Hawks learn about team depth in loss to Spartans
By Darren Lum
There were plenty of lessons learned by the Red Hawks senior boys’ basketball team in the home loss to the visiting undefeated Spartans of Lindsay Collegiate Vocational Institute on Thursday, Dec. 12
Although the Hawks lost 50-36 to drop to 1-2 on the season against the now 3-0 Spartans, their coach Paul Longo loved the effort he saw and sees potential for improvement.
He said the score belies how close the game could have been had their open shots fallen for points.
They had their looks and were competitive despite an off night shooting.
“It’s only a 14-point game. I mean it’s still a tight game. We get it down to a single-digit game anything can happen,” he said. “These guys know there is no lead that is safe the way guys can shoot threes now.”
Among his players who can hit from deep is Holden Dupret Smith, who he believes can boost their offence when he gets hot.
“Overall, I’m pretty happy with the effort tonight,” he said.
The Hawks started well, winning the first quarter 13-11. They followed up the second with just seven, but kept the Spartans to 12 and were only down by a possession, losing 23-20.
A third quarter scoring barrage by the visiting Spartans left the senior Red Hawks down by a 16-point deficit. It could have been worse, but Longo went to his bench for a boost.
Longo said his group of five, which included Brenden Newhook, Tyler Martin, James Alexander, Ethan Glecoff and Teo O’Malley, brought great energy, excellent ball movement for open looks, and helped to slow the Spartans in the third after a Spartans 9-0 run.
“Man, did they stabilize everything and settled everything down and really played a strong quarter to keep us in it,” he said.
Red Hawks player James Alexander dishes the ball, midflight during Kawartha High School Basketball League action on Thursday, Dec. 12 at the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School in Haliburton. The Hawks lost 50-36 and were led in scoring by Holden Dupret-Smith with seven points while opposoing player, Tom Walling led all players with 22 points./DARREN LUM Staff
In the fourth quarter, his starting five for the game “showed a little grit. They realized they didn’t play the way they can in the first few minutes of that third quarter, but I thought those five guys showed me something and showed themselves something too,” he said. “Overall, a pretty solid effort. I think we can play with that team right to the bitter end. We see them again in February. So, again, AA schools, I try to get all my guys in against AA schools to give them that learning experience. Our hope is even against A teams all 15 guys need to be ready to go.”
The way his team performed was a reminder about the quality of his entire roster, which has impressed coach Longo.
“Whether we go five on or five off, which we do sometimes, whether we sub one here or a couple guys at a time, I can look down [that bench and call anyone],” he said.
Longo was impressed by a few players in this game such as Martin, who has battled a knee injury, Carson Phillips, who drew a few charging calls, Newhook and Alexander, both effective in moving the ball and settled things when needed, Glecoff moving the ball, and Kyle Davis, finishing with a few rebounds.
Longo said his point guard Brian Kim didn’t see much of the third quarter due to foul trouble, amassing four fouls in the first half.
His absence was apparent. Kim was instrumental in the first half score, as he was active on both ends in the first half, driving and finding the open man under the basket or in the open court when he drew double-teams and then pressuring the opposing team’s guard, forcing turnovers.
Kim’s back court teammate Camden Marra is also integral to the team, Longo added.
“Those two guys are pillars on the defence end. Our defence starts with those two guys and they’re speedy and they’re quick and they move their feet,” he said.
That said, he adds, the two players are not only integral to the defence, but are an important offensively.
LCVI Spartans player Tom Walling blocks Red Hawks player Ryan Mee.
Fifth year Spartans player Tom Walling left his stamp on the game, scoring 22 points to lead all players while Hawks player Dupret-Smith scored seven to lead the red and white. Along with Walling’s scoring, his presence in the paint (and equally big teammates) was felt on both ends of the court in grabbing boards and blocks. Having big man Joe Boice out of the lineup for personal reasons didn’t help the Hawks, as he would have provided some size in the paint to bang against Walling.
Longo acknowledged the physical disparity, but pointed out rebounding is a team effort.
“Everybody needs to rebound. It’s a team concept and rebounding starts with boxing out your man and not letting them get in there. So with Tom Walling, he’s a very strong player for LCVI. Our job on him was to try and not let him shoot and keep the ball out of his hands so and then when he did get it we tried to double-team and he got some points, I thought we did a good job on him,” he said.
The game is being chalked up to a learning experience towards the goal of post-season success against A schools.
“We’re always playing for mid-February when we go single A [championship]. With these guys, 11 Grade 11s, we’re also playing for next February. You know, we’re trying to keep these guys together right to the bitter end. I think we can have some real good success, both this year and certainly next year,” he said.
Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Spartans player Tom Walling as Greg, his father. The correction has been made.