OH Boys Basketball finish season strong; primed for playoffs


Olympic Heights senior Caleb Mackrey is the state’s 6A-classification leading average points per game scorer and 14th in the state overall.

After an undefeated 2020-21 regular season campaign the standards were high for this year’s Olympic Heights Boys Basketball team. Though the goal was to repeat last year’s immense success, losing eight seniors and having 10 new players on the roster made that task difficult.

Nonetheless, the rejuvenated Lions team finished the regular season with a big win with the playoffs in sight. The Lions beat SLAM 94 to 34, finishing the regular season with 13 wins and 12 losses. The boys now enter the District 13-6A playoffs as the third seed and will host Seminole Ridge in the first round tonight, Tuesday, Feb. 8.

“We’re coming along down the stretch. We’re a young team. We’re kind of top heavy, we have a couple seniors that have experience, and then everybody else is pretty much inexperienced,” Lions head coach Keith Mackrey stated. “But we’re coming together well; they have been playing hard down the stretch, and hopefully we can put it together to make a deep run there in the playoffs.”

This year’s team has mainly been led by its two top scorers, seniors Caleb Mackrey and Kyle Dzarnowski, averaging 23.2 and 13.8 points respectively. Caleb Mackrey also led the team in assists and steals, while Dzarnowski led the team in blocks. Junior, Gyterson Louisant, led the team in rebounds.

Caleb Mackrey, a three-year starter, has made a big jump this year becoming the driving force for the Lions. After averaging 12.4 points per game in last year’s campaign, Caleb Mackrey has elevated his contribution to 23.2 points, which makes him the number one average points per game scorer in the state 6A classification and the 14th top average points per game scorer in the state overall. Caleb Mackrey’s high level performances this year has also helped him break the 1,000 career points mark. 

“Losing everybody from last year, I really had to step up and put the ball in the bucket to help us get some wins,” Caleb Mackrey told The Torch. He was named this week’s ESPN106.3FM Land Rover Palm Beach Player of the Week. In early December, the 6-foot-3 guard was named The Palm Beach Post’s Athlete of the Week.

Besides his leading seniors, Coach Mackrey also had multiple other contributors such as senior Brady Thomas, and junior Cameron Kranitz. In addition, Coach Mackrey had high praise for his junior newcomers, Davids Yonko and Trent Sease.

“Davids Yonko has impressed me a lot. He transferred in from Somerset Canyons; he has been playing really well down the stretch.” Coach Mackrey complemented, “Trent Sease as well; he came from Atlantic. He’s like our Dennis Rodman of the team. He does all the dirty-work, the rebounding, diving on the floor, all the grunt work. He’s impressed me a lot with his hustle, and his dedication to doing stuff nobody wants to do.”

Unfortunately, even with the rise of new players, last season’s success couldn’t be repeated this year, but Coach Mackrey remains hopeful for the postseason and has high expectations for next season.

“It’s always that growing pain when you lose a team, and when the younger kids come they got to take their lumps. Next year should be totally different,” Coach Mackrey explained. “These kids are not as experienced as those kids were, but in a year or two they will be right where they were. We have a couple freshmen on the JV team that can put the ball in the bucket. It’s just gonna be a matter of if they put that time in the off-season to be that person.”

As far as this year’s playoffs go, the team remains confident their performance can elevate. “I think we can go pretty far if everyone puts in the work,” Caleb Mackrey said.

Coach Mackrey concluded, “Our district is one of the toughest in the area. Every game is going to be a fight. We just got to come out and play.”