Monday, January 4, 2010

Britt and De Los Santos looking foward to another decade of succecss

Mico De Los Santos (left) and Chris Britt (right) are the only returning seniors on the Rensselaer High School basketball team. They average a combined 33.6 points per game and have led the Rams to a 7-0 record to start the 2009-10 season. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

De Los Santos and Britt recalled first playing together when they were about seven years old at the Rensselaer Boys & Girls Club. In that span of about 10 years, the two have grown in a great backcourt duo. As sophomores on the 2007-08 squad, their first year on the varsity, they won a Section II Class C title.

This season, the Rams are 7-0, which was a bit of a surprise to head coach Dom Pitaniello, who expected his team to really start peaking in mid-February. Many of the players missed the first three weeks of practice because they were busy with Rensselaer's Section II Class D Super Bowl-winning football team.

Britt and De Los Santos have sparked the team with their play on the court, but Pitaniello also lauded their veteran presence in the locker room, which has helped a fairly young and inexperienced team gain some early confidence.

De Los Santos (2) guards Britt (23) during Monday's practice at Rensselaer High School. The Rams host Maple Hill in a battle for first place in the Patroon Conference Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

It's going to be a fast-paced game Wednesday night, as both Maple Hill and Rensselaer love to run the court and score a lot of points. Both teams, however, are also aggressive and sharp on the defensive end, so it will be interesting to see exactly what type of game this winds up being.

The Wildcats have a great set-up, with four solid perimeter players and rock-solid senior center Sean Danaher in the middle. The Rams just don't have that kind of size, but they do match up very well on the perimeter. Will Danaher be able to have his way in the paint, or can Rensselaer find a way to be competitive in the rebounding game even with their size disadvantage?

The winner gets a clear leg up toward the Patroon Conference regular season title, but Ichabod Crane, also undefeated, is still lurking. Maple Hill travels to Valatie for a showdown with the Riders on Thursday, January 14.

Still, with two of the top 10 ranked Class C teams in New York State, Wednesday's game between Rensselaer and Maple Hill figures to be one of the most exciting regular season games near the midway point of the 2009-10 season. The Rams have a lot to prove and they are certainly not ones to back down from a challenge.

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