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TIMES ALL-NORTH BOYS HOOPS NAC MVP: LaRose led Devils to title season

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OGDENSBURG — Sitting in the spacious living room of his family’s home in Ogdensburg, Breton LaRose spoke about how fortunate he feels to have the advantages he’s enjoyed in life.

The Ogdensburg Free Academy senior said he feels lucky to grow up with a twin brother, Cavan, who shares in his love for athletics; to play three years of varsity basketball; and to play on two teams that included younger brother, sophomore Kinnon.

He also spoke about how fortunate he and his brothers, which include fourth sibling Brogan, are to grow up in a setting where the term “homecourt” takes on a literal meaning.

The ground floor of the family home contains the brothers’ bedrooms, a weight room, a computer room and a full length basketball court. The court is also the practice home for the teams of Maple City Youth Sports, which are directed by his father, Steve.

“It has really been nice to play with my two brothers because we know where each other is all the time,” Breton said. “Really our whole team is like a team of brothers, we play really well together. Everyone makes good passes, and we all set solid screens to get each other open.”

Right on cue, players began arriving for an evening pickup game.

The unending stream of pickup games and several years of action at AAU Tournaments helped the versatile LaRose develop into the Northern Athletic Conference MVP on the Times All-North Team.

LaRose, who owns a 95 average and plans to pursue a baseball career as a pitcher at Division I Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., quickly made his mark on the varsity level. He drilled 11 3-point field goals in one game early in his sophomore season and netted 10 threes once in his junior season.

Growing to 6-foot-3 as a senior, LaRose prepared himself to take a more active role inside. Three games into the season, he was motivated to expand that role when Cavan suffered a torn ACL for a second straight season.

“When Cavan got hurt again, I knew I would have to start rebounding and defending inside even more,” said LaRose, who dedicated his interior play as a tribute to his brother who eventually made a second comeback and saw limited duty at the end of the regular season and in the postseason.

Revising his leadership package, Breton was a model of efficiency, averaging 18 points and nine rebounds per game and blocking 30 shots in 23 games. He also maintained his presence as a major perimeter threat, hitting 43 threes while combining with Kinnon (45 treys) and Matt Piercey (33 treys) in an offense that could vaporize opponents’ defensive schemes.

His complete package led the 21-2 Devils to an 18-game winning streak, a share of the NAC Central Division title with Malone at 11-1, the Section 10 Class B title, the Overall Section 10 crown, and an appearance in the state regional finals, where they fell to eventual state champion Watervliet.

The NAC Central coaches voted LaRose their MVP, and he received prestigious Joe Jukoski Memorial Award.

OFA coach Mark Henry said LaRose made the most of his opportunities and carried out his responsibilities.

“Breton (LaRose) was a two-year captain and a three-year starter. He worked extremely hard to become the player that he became by his senior year,” Henry said. “He became a complete player. He is a great rebounder and defended very well in the post usually against bigger players.”

While LaRose accepted bigger interior duties, his teammates used their chemistry to revise their roles. Sharing the ball and going through defensive rotations with trust, the Devils featured four All-NAC Central selections in Breton and Kinnon LaRose, Piercey and Pat Cosmo.

“This team was a team-first group of student athletes and that started with Breton,” Henry said. “To me the most impressive individual statistic on Breton was that he shot 74 percent on 2-point field goals this year.”

LaRose credits a lot his success to great family and community support and coaching.

“I have received great support, and I have learned so much from my coaches starting with my dad,” he said.

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