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CHS boys look to turn things around in New Year

Seniors Bryann Rivera and Irving Torres both believe the Rough Riders can get their season headed in the right direction after their 1-7 start. The Roughies will be back in action Jan. 3 at Lehighton, and they suffered a 55-21 defeat to Palmerton Dec. 21.

“I definitely see us getting back on track,” said Rivera. “We all believe we can pull out the season and be over .500 and make leagues and districts.

“‘It was a matter of a number of us being starters for the first time this year. We just have to work on our offense, and our defense has been good.”

Being one of four seniors on the roster, Rivera doesn’t mind being in a leadership role.

“I have liked being in that role,” he said. “We have a lot of young kids. I just want them to see what they have to fix out there.”

Torres has followed a similar path to his teammate’s. He had reflected on the team’s 0-22 season from a year ago.

“We had a bad year and it was rough,” he said. “We tried to use it as a learning experience for this year. It has driven us to work harder this year. We don’t have any lazy people on our team.

“I definitely think we can get this together. Our coaches have been working hard, and they’re trying to get everyone into games. We really don’t have a true scorer, and we four seniors have been everything we can for the team.”

Both Rivera and Torres didn’t play in the Catasauqua youth program. Rivera came to Catty from the Lehigh Valley Academy, and Torres came over from Allen.

Rivera didn’t start playing basketball until sixth grade after he watched the NBA. He came to Catasauqua for his sophomore year, where he has played the point and shooting guard.

Along with the positive changes in the coaching philosophy at Catty, Rivera credits his older brother, Yardley, for his transformation to the game.

“I wanted to try it, and I immediately fell in love with the sport,” said Rivera. “At Lehigh Valley Academy, they really didn’t take the game seriously.

“The coaches at Catty were very different. They made me appreciate the game. I thought I adapted pretty well to everything here. It has been a good experience. I have always played the point and some shooting guard. Playing the point has meant that I have to always make the first pass and take care of my teammates.”

Rivera plans to attend DeSales University next fall, and hasn’t declared a major.

Head coach Eric Snyder has watched Rivera blossom on and off the court.

‘Bryan Rivera has really grown up and matured,” said Snyder. “His ball-handling skills have increased, and he is one of our best outside and three-point shooters. His defense has improved to where he is understanding the matchup zone more and more every day, and he can help out in the paint.”

Torres began playing basketball in fourth grade, but he finally took a different approach to the game.

“I was just playing the game for fun,” he recalled. “It wasn’t until ninth grade that I wanted to take the game seriously. I tried out at Allen during my freshman year, and I began to be really driven about the game.”

Torres started to become a steady contributor as a forward/center last season, and he credited the help of assistant coach James Snyder.

“He has worked with me every chance he gets,” said Torres about the younger Snyder’s involvement. “We work out with weights and work on my shooting and rebounding. It has really helped me with my confidence and ability.

“I try to do something better each and every game. I also will do whatever the coaches want me to do to help the team.”

Torres plans to focus on being more of an offensive player.

“Coach (Eric Snyder) wants me to put up more shots,” he said. “I think I don’t shoot enough. It can be hard to find the right time to shoot. Defensively, I think I have done better. I have worked on my rebounding and shot-blocking and that’s working out well.”

As far as his future, Torres is undecided about his plans, but he would welcome a place to continue his basketball career.

In the meantime, the older Snyder wants to see more of Torres at Catasauqua.

“Irving is a silent leader, the quiet reserved kind who works very hard,” said Snyder. “He is one of our best outside shooters and handles the ball very well. For a 6-2 forward, he is a very good shot blocker and one of our better rebounders.

“We look for him to have a good second half of the year.”