Hawks dominating Kawartha
By Darren Lum
After their last two games where both ended in climactic fashion, the Red Hawks senior boys’ basketball made quick work of the visiting Lindsay Collegiate Vocational Institute Spartans in its most recent game.
On Wednesday afternoon, the second game of a Kawartha West High School League double-header (the first showcasing the junior squads for both schools), the Hawks ran out to a 11-2 lead in the first quarter as a result of a stifling full court press defence and poor shooting from the field for the Spartans.
“We’re really keyed in on that [full court press]. We’re really working well as a unit to make sure that we’re running the system the way we’ve practiced,” coach Dave Waito said.
Waito appreciated the game for how it lacked the drama of the previous two games – the triple overtime win and the buzzer beater win. He believes the lower intensity of the game led to greater turnovers for his team.
“They’ve been emotional games that we played ... and they’ve pushed us to the limit at the end of the game and I think we’re seeing that right before the winter break. I think we’re a little worn down. Just because we’re worn down doesn’t mean we roll over and that’s what tonight was. I wouldn’t say it was our most emotionally high effort, but we took care of business by running the system and by staying focused and by making things happen,” he said.
This team has a short bench with only three extra players.
The Hawks forward Hunter Smith led the charge in the first half, scoring 12 of his 16 points in the game. At the half, the Hawks were in control, leading 21-9.
Although the Spartans equaled the Hawks in the third quarter 9-9 and only lost the fourth by one-point 7-6, it was far from enough to erase the first half 11-point lead.
Part of the team’s effort to maintain focus and discipline is to add to the playbook, Waito said.
The team employed an offence to spread out the defence, employing a high and low scoring option.
One Hawks player runs along the baseline looking for an opening while another stays at the high post for another scoring option. Variations of it will be developed during the season, Waito said.
“We got some good looks out of it and I thinking building composure in our offence is something that came out of tonight as of a positive,” he said.
However Waito said turnovers were a concern despite the great job his team did on the boards.
“We turned the ball over a lot, but we did a great job on the boards and we’ve been focusing on that because our first four games of the year we didn’t rebound very well. Tonight, boxing out – I think Nick [Thompson] had 16 rebounds, I think Jalen [Campbell] had eight. Those stat lines are a big win for us,” he said.
Thompson also helped on the scoresheet, finishing with 11 points.
Waito continues to tell his team to be ready for the upcoming rematches against Kawartha West opponents, the Falcons of Fenelon Falls Secondary School and the Wildcats of I.E. Weldon Secondary School. Both teams want nothing more than to avenge the losses in front of their fans.
“We’re going to have to step it up so I think that is something to focus on,” he said.
The Hawks continue to be undefeated in Kawartha league play.
With an upcoming broken schedule, as the team won’t play for two weeks due to holidays and then return for three weeks before the exam break. It’s something he and the coaching staff recognize as a challenge towards keeping focused.
The first break will be the first test for his hot team.
“It’ll be interesting to see. It’ll be an important thing to key on when we come back from this is to keep the momentum going because it’s with us right now. We’ve won seven in a row, including the tournament games. We’ve won five in a row league games so to pick up where we have left off when we come back from break will be our challenge,” he said.
The team’s first game after the holidays is on the road against Brock on Wednesday, Jan. 6.