There’s little doubt that, in years past, Liam Aldrich would have traded his spot on the bench for a spot in the Manchester Essex boys basketball team’s starting five in a heartbeat.
With a star point guard in Sean Nally -- who started three seasons for the Hornets, leading them to the Division 4 North semifinals all three years -- in front of him on the depth chart, though, Aldrich’s playing time was limited.
Where many young players would have become frustrated, though, Aldrich was unshaken, making the best of his situation and studying the gifted players ahead of him on the depth chart.
Now a senior, Aldrich is no longer biding his time. And the co-captain clearly learned something from those who came before him.
Aldrich has been a force for the 7-6 Hornets, pacing the offense from the point and piling up assists while putting up 12 points per game.
If the Hornets intend to repeat their postseason success of recent years, it may all begin and end with Aldrich.
“I had a lot of people in front of me that were very talented, so I was just kind of sitting back, watching them and learning and now I finally get my time to step up,” Aldrich said after Friday’s loss to Masconomet. “Sean Nally, he was very skilled, he started as a sophomore and he was definitely running the whole team and everything was through him, so I got to see that and just do whatever I can to mirror him.”
Aldrich has established himself among the top players in the Cape Ann League during his first season with starters’ minutes. He’s as slick as they come with the ball, slicing through defenders and breaking the press with ease.
Once on the attack, Aldrich makes the Hornets’ offense tick. For a team that likes to run the floor, a steady ball-handler is essential, and Aldrich’s ability to stretch the floor and find teammates both in the halfcourt and in transition has proven essential to the team.