LAKE GEORGE - A measuring tape appeared recently on the wall of the gym under the west basket in the Lake George High School gymnasium.
Before a scrimmage against Granville Monday, several of the school's Varsity Boys Basketball players stood against the tape and called out their height - taller than their mentors had expected.
The players had nothing to prove, however. Three players on the team can dunk the ball - Matt Stover at 6'5", Matt McGowan at 6'7+" and Alex Hladik at 6'4+" - and the coaches and fans are well aware of it.
They also fully recognize the athleticism of the team, which for decades has a tradition of competing at the top of the Adirondack League.
A third factor, however, is likely to propel Lake George back to the top this year - experience.
With a capital "E."
Lake George has no less than five starters returning to the team, and two others with solid Varsity experience.
Senior Center Matt McGowan, one of last year's standouts who is starting his third season as Center, talked Monday about that factor.
"Another year of experience means more maturity - improved decision-making like when to take the shot and when to pass it," he said.
J.D. Jenkins said the lengthy time his teammates have played together has helped develop players' synchronicity and ability to anticipate teammates' moves.
"Our chemistry is contributing to ball movement and knowing where the players are and where they're going - their style of play," he said.
McGowan, Hladik and Stover are known to be productive on both ends of the court.
Senior Forward J.D. Jenkins has a reputation of staking out his place on the court in rebounding and getting his points off the offensive glass. And Jeff Maldonado, a two-year starter, is a talented shooting guard, Assistant Coach Tim Kissane said Monday.
"Jeff creates opportunities off the dribble, and is not afraid to take the ball inside amongst the big guys."
Last year, the Warriors were slowed down by an ultra-competitive Adirondack League, and they placed second in the league's Western Division - not reaching their goals of capturing the league crown. Then fairly early in the Sectionals, they were defeated by the defending Section II champions, Berne-Knox in an unexpected matchup.
This year - considering the 2010-11 team's talent, experience, and depth - the sky's the limit, as far as the fans are concerned.
Coach Dave Jones expectations, however, seemed more grounded Monday as he talked about the team's abilities and style of play while watching his players compete in a scrimmage against Granville.
He said his team had the height, "length" and stamina to wear other teams down.
"We have the ability to slow things down and go inside if we need to, but we're going to try to play an uptempo game this year," he said. "We'll be playing at a fast, aggressive pace."
Athletic Director Mark Bleibtrey said the 2010 team, despite its talented roster, has a lot yet to accomplish on the court in order to achieve the team goals.
"The team has athleticism, very, very good height, and a lot of skill, but they've still got a lot of work ahead of them if they want to make the run they hope to."
Their work starts at 7 p.m. Friday Dec. 3 at home against Stillwater in their season-opener.
Lake George Warriors
2010-11 Boys Basketball Schedule
Dec. 3 Ticonderoga Away 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 7 Hadley-Luzerne Away 6:00 p.m.
Dec. 10 Whitehall Central Away 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 14 Corinth Central Home 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 17 Argyle Central Home 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 21 Warrensburg Away 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 4 Hartford Central Home 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 7 Salem Central Home 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 11 North Warren Away 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 14 Fort Edward Away 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 21 Fort Ann Central Away 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 28 Luzerne Central Home 6:00 p.m.
Feb. 1 Corinth Central Away 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 4 Warrensburg Home 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 8 North Warren Home 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 11 Ticonderoga Home 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 15 League Chmpnshp Away TBA
Lake George Warriors
2010-11 Boys Basketball Roster
Matt McGowan Sr. Ctr. 6'7"+
Erik Jones Sr. Guard 5'7"
Alex Hladik Sr. Fwd. 6'4"
Matt Stover Sr. Fwd 6'5"
J.D. Jenkins Sr. Fwd. 6'0"
Jeff Maldonado Sr. Guard 5'7"
Aaron Chambers Jr. Guard 6'1"
Ryan Moll Jr. Ctr. 6'3"
Pete Fisher Jr. Guard 5'10"
Coach: Dave Jones; Asst. Coach: Tim Kissane