NOTHING BUT NET — Springville’s Kevin Zabawa looks to score against Depew. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville-Griffith Institute boys varsity basketball team fell to Depew on Dec. 17. The host Wildcats came out on a 15-5 run, to open the game, and wouldn’t look back from there, to win the contest 66-34. Springville took on Depew after having just one practice in seven days, due to snow days and cancellations.
“I think the biggest effect of the [time] off was certainly the shape we were in,” said Springville coach Frank Noeson. “Our guys who normally can go all day looked gassed early.”
Springville came out defensively in a 2-3 zone and Depew made them pay, knocking down six 3-pointers in the first half, including two, late in the second quarter, that silenced a brief Springville run. Collin Gemerek led Depew with 18 points, 9 of which came from behind the arc.
Noeson said that Springville went zone, to try and contain Depew senior center Mike Lamb, who comes in at 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 305 pounds.
“We came into the game looking to keep the ball on the outside and Lamb out of the scorebook,” said Noeson. “They knocked down their outside shots and we didn’t. Depew is a big, athletic team. They spread you out, and we weren’t fast enough, closing out on perimeter shooters.”
Depew lost the first two games of their season, to Cheektowaga and Liverpool, in part because nine of the team’s 13 players were playing in the New York state football playoffs, causing them to miss the first two weeks of basketball practice. Depew coach Larry Jones said that his team is finally getting up to speed.
“We haven’t been shooting the ball well, because of just practice with our football kids, but we’re getting up to speed” said Jones. “We had a nice day, shooting against their zone. Basically, against the zone, we want to have two of three passes. If you have a good look, put it up and we’ll go offensive rebound. If we miss it, we’re going after it. Sometimes, when you do that, we’ll feel a little [more] free and we’ll stroke it. It wasn’t the most aggressive zone and it gave us some good looks, after a few passes.”
Lamb finished the night with 10 points, but had just 2 field goals, in the first half.
“Early on, Bob Fisher and Kevin Zabawa did a nice job of fronting Lamb, in our 2-3 zone,” said Noeson. “The kid is 6-foot-6, 305. We’ve got two kids that are 6’5”, that are slightly over 305, together. Bob is a real physical player. He frustrated Lamb, early.”
Derrick Sekuterski, an All-Western New York Honorable Mention last season, helped Depew close the first half on a 14-0 run. Sekuterski hit two 3-pointers and had 7 points, down the stretch. Depew forced 20-plus turnovers, using their full-court and half-court pressure. Aggressive on-ball defense and trapping is something that Jones emphasizes, to his team.
“I thought our pressure defensively was a lot better, tonight,” said Jones. “We just try to force them to go opposite to where they are comfortable and force them into a trap. We weren’t actively trying to go get them, but more of ‘let’s put pressure on them and see what happens.’”
“They change their full-court pressure almost every time, down the floor,” said Noeson, of Depew. “Our big guys were flashing to help, but then weren’t releasing back out, as the ball advanced. We got bunched up and way too close to each other, several times. That, in addition to horrible ball movement, led to easy traps. We ended up right where they wanted us. Even when we broke the pressure and attacked, we couldn’t score.”
Greg Beatty paced Springville with 10 points, including two 3-pointers. Nate Wolcott chipped in with 6 points, while Kevin Zabawa finished with 4 points.
Springville looked to rebound from the loss against Maryvale on Dec. 19.