Mohonasen boys basketball coach Ken Dagostino knows his players have the potential to be great.
It's just getting them to play up to their potential that's been the challenge.
I think this is my most talented team since I've been here, said Dagostino. "But they really have to make their minds up that they have to compete. I think it's really completely on them, and it's a great question for them to ask themselves and answer of themselves."
While Mohonasen has talent, it doesn't have varsity experience. Dagostino is starting three juniors and two sophomores, none of whom were key starters last year.
"We're new, we're young and we're inexperienced, but we're coming along," said Dagostino.
The lack of experience has haunted Mohonasen (2-4 league, 3-5 overall) at times. The Mighty Warriors had a 21-17 halftime lead on Lansingburgh in last Wednes-day's Kirvin Cup championship game, but they couldn't maintain their level of play in the second half and lost 39-33.
"We played a good defensive game," said Dagostino. "We came out at halftime with a nice lead, but we had a bunch of turnovers in the second half, and that's what hurt us."
Mohonasen has been sound defensively for most of the season, Tuesday's 64-39 Suburban Council loss to Saratoga Springs notwithstanding. The Mighty Warriors had allowed opponents to reach the 50-point plateau twice in the seven games leading up to Tuesday's road game.
A solid offensive performance has been harder to come by for Mohonasen. The Mighty Warriors are averaging less than 46 points per game, and none of their players are averaging 10 points per game. Take away Mohonasen's 70-54 victory over crosstown rival Schalmont in last Tuesday's Kirvin Cup opening round and the Mighty Warriors are averaging 42 points per game.
"We're in every game," said Dagostino. "It's just a matter of being more comfortable within the [offensive] system."