About the only way anyone can top a state championship season is to increase the profile of the opposition and pursue the same lofty goal with a mix of familiar stars and new, intriguing prospects.
That is the blend the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team hopes to use in pursuit of the summit in 2008-09, having gone to both of them last winter by winning both the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and Federation Class A titles.
From that blinding group of talent, some big names graduated, as Nick Pascale went to Colgate University and Mickey Davis, Greg Stern and Marcus Williams also departed.
Yet one giant figure remains -- that of Brandon Triche, the reigning state Class A Player of the Year, who is already booked to go to Syracuse University next fall to be the Orange's next great point guard.
Triche is back, as is Alshwan Hymes, the high-scoring forward who became such a dangerous sixth-man late last season. As if that wasn't enough, the Rams also got DeJuan Coleman, a 6-8, 250-pound freshman transfer from Fowler that hasn't stopped growing yet.
Armed with this talented troupe, J-D and head coach Bob McKenney have carved out an ambitious schedule that includes an elite tournament in Binghamton during the holiday break plus trips to New York City and Philadelphia to face nationally-known programs.
And yes, there's still those OHSL Freedom division games -- which is what the Red Rams opened with last Tuesday, a trip to Fulton that resulted in an 81-38 victory.
A standing-room-only crowd in the Red Raiders' home gym got treated to J-D building a 70-30 lead through the first three quarters and eventually getting 11 different players to connect on field goals.
For his part, Triche shook off a quiet start (just two points in the first quarter) and finished with 25 points, while Hymes had 11 points. Coleman had a modest J-D debut, earning eight points, as did sophomore Demetrius Mitchell. Jailaan Kinsey added seven points.