The Bellcate Bulldogs will open their 2018 basketball season this Saturday, January 27th, at Essex Alliance Church. The Bulldogs will play host to the freshman team from Essex High School, in a game that will most likely be a heated contest. Doors will open at 10:00 for spectators, and tip off is slated for 10:30.

After a long year of waiting, the Bellcate Maroon basketball team finally got back in the gym to start practicing on January 17th. The Bulldogs looked focused and ready to get to work. “The guys were awesome today in practice – they were focused, tenacious, fierce, driven, they played hard, and they were good teammates to each other,” explained one of their coaches, Vincent Mitchell. “I’m really excited for this year, I think we have a great team,” he added. Mitchell is joined by coaching staff, Shane Beam, Jeff Springer, Jamie Moore and a new Bulldog, Matt Andrews. Also joining the coaching staff on the bench this season will be Steven. Steven has played 3 seasons for the Bulldogs, but he wanted to hang up his shoes and pick up a clipboard this season. “I have accomplished everything I wanted to as an athlete here at Bellcate. It’s time for me to pass the torch down to some of these young bucks coming in here. With that being said, I hope someday I can come back to Bellcate and see my number retired on a wall at school. That would be pretty cool” explained Steven.

Bellcate will bring back 7 players from last year’s team. Matt, Dom, Abdi, and Keith will look to control the backcourt for the Bulldogs this coming season. “Early in the season it is likely our offense will be a little disorganized. We will be looking for the four of them to get us organized and back into our offensive sets,” explained Jeff Springer. Kolbi, who grew close to 4 inches from last year, will team up with Eric and will add some length and athleticism on the wings for the Bulldogs. “Kolbi is so long now. His arms go for days. We will need him to do a little bit of everything for us.” says Coach Beam. “Eric is just a bull. He is the type of player that will do all the little things for his team to win. He has shown great leadership early, and his basketball skills have improved dramatically since last season. If he can stay healthy, I am looking for him to have a big year” added Beam. Dustin returns as Bellcate’s big man in the center. He comes off a strong 2017 season where he lead the Bulldogs in rebounding. “We will need Dustin to use his height to rebound the basketball for us and be a presence in the paint on the defensive end of the floor” says Coach Andrews. Rounding out the team this year are newcomers Dakota, Marcus, and Kyron. Marcus, who played on Bellcate’s Gold team last year, has worked his way to making the Maroon team’s roster in 2018. “Marcus is a coach’s dream. He will do whatever is asked of him, no questions. He has worked his tail off in the off-season to get to where he is now. He deserves to be here, and we are happy to have him” explains Coach Moore. Dakota, who also played on Bellcate’s Gold team in 2017, has shown glimpses in practice that he can be a real player by the end of the season. “Dakota sets some of the best screens I have ever seen. He’s a strong kid, and we will need his toughness coming off the bench this year. Dakota has a big potential on this team, and we as coaches, are excited to be able to work with him,” says Moore. Last but not least, we have Bellcate newcomer Kyron. Kyron will join the 4 boys in the backcourt this year. “I had basketball class with Kyron last quarter, and let me tell you, this kid is a shooter. We will look for Kyron to extend some defenses with his ability to hit shots from deep. This will open up some things for some of our other guys when teams focus on Kyron. We are glad to have him.” Coach Moore says.

Please come support your Bellcate Maroon basketball team this year. Please call or email Bellcate’s Athletic Director Jamie Moore with any questions about the season.