Kew-Forest Basketball: 2015-16 Season Preview
Nov 03, 2015 | 6702 views | 0 0 comments | 120 120 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Kew-Forest School is starting off their basketball season on a high note. Although the program has undergone a revamp over the past couple of years, Scott Gordon-Somers, the school’s director of Sports, Health and Wellness, believes this year will be a turnaround season for the program.

In one word, Gordon-Somers describes this year’s program as “robust,” adding that there is a lot of energy and a strong desire from the students to step up and help the teams.

One of the more prominent issues for The Kew-Forest School last year was the fact that many of the older students graduated and the younger students had to step up. More so, due to a lack of players, the junior varsity program was sidelined. But this year, there is an abundance of players from first grade to the varsity level. In fact, the junior varsity and middle school teams are now a lot stronger in numbers. The middle school is now unofficially involved in the Private Schools Athletic Association (PSAA) while awaiting associate member approval for the Long Island Athletic Association.

This season’s numbers wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for an open gym session held for months leading to the season. There, many students were able to grow as athletes while participating in pick-up games and drills that they often ran on their own. “This year, the admissions director has brought in some strong academic and athletic students,” Gordon-Somers said. “Most of these students have been focused on basketball so that has been a big help.” “As a result, as word has gotten out, more kids are joining the team and convincing their parents to let them play, which draws more attention to basketball,” he added. “We’ve definitely recruited more students and because of that, these students who are serious about basketball are showing up on weekends to the open gym.”

In fact, Scott knows that his junior varsity and varsity teams will both be competitive this year. Most of the credit also goes to Coach John Della Marco, who has created a vigorous schedule for the teams this year. “That’s one of the ways that you grow a program, through strength of schedule,” Gordon-Somers said. Della Marco has been able to secure 25 games for the junior varsity team’s season and he also expanded the number of games for varsity up to 30 games. Traditionally, the teams have faced roughly 14 games per season, so the schedules have been doubled.

“I am excited about the talented student athletes we have in our program and our junior varsity team may be the youngest team in the league this year (PSAA – Private School Athletic Association) as they are very athletic and we believe down the road they will be extremely competitive. We are not just teaching basketball, but life lessons for all our student athletes. We have the support of the faculty and parents in developing the program. It’s a terrific school and an excellent place for me to be a part of,” Coach Della Marco said.

On Monday November 9th, Kew-Forest is having a Pep Rally for their basketball program in the school gym. This is one of the many new ways that Gordon-Somers and Della Marco are creating a new culture in the program. “We have developed the program in a short time and in one full season we went from thirty student athletes to sixty plus doing clinics with Game 7 and developing an instructional program with twenty children playing on Saturdays from grades 1st – 3rd grade.,” said Coach Della Marco.

Here are names of the excellent staff, developed by Mr. Gordon – Somers: Adriana DeMartino - Assistant Athletic Director, C.J. Tyler - Assistant Varsity Head Coach, Pemba Sherpa - Assistant Junior Varsity Head Coach, Angelo Traina - Assistant Coach, and Nikolas Jordan Anders - Assistant Coach.”

The amount of games being played this season will undoubtedly be a challenge as many students are not used to the schedule. It’s up to Della Marco and Gordon-Somers to make sure the students remain focused and balanced on their athletic and academic lives. And because there are so many students interested in playing for the various teams, the coach and athletic director will not worry about punishing those who are not taking their schoolwork seriously. “We’re going to be very strict with students who aren’t serious with their academics,” he said. “They will be benched or cut from the team.”
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