KEEP AWAY — The S-GI junior varsity team’s Kyle Warner goes up for a pass during the team’s game against Cheektowaga Central School. Photo by Leo Mrugala.
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville-Griffith Institute junior varsity boys basketball team opened its season on Friday, Dec. 14, against Cheektowaga Central School and was defeated by a score of 42 – 35.
S-GI trailed 7 – 4, after the first quarter, but Cheektowaga outscored the Griffs 19 – 6, in the second quarter, to take a 26 – 10 lead into halftime.
Coach Ed Bates said that starting slow has been a recent problem for his team. “I was really pleased with the effort put forth by the boys,” he said. “They’re a great group of kids, but can be a little tentative, at times. We haven’t been able to start strong, in any of our scrimmages, thus far, and that was certainly the case on Friday.”
The Griffs came out flying, in the third quarter, using a full court press defense that got them back into the game, by outscoring Cheektowaga 17 – 10 in the quarter. The full court press created turnovers and led to fast break points for S-GI.
Bates said he needed to make a change, during halftime. “At the half, I tried to amp a little energy by pressing and I only wish I would’ve done it earlier, in the game. The press created turnovers and it also got us to the free throw line, where we went 11 for 14, as a team. It also made us more confident and cohesive, in our half court offense.”
S-GI outscored Cheektowaga 8 – 6, in the final quarter, but could not take the lead and was defeated. Sophomore Chuck Foors led the team in scoring, with 9 points, while Devin Pazzuti scored 8. Kyle Warner also scored 8 points and freshman Dalton Nelson chipped in with 4.
Bates said he liked what Pazzuti and Nelson showed him, in the game. “Devin was put in a position he has never been in before, due to foul trouble, and he played great. He was working very hard on weak side rebounding. Dalton did a great job of initiating the press and ran the zone offense well, too.
“He’s a very coachable kid and when you tell him something once, he gets it.”
The Griffs took on Lake Shore on Dec. 18, and were defeated by a score of 40 – 36. Bates said he was pleased with the effort and thinks his team is making progress.
“Overall, we played really well, but just had a rough second quarter. We could easily be 2 – 0, instead of 0 – 2. I’m really pleased with how we’ve handled things and I think we’re improving, each game.”
Chuck Foors had 7 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, while Dalton Nelson led the team in scoring, with 8 points.
S-GI were back in action on Thursday, Dec. 20, hosting Depew Central School.