The Mainland boys' basketball program had an underwhelming 2-6 record in the COVID shortened 2020 season. However, the Mustangs return a core group of players that got plenty of experience last year, which could help them surprise teams this season.

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"These guys love hoops," said Mustangs head coach Dan Williams, "They bring a sense of “we don’t ever want a repeat of last season”, which they use as motivation in practice each day."

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The Mustangs lost their leading scorer from last season to graduation, Tom Travagline, who scored 11.1 point per game. Williams says that his four players, senior Christian Rodgers and a trio of sophomores, Cohen Cook, Jamie Tyson and Tim Travagline will share in picking up the slack on offense.

"I think our points will largely come from the combination of Rodgers, Cook, Tyson and Travagline," said Williams. "We told these guys there’s no pressure to feel as if they need to average some high number.  They need to collectively get us a solid number as often as possible."

If one of those guys is going to get a big number, its likely Cook, who scored 15 in the Mustangs opening night 60-27 win over Absegami on Friday. Cook, who scored 6.7 points per game in four games as a freshman last season and is one player Mainland could lean on this season.

"Cohen is as tough as they come," explained Williams. "He’s physically strong, he backs down to no one, he has a strong basketball IQ and he can play both inside and on the perimeter.  Also, he never shows his emotions so it’s virtually impossible to know if he’s super confident or if an opponent is in his head."

While Cohen had a big opening game, Travagline, Tyson and Rodgers, are three players who Williams expects big things from this season. Local high school basketball fans might not know a lot about these three now, but will by end of this season.

"I think Tim Travagline is someone who put other teams on notice before this season is through," Williams noted. "He is a solid offensive player who can really defend.  Jamie Tyson creates a lot of problems defensively and, like Trav, is also a sophomore.  Christian Rodgers is a tough point guard who can really handle, especially in transition, and is a strong shooter as well."

"The league may be wide open but our conference is probably has most of the teams that can compete for the league title," Williams says.

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