Hampton boys have weapons to contend in tough section
Thursday, November 28, 2019 | 12:01 PM
Hampton boys basketball had the look of a team on the upswing after a playoff appearance last year. An experienced group of seniors, however, still has a lot to prove.
Of course, making the playoffs is a garden-variety outcome for Joe Lafko, who enters his 30th season coaching and 23rd at Hampton. One of the coach’s primary concerns is the talent elsewhere in the section. Hampton has played in tough sections in the past, and this year looks no different.
“We have a very competitive section ahead of us,” he said. “I think our section is going to be extremely balanced. There are a lot of teams that are going to compete for wins on a regular basis.”
The Talbots will have to contend with Shaler’s Mekhi Reynolds and Mars’ Michael Carmody, both WPIAL standouts.
But Hampton has its tall trio of seniors that has had success in the past. Chief among those is 6-foot-5 big man Ben Ringeisen, who led the team with 18.5 points per game last season.
“Ben is a really good athlete,” Lafko said. “He has great quickness, good hands and the talent to play basketball at the next level. He’s going to be one of the guys that we’re going to try to build around and be an integral part of this season.”
Also in that grouping are two other three-year lettermen who bring size to the program — Colby Mignogna (6-3, 11.7 ppg) and Luke Lindgren, who is coming off a successful senior year in football as a first-team all-conference running back.
“We have players coming back with some experience, and we want to try to build on that experience,” Lafko said. “We’re going to count on players like Colby, Ben and Luke to give us leadership in all facets of the game.”
One newer face on the varsity scene is 6-2 junior Seth Koontz, who played primarily junior varsity last year.
“Seth has been a very dedicated kid throughout the offseason,” Lafko said. “He’s played a lot of basketball and worked his way into a starting position.”
Other upperclassmen who figure to contribute include senior Matt Govi and juniors Ben Lydon and Anthony Polito.
There is experience in the younger ranks as well in Bobby Oliver and Matt DeMatteo, who, as Lafko noted, both had good football seasons. DeMatteo was thrust into the starting quarterback role.
“I think that experience along with the athletic ability he’s demonstrated will give him an opportunity to contribute to this year’s season,” Lafko said.
Likewise, freshman Brennan Murray had a strong offseason and is pushing for varsity minutes, highlighting a solid younger class. Hampton has four freshmen who moved up to JV and varsity this year. For now, the team is still searching for identity in the preseason.
“We’re trying to figure out who we are,” Lafko said. “Normally, this time of year we have a lot of questions answered as to what kind of team we think we’re going to be. This year we still have some question marks.”