Kevin Lynch stands out among the band at Tappan Zee high school, a tall and wiry alto saxophone player towering over everyone in sight.
He plays with a sense of pride and fervor too, reading the music as thoroughly as he dissects scouting reports and playbooks.
Playing the saxophone and traveling to perform concerts was never Lynch's intention, albeit his mother implored him to give it a try.
Such has been a theme for Lynch this winter, wearing new jerseys and adjusting to new roles on the fly.
For the Dutchman, Lynch has gone from a seldom-used sophomore to a critical interior banger as a junior.
Safeguarding the rim, becoming a super-efficient free throw shooter, and hunting for buckets around the rim more, Lynch has been an instrumental figure in Tappan Zee's scalding 10-1 start.
Lynch scored 13 points and ripped 10 rebounds in TZ's renewed blood feud with Pearl River on Friday, en route to a dizzying 63-55 OT victory over the Pirates.
Last season appeared to be the apex for Rockland County basketball. With Spring Valley's inside-outside tandem of Rickey McGill and Kai Mitchell, Clarkstown South's gritty little scoring guard Connor McGuiness, and TZ's own Luke McLaughlin thriving as a versatile guard-forward, it was an epic year for a basketball-crazed area.
At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Lynch hopes to carry on tradition with consistent double doubles and furious defensive energy.
Lynch On His Role And Expectations
My role on the team is to support my teammates to the best of my ability...and then some.
Coach (George) Gaine expects me to practice with fierce intensity, pull down rebounds, play unyielding defense, run and see the court and be in constant communication with my teammates on and off the court.
On Gutting Out A Tight Win Over Pelham
The game at Pelham taught me never to underestimate the power of any team. That game was a battle and I believe our team's special brotherhood became obvious and apparent.
The Pelham game taught me the power of teamwork and communication under pressure.
When the sound of the final buzzer rang out in the gym, I realized as a team how much we always need to be prepared. There is truly no such thing as an easy win. Pelham was a great opponent. They fought hard. I felt as a team we had a powerful comradeship that night.
On Adjusting and Improvement
Last year as a sophomore, I was given an amazing opportunity to be pulled up to varsity. I learned the ropes from intense practices and the willingness of the seniors to guide and mentor. I began to fully understand how the game of TZ basketball is played by sitting on the bench. From my seat, I saw the game atmosphere produced by the Red Sea.
I was also able to see how the hard work and preparation from coach Gaine paid off. I learned the true meaning of team.
On The Upcoming Schedule And Legacy
I believe our team is going to continue to play as one, accept our challenges and stay focused.
When all is said and done, we hope to encourage the younger basketball players in my town, the same way we were by former players.
We want to play team basketball and set a precedent for others to follow.