Junior ballers dominate
By Darren Lum
Published Dec. 18, 2018
The junior Hawks basketball team was at its best for the Titans last week at home.
It’s too bad a large contingent of students chose to leave when they did in the first quarter because the Hawks were on fire at both ends of the floor, showing little mercy to the visiting St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School squad.
The home side exploded for a 12-0 run to start the Kawartha High School Basketball League game on Thursday, Dec. 13
In response, the Titans showed some fight and went on a 6-0 run. However that was as close as the opponents came to tying the Hawks, who used a full court press (used for the first time this season) and added 11 points against just two Titans points to end the quarter. The red and white pretty much won the game at the conclusion of the first quarter with a 23-8 lead. The Titans did improve in the second half, but their efforts were all for not as the Hawks kept up the pressure easily winning 62-28.
Hawks coach Paul Longo likes his team this season for their effort and willingness to learn.
“It’s a great group of kids and they’re really receptive to what we tell them. They’re working really hard and really starting to gel. There is very good chemistry,” he said.
Longo said coming in there was a defensive goal since the team has no problem scoring.
“It was more about can we defend and can we set a goal and keep to it? For the most part they did it,” he said.
Although the team is 2-2 on the season, he believes the team could be 3-1. He adds there is a strong veteran presence with 11 returning players to the team.
The team’s long-term goal is to be the best single A team.
“We got to take care of all of our single A games, which we’ve done so far and then use our AA and AAA games as a learning experience,” he said.
There is a hope to encourage new players to join the team next year. This spring the team will work with Grade 9s to fill the void that will be left behind the departure of the veterans.
Keys to success in junior basketball Longo said are good defence and minimize turnovers.
With just eight players, the visitors from Peterborough were up against the odds to start the game. There were more chairs than bench players for the Titans. Comparatively, the Hawks had a sea of red players with their 17 players on the other side.
This game featured strong team defence and an efficient offence by the Hawks. The lopsided win enabled the coaching staff, which includes Sam Little, Dan Lapierre and Andy Valickis, to play everybody.
Coming into the game, the Hawks lost a tight one with Lindsay Collegiate Vocational Institute 42- 38.
The team didn’t leave any doubt about victory on this day.
They had more than double the points as the Titans by efficient scoring at the rim and on the perimeter by using their spacing, lightening transition to offence off of turnovers, and applied stifling defence to negate any time for the Titans to set up plays or get any easy looks at the bucket. Coming into the game, coach Longo wanted his defence to limit the Titans to no more than 24 points. At 28 allowed points, the coach liked what he saw.
The blowout win, he said, also enabled him to get everyone some playing time. It’s a challenge with so many players. He said the players have all accepted their various roles from the main eight players down the depth chart to development players in accepting this situation.
Also, there were several strong performances such as from starting point guard Brian Kim was a monster on both ends of the court, whether scoring on fast-breaks off of steals from his aggressive defence to cause several turnovers.
The second year player hounded the Titans point guards at the point of attack. He had active hands, extending hands into dribbling lanes. Kim finished with 17 points to lead all players, including 11 points in the first quarter. Hawks centre Jaxon Gill finished with 10 points while Carson Phillips and Vikram Marathe each had five points.
The Titans’ only offensive threat was Logan Gignac, who finished with 15 points to lead his team and finish second in game scoring.
The Hawks next home game is against the Fenelon Falls Secondary School Falcons on Tuesday, Dec. 18. The Falcons will have come off a 47-37 victory over I.E. Weldon. Both Kawartha West division teams will enter play with 2-2 records. This is the first meeting between the two teams. Statistically, the Hawks have the edge. They have scored 45 more points than they’ve allowed compared to the Falcons, who have only scored nine more than their competition. Tip off is scheduled for 3 p.m. All games are subject to change without notice.