The Shepaug Boys basketball team returns a solid core of players and should be one of the top teams in the Berkshire League during the 2018-19 season.

The Spartans won a holiday tournament title, a Berkshire League Tournament game and won a game in the CIAC Division V Tournament last season and appear primed for even more success under coach Matt Lefevre.

The Spartans finished the season 14-10 last year after a loss to North Branford in the second round of the state tournament. The No. 10 seed in the state tournament, Shepaug had defeated Tourtellotte, 59-57, in a first-round matchup.

Shepaug knocked off Litchfield, 43-41, in the Berkshire League tournament before falling to BL regular season champion Northwestern in the semifinals.

Early last season the Spartans won their third annual Holiday Tournament with wins over Wamogo in the semifinal and Oxford in the finals. Wamogo went on to play in the Division V state title game.

Kyle LaMay and senior Joe Brunelli were voted to the first Team All Berkshire League, and were selected to participate in the Berkshire League vs. NVL All-Star Game. LaMay has graduated but Brunelli returns for this season and will be one of the team’s leaders.

Senior Ethan Hibbard was selected to the second Team All Berkshire League last season and his brother, sophomore Owen Hibbard, also had an outstanding season as a freshman, averaging almost nine points per game and 4.5 assists. He averaged 16 points a game over the last five games.

Shepaug got the season off to a strong start and gave coach Lefevre a rare victory to open the season.

Owen Hibbard scored 18 points and the Spartans used a big second half to pull away for a 58-37 victory at Northwestern on Friday. The last time Lefevre left the Northwestern gym a winner was six years ago when he was still an assistant basketball coach for the Highlanders.

Senior Jack Schneider added 11 points, Ethan Hibbard had 10 points and six rebounds and Brunelli added 10 points.

Shepaug was scheduled for a tough Berkshire League game on Tuesday at home against Litchfield and hosts Thomaston on Friday night. A pair of early season tests against Wamogo (Division V finalists a season ago) on Dec. 27 and Jan. 2, will give a good indication as to where the Spartans stack up in the league title chase.