Originally, Ryan Barry was slated for a rare winter season off.
At one time the junior varsity boys basketball coach and the current head varsity baseball coach for the Fairview Warriors, Barry agreed to forgo his scheduled off time and take over the varsity boys basketball program in the wake of the sudden departure of Bill Harvey, who was removed as both a teacher and coach in October.
“I thought for continuity purposes, and for the kids, I’ve coached them all,” Barry said. “I know what they want, I know what they need to be doing. I know what they can and can’t do.
“Most of (the varsity roster) played JV for me at some point. They know their roles. They understand what they bring to the table and what they need to bring to the table.”
And under Barry, the 2017-18 version of the Warriors will look quite similar to the teams coached by Harvey in the past, with a few defensive exceptions. A team that employed a frequent 2-3 zone in the past, they will now play a more physical man-to-man style. The goal of the style switch is to improve on the number of points they allowed per game last season (57).
“We’re going to try and really put some pressure on teams, get out in the passing lanes, and hopefully that will lead to our offense,” Barry said.
While dialing up the pressure on opponents, the Warriors will also look to speed up their offense with more frequent transition scoring. With a rotation of anywhere from eight to 10 players, there will be plenty of opportunities to go around.
Barry has 11 returning players this season, including nine letter winners. There are seven seniors on the roster, including Colin Caja, Grant Howes, Michael Roth, Owen Morrison, Aiden Salupo, Nick Reyes and Adam Perkins, who missed all of last year due to injury.
The team will likely be led by sophomore point guard Luke Howes — the younger brother of Grant. Luke Howes led the team in scoring as a freshman last season with just over 15 points per game, and chipped in across the board with averages of just over three assists, three rebounds and three steals. He was named to the first team All-Patriot Athletic Conference, the only returning Warriors player to earn the honor.
Grant Howes, who placed among PAC leaders in three-pointers made (35 in league play), was named second team All-PAC. Caja, a 6-foot-5 center, was an honorable mention who averaged just over seven rebounds per game and shot 50 percent from the field.
Along with promising sophomore Martin Lowry, a guard whose offseason growth spurt shot him up to 6-foot-2, Barry believes he’ll have a strong rotation of guards who will be almost interchangeable throughout the season as the Warriors will try to climb higher in the Stripes Division standings. Last season, they finished 17-7 overall, and were 10-6 in league play.
Fairview finished third in the Stripes behind Clearview (15-1) and Oberlin (13-2). If things go their way, the Warriors would like to surpass both.
“The big thing for us is a conference championship,” Barry said. “Fairview hasn’t won one since 1962. The kids are well aware of that. That’s our goal. The goal is conference, our expectation is just to compete in every drill every day, and try to win everything we do. And then I think other goals will kind of take care of themselves.”
Source: West Life