HAMPTON — Jay McKenna woke up Saturday morning and his mind immediately went into basketball mode thinking about what the daily plan was.
The Winnacunnet High School boys basketball head coach quickly realized that the season came to an end earlier than he or anyone involved in the program expected the night before with a 42-40 loss at Londonderry.
"It's tough," McKenna said. "Your first thought is planning out your day, and what are you doing at practice that day or what do you need to do to get ready for next game; your mind goes there, and you have to stop yourself and remember there is no practice. That's a challenge."
The loss not only ended the season but the careers of six Warriors, including captains Ben Allen and Jack Schaake, as well as Joe LaRosa, Brendon Anderson, Matthew Fiorentini and Will Thomson.
"You look forward to seeing these kids each day and getting to work with them and then all of a sudden it's done," McKenna said. "These seniors you have grown close with them over the past four years, and now I am not going to be seeing those six guys in the same fashion; that's the emotional challenge of it."
Winnacunnet finished the season with a 15-5 record, winning more than 10 games for the fourth straight season and the sixth time in the past seven seasons. McKenna and his staff is already looking ahead to next season.
"We're excited," McKenna said. "There is a really good nucleus of young kids. We had some sophomores contribute this year, and we had juniors who played some major minutes. We like some things that are going on at the younger levels with the junior varsity and freshman teams."
Juniors Conor Considine and Jordan Fuller, and sophomore Lucas Schaake all started games this past season; while sophomores James O'Hara and Hayes Waddell both showed glimpses of promise.
"We think we are going to have continued success. I am excited," McKenna said. "It's going to look a lot different next year in terms of style of play because we won't have (Allen) and (Schaake). It will look different offensively, and we'll be trying some different things, but we are excited. We have young, talented kids who have played a lot of basketball and a lot of guys gained experience this year. We are sad to see the seniors go and sad that this chapter is over, but we´re looking forward to writing the next one."