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Brothers gear up for another title defense

Christian Brothers Academy has won the last three Section II, Class AA boys basketball titles.

Bishop Maginn would like to end that streak.

The Golden Griffins appear to be CBA's closest challenger for both the Big 10 and Sectional titles entering the 2006-07 season. Bishop Maginn returns several players from last year's Sectional semifinalist squad led by Penn State-bound guard Talor Battle.

I think they are the most talented team in the league, said CBA coach Dave Doemel. "They were young last year, and they have most of their guys back."

The Brothers are also laden with veterans, including center Greg Holle, forward Luke Weaver and guard John Cahill. What they don't have, said Doemel, is a deep bench.

"We're going to have to incorporate a few new guys in there and get some depth," he said.

The reason why CBA won't have as much depth as last year is because two key reserves from the 2005-06 team " guard Joe Zappone and forward DeAndre Kennedy " are moving into starting roles, and junior forward/guard Malcolm Austin is out with a fractured ankle. Newcomers John Mantas and Jordan Sherman will try to fill the void left by Austin's injury, said Doemel.

Zappone will assume the point guard role that was vacated with the graduation of Kellen Byrnes and give the Brothers another perimeter shooter along with Cahill.

"John Cahill and Joe Zappone have demonstrated in the past that they can shoot from the outside, as well as Lucas (Weaver)," said Doemel.

But the bread and butter of CBA's offense the last three years has been in the low post, and it should be that way again with the return of Weaver and Holle.

"They should hopefully take on the load to score, rebound and play defense, but if you want to go through Sectionals, you need more than two guys," said Doemel. "Although, it is a great starting point" to have Holle and Weaver back.

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