DRIVE IT DOWN — West Valley’s Austin Wierzba controls his lane, during the Forestville contest. Photos by Dave DeLuca.
WEST VALLEY — The West Valley boys varsity basketball team fell to division-leading Forestville 64-31 on Jan. 24. West Valley got a heavy dose of Forestville’s prolific offense, when the visiting Hornets started the game on a 14-0 run and took a 20-6 lead, after one quarter.
“Our rotation was very poor,” said West Valley coach Jason Kearney about his team’s defense, early in the game. “It’s not like we were doing things wrong on our rotations; we were just too slow getting there. We weren’t dropping fast enough and we weren’t stepping up to the cutters. We just weren’t getting in position in time. That killed us, the entire game. It was definitely more noticeable, earlier on.”
In league games, Forestville is averaging 61 points per contest and improved to 4-0 in league standings, with the win. Junior forward Caleb Makuch poured in 19 points, to lead Forestville. West Valley didn’t have an answer for the 6-foot-3 Makuch, who scored 8 of his 9 field goals from inside the paint.
“He’s aggressive; he had 10 rebounds and a lot of them came on offensive rebounds,” said Kearney, of Makuch’s presence. “Especially late in the third, early the forth, he got aggressive on the offensive glass and we just don’t have the size to compete with that.”
Forestville used its size to block 11 shots, with eight rejections coming from Wayne Hartloff. Despite getting outmanned inside, Kearney said he liked the effort his team showed.
“For the most part, we showed some grit and showed the passion that I feel like we’ve been missing for awhile,” he said. “That’s good to see. A lot of the things we’re making mistakes on are correctable; they are little things and manageable adjustments that we can make, going forward, in the second half of our league schedule.”
Leading the Wildcats in scoring was Jesse Nelson, with 12 points. Nelson wasn’t in the starting lineup in the beginning of the season, but has worked his way into a starting role, of late.
“I was really impressed,” said Kearney, of Nelson’s performance against Forestville.
“Earlier on, I got on him for not rotating well and not holding onto the ball. I told him, ‘You could have double-digit points, if you hold onto the ball. That’s all you have to do.’ Then, he went and defensively, was rotating much better. He got some steals, got some rebounds and offensively, he was getting in position and once he caught it, he was making his shots. That’s all we were asking for and he did that. He really stepped up.”
Emil Erlandson scored 9 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out seven assists.
West Valley traveled to Franklinville on Jan. 31.