Boys basketball: Hall taking new approach, focusing on defense

Red Devils hope to be balanced on offense

Hall's Payton Dye (32) shoots a jump shot over Putnam County's Wyatt Grimshaw (25) during the Colmone Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022 at Hall Hight School in Spring Valley.

During the preseason, Hall boys basketball coach Mike Filippini has taken a new approach.

So far, his players are responding.

“This team has been really fun to coach and really open to some new things we are trying,” Filippini said. “They have worked hard in the offseason and preseason to be a very competitive team. We’ve had kids play travel basketball in then offseason and I think that will really help us this year. They’ve been asked to play and practice differently this year with a huge emphasis on defense and have not complained or lacked effort.

“All you can ask for as a coach is the kids to give you everything they have and this team has done that every night in practice and I’m excited for them to go out and compete every night.”

The Red Devils have focused on their man-to-man defense.

“We don’t have a lot of size, but we’ve put a big emphasis on our man-to-man defense,” Filippini said. “We are hoping the work we’ve put in will actually help us on the offensive end as well.”

“They’ve been asked to play and practice differently this year with a huge emphasis on defense and have not complained or lacked effort.”

—  Mike Filippini, Hall coach

Offensively, the Red Devils have a big hole to fill with the graduation of Mac Resetich, who led the area in scoring last season at 23.8 points per game and finished second on Hall’s career scoring list.

Filippini expects it to be a group effort to replace Resetich with the Red Devils relying on the 3-point shot.

“I think we’ll be very balanced scoring this year,” Filippini said. “I’m hoping to have two or three kids every night who will be in double figures. It will probably be a different kid depending on the defense played against us.

“Our strengths are 3-point shooting ability and team speed. We have several kids who can shoot the 3.”

Hall will rely on three veterans in seniors Max Bryant and Payton Dye and sophomore Braden Curran. All three started last season. Bryant and Dye are three-year varsity players.

“I expect these three to be our leaders due to the amount of time they have playing at the varsity level,” Filippini said.

Senior Caleb Bickett saw limited action last season but is expected to be a key contributor, senior Joseph Bacidore has returned to the program after a year away, while juniors Wyatt West and Jack Jablonski and sophomore Greyson Bickett are expected to play roles.

“Caleb has really put time in the weight room and really improved his game from last year,” Filippini said. “He had a great summer and is really off to a solid start so far this year. I’m really happy for him. He didn’t play a lot last year and worked hard in the offseason and it shows. He’s a great example for our younger guys. Joseph Bacidore has come back out after a year out and has been a great addition. Wyatt and Jack are both good 3-point shooters and very athletic. Greyson will see a lot of time at the guard position as a sophomore.”

The Red Devils went 11-20 overall and 5-7 in the Three Rivers Conference East Division last winter.

“We want to be playing our best at the end of the season,” Filippini said. “Our schedule is hard and will have us ready for regionals and it’s our job to be playing our best by then.”

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