Junior Hawks building on experience
By Darren Lum
It’s all coming together said the junior Red Hawks basketball coach Paul Longo following a competitive game against the visiting Lindsay Collegiate Vocational Institute Spartans on Wednesday, Dec. 16 in Haliburton.
Although the red and white fell short of beating the Spartans, who held off a surging Hawks team 49-42 after they built an insurmountable 24-9 lead at the half, there were plenty of positives.
Longo said the slow start was part of the defensive scheme – half zone and half man-to-man coverage – the Spartans were playing with, which threw off the Hawks.
By the second half Longo made an adjustment, countering with an offence that used a flood to one side with a two guard front that enabled a player to come to the weak side for a scoring chance.
The Hawks executed the offence and surged in the second half, scoring 79 per cent of their game total. Longo was proud of how his team outscored the Spartans 33-25 despite the eventual loss.
He credited his son, point guard Sam Longo, with being able to generate ball movement and appreciated his team’s shooting efficiency on the open looks at the basket generated.
“Sam did a great job distributing the ball so that was the key, getting the ball into our guys and moving the ball around and getting the zone moving and opening up for our shots. The shots were going in ... when you’re taking good shots they might go in – I mean square to the hoop, good form and time to shoot. They should go in,” he said.
Sam led all players with 17 points for the game, all of them coming in the second half. He was followed closely by teammate Brandon Verstege, who also scored the bulk of the second half points with 11 points and 13 in the game.
Coming into the game, the Spartans were 3-1 in Kawartha West High School League play. The Hawks are winless in Kawartha West this season.
The last four games, which includes a tournament win and a six-point loss to Fenelon Falls, there has been noticeable quality to the team’s play, Longo said.
“We’re getting there. We’re seeing good progress from the guys. We’re really feeling good about after Christmas how things are going to shape up,” he said.