STRATFORD—The elephant in the room at Bunnell High School is the fact that somebody isn’t in the room.
Maximus Edwards, the town’s all-time leading basketball scorer, who led the Bulldogs to the SWC championship and Class LL quarterfinals last season, has taken his considerable talents to a New York City prep school this winter.
As such, a vastly different Bunnell squad is taking to the floor this season.
“Before Max left, we spoke, and we agreed that we have a good enough team to win the SWC, even without him here,” second-year Bunnell coach Dannie Powell said. “With him, we’d be in a different stratosphere, but guys are learning their talent and their roles, and we’ll keep developing that.”
And, in a wide-open SWC, why couldn’t Bunnell make another run at the title?
“We’re the defending champs we’ll defend that until we’re knocked out,” Powell said. “That’s our goal. Our kids know we have more than enough talent to get it done.”
A veteran senior group of role players return from a year ago along with junior Kevin Lanham, who drained 27 points during the season-opening win over Darien last week.
“We’ve got Kevin and we think he’s our guy,” Powell said. “He’s growing into that role. We’ll put that ball in his hands.”
Senior point guard Derrick Gyimah will be responsible for getting the ball into Lanham’s hands as well to his senior classmates like Tyler Staggs-Burgess, Jaden McDowell, Nick Rodrigues, Tiyorne Coleman, Donato Quattrucci and Julia Cardona.
“I think we just have to move on,” Gyimah said of Life without Max. “We’re not going to win every game, but we’re going to keep working hard at practice. We have shown a lot of grit and I think that’s going to help us.”
Adding depth to the roster are Lanham’s classmates, including Kapita Kalemba, Prashant Haley, Ceezar Samson, and Henry Dorvil.
“There’s no adjustment. People just have to step up and play their game,” Staggs-Burgess said. “We have to do what we have to do. We’ll keep working on it. There’s more than enough talent out here. We just have to go out and play our own games. That’s all there is to it.”
The Bulldogs are 1-1 after two games.
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