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Senior captain Zach Pincince is bringing a ton of energy to the North Haven basketball team this winter, helping the Indians qualify for both the SCC and Division III State tournaments. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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Zach Pincince gives every ounce of energy that he has as a member of the boys’ basketball team at North Haven High School. Zach didn’t see much varsity time prior to this season, but now, the senior captain is providing sparks for the Indians at all ends of the court.
“I’m a big-time hustle guy. I’m not the best shooter, but I can knock down the open jump shots,” says Zach. “I just try to give it everything I have, and I take pride in playing defense. When I guard a guy, I make sure the only way he’s going to score is if I foul him.”
Zach’s energy doesn’t go unnoticed by his teammates or North Haven Head Coach Justin Falcon, who says that other coaches in the area have also picked on up what he brings to the team. Falcon adds that Zach has no problem bonding with his teammates as one of the Indians’ captains.
“We love it, because kids like that are a perfect way to set an example for the other guys on the team. We’re constantly pointing out how he does things, saying this is what we want everybody to do all the time. I get other coaches in the league saying how much they love No. 3, and how they’d pick him for their team any day,” Coach Falcon says. “The fact he is such a class-act kind of kid and forms relationships with everybody, he’s well-loved and well-respected as a captain. Nobody is afraid to talk to Zach if they have an issue, because he’s such a good kid.”
Zach loves being a captain for the basketball team and takes great pride in holding that position. Above all, Zach tries to the lead the Indians through how hard he competes on the floor.
“Since my freshman year, I prided myself on playing hard and giving it everything I had. That’s the reason they elected me as team captain. I try to look at the young guys and help them as much as I can. Even last year as a junior, a bunch of freshmen needed help with the plays, so I drew playbooks up for them,” says Zach, who also plays baseball in North Haven. “I lead more by my action. I’m not as vocal as I could be, and that’s definitely something I can work on. But when my teammates look at me, I like to think that I’m a pretty good example of what a guy should be on the court and off the court.”
The biggest moment of Zach’s basketball career came during North Haven’s home game against Lyman Hall on Jan. 12. The Indians recorded a 66-64 victory in overtime, and Zach’s performance down the stretch proved huge in his team coming away with the win.
“It was great, because we were down and I went in with a few seconds left, and I made two free throws to tie it to send to overtime. Then in overtime, I hit the game-winner. It was a crazy game,” says Zach. “The atmosphere was great. It was very loud that day in our gym. It was just a great day.”
Zach’s father Chris Pincince is the head coach of the football team at the University of New Haven. With his dad being a football coach, Zach has had to move a few times throughout his life. Zach’s family came to North Haven when he was in 8th grade, and that’s when he got involved with baseball in town. Zach received the Most Improved Award for North Haven’s Senior American Legion baseball team last summer and then helped the fall ball squad have a great campaign.
“I started playing when we lived in North Carolina and I was a shortstop, but when we made the transition to the big field, I struggled. I was moved to the outfield and that’s where I was better off, because I was fast, so I could run and catch fly balls,” Zach says. “When I got here, for my first Legion season I said I wanted to play baseball and [Senior Legion and fall ball Head Coach Tim Binkoski] worked with me. He helped me become a really good right fielder and taught me how to hit cutoffs. I could throw a baseball pretty far, but I couldn’t hit a cut to save my life freshman year.”
This spring, Zach will be aiming to make the varsity club at North Haven High School for the first time. Zach has played on the Indians’ JV team, and now he feels he’s ready to earn a spot on Head Coach Bob DeMayo’s squad.
“I’m really excited. We all play together in the summer and fall, and we’re all working out together in The Diamond Zone,” says Zach. “We have a good shot to compete if we can pull everything together. Coach DeMayo does a great job and gives us the best chance for success.”
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