Rebuilding Amesbury High School Boys Basketball

Coach Thom Connors with his two basketball captains - Tyler Lay and James Parady

You win some. You lose some.  This suggests balanced results.

Nice adage, but not applicable to the 2009-10 Amesbury boys basketball team.

When I visited AHS on January 25th, the team was 1-13.

I hoped to find a silver lining and was not disappointed.

Coach Thom Connors was neither surprised nor upset with the record so far.  “We are a young team (two seniors) and clearly trying to rebuild.”

When Coach Connors (6th season) talks “rebuilding” he means all the way through the system.  “The three teams at the high school have all implemented the same style of play.”

In the meantime, the losses pile up.  I walked in on a JV game that had Amesbury trailing North Reading, 45-12.  However, to Coach Connors the scoreboard is incidental for the time being.  “Our goal in each game is to get better,” he explained.  “If we do our best we can go away satisfied.”

He credited his two captains (junior Tyler Lay and senior James Parady) for helping move the rebuilding program along.  “They both play three sports and are in leadership positions (James captains basketball and baseball – Tyler is next year’s football captain). They understand that the teams we play now are better than us and that skills development is crucial for us to be more competitive.”

Being a senior, James Parady, looks for gratification for his hard work now.  “I keep coming back for more because I want to win, everyone on the team does.  If we put together a complete game of team basketball we have a chance to do that.”

I was at Bentley University (Waltham) on December 6, 2008 and saw the Amesbury football team defeat Martha’s Vineyard to win the Division 3A Super Bowl.  The coach of that football team was Thom Connors.  When he talks about building a program, he’s been there, done it. 

Can he do it with Amesbury boys basketball is to be determined over the next couple of years.  He was part of Neil Reardon’s girls basketball program in Newburyport for ten years so he knows what a good program in basketball looks like.

Of major importance to Coach Connors is to love what you’re doing.  “I tell kids that I love to coach and that I hope that they love to play.”

“We all like to play,” admitted Tyler Lay.  “We play our hardest no matter what the record of our opponents.”

Nevertheless, despite all of the “keep your eyes off the scoreboard” talk, the most exciting day for this year’s team was January 18th when the Indians got that first win (49-47 over Danvers) after losing their first twelve. 

“For about 15 seconds afterwards, you’d have thought we had won the Cape Ann League title,” recalled Coach Connors of the exciting home game.  “It was nice not to have to say afterwards that we played well but took a loss.  We needed a win to reward our efforts.”

The irony of the victory was that because of the long Martin Luther King weekend, the team had taken Sunday off with plans to have a shoot-around and go over the Danvers scouting report on Monday morning before the game.  The snowy weather cancelled that preparation.  Therefore, as a result, the team just showed up on Monday afternoon and as James Parady mentioned earlier, “played a complete game,” and got more than “nice try,” out of it.

Coach Connors is optimistic about the games ahead in this season.  “We are getting better and I am enjoying watching the improvement take place. We could win some games.” 

For now, the team works to master the basics, confident that their hard work will eventually pay off on the scoreboard if they do.

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