Pathfinder Vocational High School, Pioneer Valley Christian School, and Westfield Vocational-Technical High School each finished behind Franklin Tech in the final standings to round out the eight-team league.

The TCL added two teams that move down from the Bi-County — Gateway Regional High School and Holyoke Catholic High School.

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