The Lawrence boys basketball team took its run last season to the , but the road stopped there. The Golden Tornadoes lost to eventual champion Manhasset by a 73-59 final following three playoff wins.
The Golden Tornadoes finished last season with a 17-4 overall record with an 11-1 clip to capture the regular season Conference A-II championship.
Despite the final outcome, Lawrence has been preparing and gearing up for a chance to get back to the title game under head coach Joe Supple, a 1999 graduate of Lawrence, who returns to the forefront after a two-year coaching stint with Oceanside basketball.
“This year, our focus has been on the defensive side. We have been harping on defense since day one,” Supple said. “We are becoming a team slowly. We still have a lot of work ahead. Every day, we are getting a little better.”
Having to replace All-County selection Samson Bialostok and a pair of All-Conference players in Ahmed and Ibraheem Shamseldin from last year may not seem easy, but Lawrence brings back a wealth of talent and promising young players.
Junior Eddie Robinson, who led the team in scoring last season, will be looked at to take charge after being named All-County in 2010-11. Sophomore Dwayne Daniel, an All-Conference player as a freshman, as well as seniors A.J. Gallo and Kwadwo Agyapong, will bolster a talented backcourt unit.
“Right now, we are on a better pace than last year. The team is working much better this year,” Robinson said. “I'd like for every team to come out and be fired up to play us. I don’t like being the underdog.”
Looking to be a force in the paint will be junior Clifton Lyerly, an All-Conference player as a sophomore, as well as a pair of juniors in Randy Wallace and Mike Fragner.
“I think our scrimmage with Baldwin [on Dec. 1] really helped us with team chemistry. Most of us have already been playing together since we were younger,” Lylerly said. “The team is looking good enough to get back to the championship.”
Lawrence will compete for a second straight conference title with Hewlett, Sewanhaka, Bethpage, Plainedge and Levittown Division. Prior to league play, which will start on Jan. 6, the team will compete in a challenging non-league schedule, including Westbury, St. John the Baptist and Chaminade.
Lawrence will open up the season with a non-league game against Oceanside on the road on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. For complete schedule information for this season, visit the Nassau Boces Athletics page.