The 2016-17 Blind Brook boys’ modified basketball team. Back row, from left: Coach Brian Lazere, Justin Schuster, Josh Salim, Jesse Zimmerman, Trevor Dutra, Mark Short, Julian Goz, Frank Savino, Lucas Orchard, Assistant Coach Dan Hicks. Front row, from left: Henry Aronwald, Ryan Bachmann, Hunter Zuckerman, Zach Taub, Thomas Giuliano, Martin Otero, Jack Miller.
Courtesy of Sarin Bachmann
The 2016-17 Blind Brook boys’ modified basketball team. Back row, from left: Coach Brian Lazere, Justin Schuster, Josh Salim, Jesse Zimmerman, Trevor Dutra, Mark Short, Julian Goz, Frank Savino, Lucas Orchard, Assistant Coach Dan Hicks. Front row, from left: Henry Aronwald, Ryan Bachmann, Hunter Zuckerman, Zach Taub, Thomas Giuliano, Martin Otero, Jack Miller. Courtesy of Sarin Bachmann

“Excellence is a continuous process, not an accident,” said A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India from 2002-2007. This quote has been the team mantra hanging in the Blind Brook boys’ modified basketball team locker room since day one of the season. It seemed to resonate with the group, who just capped off the first undefeated season in the past eight years, maybe in the history of Blind Brook modified basketball.

The boys went an astounding 12-0 under the leadership of head coach Brian Lazere and assistant coach Dan Hicks. Lazere has been praised over the years and can be credited for instilling discipline and a sense of character into the members of his basketball teams.

Every game day during the season, the boys are required to sport a shirt and tie throughout the school day. With this requirement, they are held accountable for their behavior on and off the court as student-athletes representing the Blind Brook community.

“The point is to advance as basketball players and people rather than win every game,” said Lazere. “Excellence isn’t something that comes around all the time. As a coach, I am happy to recognize that this basketball team has achieved excellence. Fifteen players all coming together on the same page doesn’t happen every season. All 15 of our guys were able to put the team first and sacrifice individual accolades for the overall team goals. I think we were overall a very smart team. The boys didn’t turn the ball over often and were able to read other teams very well.”

The team consisted of an even split of eighth graders and seventh graders. Each member of the team pitched in and played significant minutes. The starting five changed from game to game, which is evidence that the boys played exceptionally well together and didn’t rely on just one or two players. In addition, practices were always intense and game realistic.

“Coach Lazere helped us work hard to be successful. We were motivated and had high intensity and energy from the whole team,” said eighth grade captain Jesse Zimmerman. “We’re all proud of our accomplishment and that our effort paid off in the end.” The 2016-17 Blind Brook boys’ modified basketball team will go down forever in school history. The 15-man roster was made up of Trevor Dutra, Frank Savino, Jesse Zimmerman, Joshua Salim, Ryan Bachmann, Hunter Zuckerman, Matias Otero, Justin Schuster, Zach Taub, Jack Miller, Lucas Orchard, Mark Short, Julian Goz, Thomas Giuliano and Henry Aronwald.