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S-GI boys junior varsity basketball returns to the court with a core team of sophomores

LET’S PLAY BALL — The Springville-Griffith Institute junior varsity team is pictured, top row, from left: Garret Frank, Kyle Warner, Pat Emmick, Kyle Crotty, Parker Rice and Johnny Domes. Bottom row: Devin Pazzuti, Dalton Nelson, Collin Dewitt, Chuck Foor, Bryce Stedman, Devin White-Kearns and Coach Ed Bates. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — Last year, the Springville-Griffith Institute boys junior varsity basketball team opened its season with five sophomores, in the starting lineup. By the season’s end, three of those starters were pulled up to play for the varsity Griffins. That move gave many of the team’s freshmen, now sophomores, the chance to see some more time on the court.

“I’d like to think we have a nice, solid core, with our sophomores,” said Coach Ed Bates. The sophomore contribution includes players Chuck Foor, Kyle Crotty, Pat Emmick, Brice Stedman and Devin Pazzuti.

Sophomore guard Crotty will be playing point guard, this season. He played behind guard Nate Wolcott and Adam Wolfley last season, but, with their move to varsity this year, Crotty will look to step into their shoes. Wolcott, now a junior, was the team’s starting point guard, last season.

Wolcott said that he has seen “great potential” in Crotty, “ever since I played with him, last year. As long as he can use his ball handling, his size and leadership, to his advantage, I believe he can make a huge difference for the JV team, this year.”

Crotty has played high school baseball since seventh grade. He spent that year, as well as his eighth grade year on the school’s junior varsity team. Last season, he was pulled up by Coach Ron Tameraz, to be a starting pitcher in the Griffin rotation. Crotty pitched and played the field, at times, and once threw a three-hitter against rival Pioneer.

He said that he now looks to continue that success, on the basketball court. “Being the point guard is going to be tough, but fun, as well, he said. “We have a great team and we can win a lot of games, this year. We just have to play together, trust each other to get back on defense and be there on offense.”

Sophomores Foor and Emmick will be post players, this season. Emmick will be the team’s primary center. Bates said that both players’ contributions have stood out to him, this season. “I’ve really been impressed by both how Chuck and Pat have played this year, thus far,” he said. “Both have strong inside games that need polish, but both have the skills to be able to dominate.”

Newcomers to the team include freshmen Kyle Warner, Collin Dewitt, Dalton Nelson and eighth grader Johnny Domes. Warner was one of the leading scorers on the modified team, last season.

Warner said that he brings more of driving game to the team, but noted that he also has a strong jump shot, as well. “The adjustment has been more of a challenge,” he said. “The tempo is faster and there is more being thrown at you, in a shorter period of time. Coach Bates has brought a lot of knowledge to the team, with his past basketball experiences.”

Taking a page from Varsity Coach Frank Noeson’s book, Bates will look to get out and run in transition. He explained that having the players “recognize transition opportunities and making good decisions” is key.

“We’d love to be a team that can utilize our athleticism, especially in transition” he said. “Sometimes, pushing the ball pushes it into trouble. If that’s the case, I’m confident we have enough half court sets to work with.”

On the defensive end, Bates said he plans to throw multiple defenses at his opponents, but primarily a man defense. Other defenses he will use in different situations will be a full court press and zone that can be either a 2 – 3 or a 1 – 3 – 1.

“We’ll play a variety of defenses given the situation,” he said. “I’d prefer to play a man defense, with pressure on the ball. Some presses and traps where we will fall into zone will be used, as well. Zone is a tough defense to play effectively. We’ll basically rely on solid man fundamental principles.”

The boys had two scrimmages, this past week, against Hamburg and Salamanca. Bates said that, now, early in the season, he is trying to decide who to play, when.

“The key right now is finding the right combinations that work at various situations,” he said. “Kids have a tough time comprehending that, as they adjust to new groups daily.”

Bates returned to coaching sports at S-GI this fall, as the assistant modified football coach. His history of coaching at S-GI began with his coaching junior varsity boys basketball 17 years ago and worked with that program for nine years. He most recently worked with the girls program, for three years.

“There’s quite a difference in the boys and girls games,” he said. “Both games have their uniqueness to them. I’d like to think I’m capable of bringing some good ideas to the boys program and, at the same time, I am willing to still learn, as well.”

Bates took over for Coach David Broom, who coached the boys to a 9 – 7 record with three players’ moving up to varsity, late in the season.

“I expect us to be competitive,” Bates explained. “Too many years, teams from other schools have come in here, thinking, ‘S-GI will be two easy wins.’ I think that both here and at the varsity level, we have athletes that’ll work hard and compete.

“Like any coach, I want us to be better in February than we were in November,” he added, “then take those improvements into the off season and either build upon them for the varsity level, or a second year on JV.”

The JV team will open the winter schedule on Dec. 6 at Holland, with a 4:30 p.m. start.
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