When the Lunenburg High boys basketball team has stepped on the floor this season, individuals have melded into one cohesive unit.
Who scores hasn’t matter. The only thing the Blue Knights have looked for are victories.
And through seven games, wins have come more often than losses. Lunenburg enters Friday night’s tilt against Littleton with a 6-2 record, a solid start toward the team’s goal of qualifying for the state tournament.
According to head coach Erik Dellasanta, letting go of egos and buying in on the defensive end has led to success.
“This group of kids has truly committed to being a team. When you put the group above yourself, it makes winning games a lot easier,” Dellasanta said Wednesday. “This group has put in a lot of work, a lot of offseason work, to get better. They played in summer leagues in Lowell and Gardner and I’ve got a deep team because of that work.
“I’m lucky to have kids who don’t care who scores. They just want to win. They hang out after practices, they have dinners. I’m hoping they come out of this season not only as a good basketball team, but with connections that will last a long time.”
The Blue Knights aren’t a one-trick pony on the offensive end. Whether its Miles Seminatore, Vinny Dellasanta, Max Meilleur scoring the ball, no one seems to mind. On any given night, any Lunenburg player has shown the ability to step up and score.
“We’ve got a variety of kids who can score in a variety of ways,” Erik Dellasanta said. “They look to pass up good shots for great shots. We’re moving away from contested eight-footers to open 3s; whatever is the best shot, that’s what we’re looking for. If you take away Player A, we’re going to Player B.”
The coach points to Seminatore as a force anywhere on the court, while the younger Dellasanta has been a 3-point specialist. Meilleur, a league all-star last year, has been a consistent offensive threat again this season.
Senior point guard Jonny Deyo, a captain along with Meilleur, is “one of the smartest players” Dellasanta says he’s coached, passing up shots to be an outstanding playmaker. Senior Chase Petricca has been tough on the interior despite being new to the team, while classmates Nikki Moreira and Joey Inferrera have provided shooting off the bench when called upon.
While the offensive prowess of the Blue Knights has been apparent to anyone who has stepped foot on a court with them, it’s Lunenburg’s defense that has turned heads. The team has been gritty and willing to get physical in an effort to get out in front.
Take Tuesday’s win over Quabbin Regional as a prime example. The Blue Knights won 54-31, but the game was never even as close as the final score suggests as host Lunenburg got out to an 18-0 lead, not allowing a single Panther point until the second quarter.
“Kids are hustling for loose balls, boxing out, playing great defense,” Erik Dellasanta said. “All the kids are doing those things. It’ s been infectious. They’ve bought in on defense and it’s made a huge difference this season.”
The focus, Erik Dellasanta says, has been breaking this campaign into four five-game seasons. The Blue Knights went 4-1 in the first segment of the season and are 2-1 in the last three heading into Friday’s contest. The ultimate goal, he notes, is to make the state tournament and hopefully make a deep run, but Lunenburg knows nothing is guaranteed.
“We’re in a tough league. Tyngsboro is a good team, Clinton is tough, Hudson’s tough and Maynard is the defending state champion,” the elder Dellasanta said. “To me, the end isn’t the ultimate prize for us, it’s the journey there. We’re just going to try to keep getting better every time we step out on the floor.”