North Haven Boys’ Hoops Playing with Youthful Exuberance
Senior Aedan Bosticco is serving as one of three senior captains for the North Haven boys’ basketball team in its second season with Head Coach Danny Oglesby. (File photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Courier)
Brendan Grudberg is making solid contributions for the Nighthawks as a sophomore during the 2022 winter campaign. (File photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Courier)
With three seniors and one junior on its roster, the North Haven boys’ basketball team entered the 2022 season with plenty of youth. As his team looks to improve, Head Coach Danny Oglesby is hoping that the Nighthawks will learn how to win as a group by executing down the stretch.
This marks Oglesby’s second campaign as North Haven’s head coach. Oglesby is happy that the Nighthawks are playing are full season this winter, and he’s also pleased with the energy that his players have displayed on the court.
“We were able to have a normal start to the year. Last year, we didn’t know we were going to have a season until late in the year,” Coach Oglesby said. “It’s nice knowing that we’re definitely playing and knowing our guys a little bit better. The guys have been working really hard. They came in ready to go.”
North Haven played a pair of road games last week, taking an 84-53 loss to Hilllhouse and a 61-42 defeat versus Branford to move to 1-8 on the year. Although the Nighthawks lost their contest with Hillhouse on Jan. 11, Coach Oglesby was impressed with his team’s offensive output, along with how hard his players battled until the final whistle.
“Against Hillhouse, I thought we played well offensively. We’ve been scoring in the low 40s this year. We were in the 50s that game,” said Oglesby. “Guys were confident. We were making shots. Just defensively, we had a difficult time with their speed and their size. But the guys fought. They battled really hard.”
North Haven finished the week by facing Branford on the road on Jan. 14. Coach Oglesby said that the Nighthawks started off slow and, while they were able to get some stops in the third quarter, they couldn’t score enough in the fourth to come back.
Sophomore Brendan Grudberg scored 12 points for North Haven, and junior Dante Velez scored 11 points in the loss. Sophomore Adam Pandolfi had five points for Nighthawks. Branford’s Jake Palluzzi scored 40 points to lead the Hornets to the victory.
“Branford was tough, because we really game-planned for Palluzzi, but he had a really good shooting night. We couldn’t really overcome that. We had a slow start,” Oglesby said. “We were able to pick it up and get a lot of stops in the third quarter, but we just couldn’t get some buckets in the fourth to continue to climb into that game.”
North Haven is being led by senior captains Aedan Bosticco, Michael Brandt, and Matthew Cocco. Bosticco and Brandt play guard, while Cocco plays forward. Coach Oglesby said that all three captains are excellent leaders who set a great example for the underclassmen with their solid work ethic.
“They lead by example. They come to practice and games every day with a mentality to get better. They do things the right way,” said Oglesby. “They’re always on time, they’re always talking with the guys. Communication is high. It was an easy choice for captains, and I’m grateful for everything they have given us.”
Aside from the leadership of the seniors, Coach Oglesby also complimented the performance of the sophomore Grudberg this season. North Haven has several sophomores who are making contributions, and Oglesby said that Grudberg is stepping up as much as anyone in the bunch.
Grudberg is part of a sophomore class that features 14 athletes. With 10 freshmen also in the program, more than half of North Haven’s roster is made up of underclassmen. Coach Oglesby said that the Nighthawks’ youth is allowing them to grow together as a unit as they pick up some essential experience.
“It has been good. The guys have all worked really hard together. With us playing some freshmen last year, they gained some valuable experience,” Oglesby said. “Now, even more guys have added to their experience this year. They’re continuing to grow and get better. Our upperclassmen have been great with leadership.”
Coach Oglesby said that North Haven has been playing some hard defense and that his athletes are connected and meshing well together on the floor. As his team moves forward, Oglesby wants to see the Nighthawks communicate effectively and execute late in games in order to turn some of those defeats into victories during the second half of the season.
“We’ve had a couple of nail-biters—Amity, East Haven. Against Amity, we were up early, but struggled with the pressure of the zone. I think we’ve gotten better at that,” Oglesby said. “We just have to execute and give ourselves an opportunity to win. If we can improve on that, we’ll continue to make progress.”
The North Haven boys’ basketball team’s roster features senior captains Aedan Bosticco, Michael Brandt, and Matthew Cocco; junior Dante Velez; sophomores Brendan Grudberg, Matthew Bosticco, Connor Rapuano, Khalil Thompson, Conor Rourke, Nigel Ragsdale, Ryan Bernardo, Carter Mulhern, Maxwell Cargan, Justin Gouin, Brendan Ryan, Adam Pandolfi, Gibbs Wade, and Justin Horn; and freshmen Parker Mazzaro, Nicholas Romano, Brandon Stevens, Aidan McGuire, John Bimonte, Jonathan Kauhl, Kevin Parker, Peter Alexandro, John Slais, and Ibrahim Davilla.