Hawks ground Falcons attack
By Darren Lum
Published Dec. 24, 2018
Coming into Tuesday’s game, the Hawks looked like they were going to be in for a test with the visiting Falcons. At least that’s what it looked like on paper, as the Red Hawks junior boys’ basketball team entered play 2-2 just like the Falcons, who had beaten the same teams (Brock and St. Thomas) with similar margins of victory.
That wasn’t the reality, as the Hawks won easily, defeating Fenelon Falls 64-20 with a balanced attack on offence and stifling defence, aided in large part to the home side’s speed to pressure ball carriers.
Head coach Paul Longo thought it was injuries to the Falcons that contributed (that wasn’t confirmed) to the lopsided score.
“I think Fenelon was missing a couple of guys today,” he said. “But, with that said, we played well. We were efficient and playing really good D all year.”
Despite this dominant performance, Longo believes his team has the potential to get better because of a great attitude and a commitment to the team and one another.
“We’re feeling good about what’s to come in the new year and we feel like we’re getting better and better. We have a lot of work to do. There’s some issues we have to work on, but the chemistry is great. They really play for each other, which I really like, and their commitment to the defensive part of the game has been really good,” he said.
He pointed to the team’s commitment to defence, which was part of the team’s emphasis since the start.
Among teams in the Kawartha Junior League that have played five games, the team ranks first in points allowed with just 147. Undefeated Adam Scott and I.E. Weldon have allowed 182 and 183 points, respectively.
“We knew the offence would come and it’s really started to come now. They’re scoring on average 45 points a game now and we’re allowing no more than 30. Those are good numbers,” he said.
The team understands success later in the season has a lot to do with defence.
There were six players with five or more points against the Falcons.
Jaxson Gill led all scorers with 10 points while teammates Vikram Marathe scored nine, Brian Kim finished with eight, and Holden Dupret-Smith, Camden Marra and Teo O’Malley, each with six points.
Longo has loved his balanced roster from positions one to five.
In particular, the strong play from second year players Brian Kim, Jaxson Gill, Camden Marra, Holden Dupret-Smith, including Vikram Marathe, who he called the “most improved guy I’ve seen since Grade 9. No question.”
Before the Falcons game, the team had just played an open tournament in Bracebridge over the Dec. 15/16 weekend where the in-game experience went a long way to improving the team’s play, he said. Although the team went winless through three games, they were in tough with a strong field of teams, which included a tough game against Bradford, who stymied the Hawks with a full-court press, a one point loss (40-39) to Bracebridge Muskoka Lakes Secondary School and a close game (44-30) against Kawartha League high school, Adam Scott.
“It showed us we’re a very competitive team,” he said.
The Bradford loss, he said, showed the team needs to improve on their press break.
Another area, he adds, was improving on transition from defence to offence, particularly on fast-breaks.
For all the good things up to this point in the season there is room to grow.
“There’s still lots to do. We’re nowhere near where we want to be, but so far so good,” he said.
The team, he said, is easy to work with and have been open to learning.
The Hawks will be seeking redemption, as they start the new year with a road game against top-ranked and undefeated (5-0) I.E. Weldon in Lindsay on Tuesday, Jan. 8. The red and white lost to I.E. Weldon 35-22 to open the season. Two days after the I.E. Weldon game, the Hawks will host the Bulldogs of Brock High School on Tuesday, Jan. 15. The Hawks beat the Bulldogs in their first meeting 50-22. Tip off is at 3 p.m.