OSSINING, N.Y. Fox Lanes boys basketball team came into this season with plenty of hype and expectations. Rather than hide from the pressure, head coach Chris Violante chooses to acknowledge and use it.
We tell the kids you have a target on your back, and youve got to play like that, Violante said.
The coach preaches to his players that every opponent will give their best performance against Fox Lane because they all want to beat the Foxes. And he knows that managing the expectations is tricky, especially for his players.
Its not easy, Violante said. I think its harder on the kids than it is on me.
Fox Lane is regarded as a top 10 program in Class AA and has started the season at 4-1 after a 58-47 victory against Ossining on Thursday. Though the Pride was winless coming into the game, Violante knew that his team could not come out flat.
With high school kids, you always worry about a letdown game, Violante said. But this is a hungry group. This is a group of kids that want to get better.
Fox Lanes lone loss of the season so far came against Class A powerhouse Byram Hills. The Foxes next game just so happens to be against the Bobcats, but they will not face off until Jan. 4 at Fox Lane.
The Foxes committed 21 turnovers against the Bobcats in their previous meeting but still had a chance to win, as the game was tied at 37 in the fourth quarter. And though the rematch will not occur for several weeks, Violante and his players are already preparing themselves.
Were excited. We definitely want another shot, Violante said. Its our only blemish If you want respect, youve got to beat good teams.