Monthly Archives: December 2015

Rootstown Vs. Crestwood

The game between Crestwood and Rootstown was a lot more entertaining then the final score proved to be. There were several key in-game battles that provided fans with a lot of excitement. Ultimately it was Crestwood winning 79-43 over Rootstown. The first good battle was between the guards. For Crestwood it was Senior Point Guard Jacob Krupp (16 pts, 4 rbs, 6 asts) who lead his team like a true captain, and Caleb Kaut (23 pts, 3 rbs, 10-14 FTs) who gave his school all he had. The next battle was between a pair of big men. Center Nathan Moore (2 pts, 8 rbs, 2 blks) put up a fight in the paint, while Junior Forward Jordan Fabry (35 pts, 12 rbs, 2 asts) went off, scoring from every possible location on the floor.

The game started with the battle of the guards. Both team started out slow, except for Krupp who came out like a man on a mission.

“Krupp is one of our leaders for a reason, it’s why we voted him Captain.” Coach Jakacki said of his Senior Guard, “He’s has a knack for making play. He was the one who settled us down…the fact that he scored nine points and distributed the ball the way he did really helped us.”

While Rootstown was busy turning the ball over 6 times in a row to start of, Krupp scored his teams first 9 points. Krupp’s first score came off of a Fabry steal at the 6:00 mark. Fabry found Krupp on the fast break and Krupp laid it in perfectly. All of Krupps scores were inside the arc. He surprisingly struggled from the three point line all game, only hitting on one in the second half. Kaut was finally able to get Rootstown on the board scoring five straight himself, including a three pointer. Kaut drove the ball well inside all game long, and played a fine game, but he had zero help from an offensive standpoint. It looked as if Rootstown had a lack of energy, but Coach Beshara described it a different way, saying

“I wouldn’t call it lack of energy, it was clearly nervous energy which isn’t very constructive. We’re playing a lot of young players now, and that nervous energy leads to a lot of turnovers.” I will not say Coach Beshara is wrong, I just felt that they looked sluggish with their decision making and movement on offense. Coach Beshara obviously knows his team better than I do, so I can’t say for sure whether it was a lack of energy or nervous energy, whatever it was it was bad. Two of Rootstown’s opening six turnovers were back court violations.

But, why keep focusing on the bad, right? Let’s get back to the good parts of the game.

Fabry scored off an easy steal while the Rovers were trying to simply inbound the ball at the beginning of the second, making the score 15-7. Rootstown made a little bit of a run after that, highlighted by a Kaut and-1 with 5:16 left to make the score 13-19, Red Devils. Kaut could not keep the Rovers in it himself for long though. Fabry hit one of his several threes with 2:23 left to extend the Red Devils score to ten, 27-17. The Red Devils went into the half leading 32-23.

It should be noted that there was a bit of a scary situation at the end of the first half when Krupp took a hard fall, smacking his face off the floor. He ran of the court immediately, and left a long trail of blood that took several minutes to clean up. Krupp came back out after half time and played well for his team. He was not nearly as effective, but did hit his only three and played good defense.

The second half was dedicated to one man, and one man only. Even though he’s only a high school kid I say a man because he played like it. Jordan Fabry scored 21 of his 35 points in the second half. His best shots of the night were when he would catch the ball along the side line with his back to the basket. Fabry would take two to three dribbles, backing down his man, and would whip his body around and shoot a soft fade. He made almost every fade on the block he took. Eventually he got to the point where he was firing up threes like it was nobodies business. But not only was he drilling threes, and fade away jumpers, he was crashing the boards regularly. He finished with 12 of them, a lot of them offensive boards.

“We know he’s capable of doing that any given night.” Coach Jakacki said of Fabry’s huge night, “He’s a special player. Teams know he’ll be our focal point, but you can’t sleep on our other guys. We’re really proud of his effort, he hit the boards well with 12, and played an amazing game.”

No doubt we will look forward to seeing what Fabry and Krupp do in the future. As for Rootstown the question is, can they can’t anyone to help out Kaut?

Field Vs. Coventry

The Field Falcons hosted the Coventry Comets in a game that many thought wouldn’t be competitive. I mean, let’s be honest, the Comets are on another level right now. With players like Dustin Burkhart (13 pts, 4 rbs, 4 stls), Conner Wess (14 pts, 8 rbs, 2 asts), and DuVale Patterson (6 pts, 3 rbs, 6 asts) roaming around the perimeter you know you’re set there. On top of that the Comets have an incredible big man in Bryce Hargrove (23 pts, 11 rbs, 1 blk) dominating the paint on a game to game basis. All of this is a recipe for disaster for opposing teams. That opponent on Tuesday was the Field Falcons. Coach Tyler Boyle and the Falcons were tasked with trying to defend all of these weapons, in addition to trying to score on them.

“They have a really good team, with a lot of really good players.” Coach Boyle said after the game, “Our plan was to try and take (Conner) Wess out of the game offensively and living with the outcome.”

The Falcons plan worked in the first half, although Coventry got out to a hot start. On the opening possession Dustin Burkhart stole the ball and took it down the court, scoring on a monster dunk with two Falcon defenders draped all over him. There was surprisingly no foul call on the play. I say that because the officials seemed to be jumpy with the whistle. Not saying that both teams didn’t play sloppy basketball at times, but there were 10 total fouls, five on each team, called in the first quarter alone. Thankfully that calmed down during the rest of the game, but it did hurt the overall product in the first.

Field failed to score on their next possession and Coventry took it back down the court. They set up in their half court offense and gave Hargrove the ball in the post. It should be noted that Falcon Center Garrett Moore played as good a defensive game against Hargrove all night, but it just wasn’t enough. Hargrove is on another level at this point in his high school basketball career. Hargrove backed him down and pump faked Moore into a foul. Hargrove finished nicely and got the and-one. He failed to make the free throw, but they still lead 4-0. Senior Guard Luke Petelin finally responded for the Falcons at the 5:36 mark with a deep bank three pointer from the top of the arc to make it 4-3 Coventry. Because of the foul calls and sloppy play by Coventry, Field was able to stay in the game early, but Coventry still lead 13-11 after one.

DuVale Patterson started the second quarter with a three pointer to give his team the 16-11 lead, but Field responded quickly with a three from the right corner by Colman Begue (7 pts, 4 rbs) making the score 16-14 Coventry. Later on in the second Trevon Ridgell (11 pts, 5 rbs, 4 asts) took a missed Coventry shot and called his own number on the fast break and scores on a good looking layup to take the 19-16 lead with 5:00 to go in the half. The Falcons rode that lead all the way to halftime where they lead 27-23. Coventry fans were in disbelief of how poorly their team was playing.

Coventry struggled with turnovers and settled for outside shots often. Those perimeter players mentioned earlier are great weapons to have, but in order to get good open looks you have to attack and use pick-and-rolls once in a while. They seemed to be content swinging the ball around the three point line and taking whatever shot got open the fastest instead of forcing the defense to move. Field took advantage of the Comets lazy play and forced a lot of tough shots.

“They played us in a junk defense.” Coach Wess said after the game “We needed to hit shots to get them out of that. Burkhart made a few shots, DuVale Patterson hit a few threes that really helped us. Once we got them to go man to man we knew we could pretty much take over.” The “junk” defense Coach Wess talked about was the 2-3 zone the Falcons played, they had to players guarding the top of the perimeter, one players in the paint and two on the corners. They also used a lot of double teams and traps. It worked well in the first half when the shots weren’t falling, but when the Comets were hitting perimeter shots with ease in the second half it became a lot harder to only have two players on the perimeter.

The Falcons moved the ball well in the half court offense early on in the second half. They worked the ball inside to Garrett Moore often and he would kick it out to his snipers, specifically Guard Curtis Cutlip (14 pts, 2 asts) who was on fire in the second half. He and Moore were the main reasons the Falcons stayed in the game as long as they did.

The Comets were able to ride Hargrove late in the third and for most of the fourth, winning 69-52.

One last moment I enjoyed from the game was something that happened in the third quarter. Two players, a Falcon player and a Comet player, got into a small skirmish while fighting for a loose ball. The situation would normally warrant double ejections and the game would move on, but the situation would be very tense. The head referee took another course of action. Instead of doing what ever other ref would do throughout all three levels, from pros, to college, to other high school refs, he waited a few seconds and brought the two players face to face. He took a moment to speak to the two kids and had them shake hands before moving on with the game, and waved off the play. Many parents and die hard fans were unimpressed and booed, but as a neutral observer I enjoyed the teaching moment. Instead of punishing the kids the ref taught them that it’s ok to show passion, but at the end of the day you have to shake hands and move on.

Ravenna Vs. Woodridge

A bewildered Coach Gopp (Ravens, 0-2) looked at me after the game. The game had long ended, the opposition had filed out and his team had scattered itself. I had asked the first year Ravens head coach about what his vision for the team was, what his game plan was, and how he felt his team accomplished its goals. He looked as if he was about to answer, then paused, before saying “I don’t feel like we come in ready to play, it’s unfortunate because we work, and work, and work, on things and nobody knows what they’re doing, except for a few.” Coach Gopp could not be more right than that. His team simply did not come out ready to play against the Bulldogs. They looked like a rusty JV team going against a Varsity team that was clicking all night.

The Ravens were beat in almost every possible way. Whether it was on the glass, passing the ball, in the turnover game, and in the end it was on the score board. Woodridge wound up beating the Ravens 62-40 in a game that got out of hand just minutes in. The Bulldogs shot out to an 11-0 run to start the game, lead by starting Point Guard Preston Clark who had three assists and a bucket early (6 pts 2 rbs 3 ast). The Ravens first bucket came on a three point shot by Forward Brady Starkey at the 5:58 mark to make it 3-11. The Bulldogs marched to the free throw line during the first quarter, going 6-8 at the line. The Ravens committed many unnecessary, and, to be quite honest, dumb fouls. A huge part of the Bulldogs early offense was Guard Keaon Potts (9 pts 2 rbs 2 ast) who did most of his damage in the first. The Bulldogs wound up closing out the first quarter with a big lead, 24-9, and never looked back.

 

The second quarter was more of the same. The Bulldogs had more fight in them, and as coach Gopp said afterwards the Ravens didn’t come ready to play. At the 6:47 mark Forward Marlon King scored on an and-one after snagging an offensive rebound. He missed the free throw, but at that point it didn’t matter. It was clearly visible that the Ravens patience was wearing thin. Their teamwork broke down on offense, their defensive rotations got lazy, and they committed a lot of sloppy fouls. The Bulldogs took a 39-16 lead into the locker room.

Some interesting half time stats were:

Mason Lydic (15 pts 7 rbs 2 ast) was a force for the Bulldogs, especially on the glass. Three of his seven rebounds on the game were offensive.

Woodridge pounded Ravenna on the glass in the first half. They had a 26-14 advantage at the mid-way mark. Winning the rebounding battle by 12 at the end of a game is a huge feat, but beating a team by 12 at the half? That is what you would call domination.

Ravenna lead the game in turnovers in the first half with 13 to the Bulldogs 8. Double digit turnovers in a half makes it extremely difficult on any team to stay in it.

There weren’t many highlight plays in the second half. Mason Lydic started the third off with a three pointer making the score 42-16. Woodridge continued to play passing lanes, crash the boards, and get solid shots up, while on the other side the Ravens looked like a lost team at times.

I must give some credit to the Ravens. Even though they had abandoned their team efforts for a time, they were able to spark themselves while playing “Stats ball” towards the end of the third and start of the fourth. Kevin Jenkins played a good ball game, scoring 13 points along with 3 boards and 2 assists.

The Bulldogs coasted to victory in the fourth quarter and wound up beating the Ravens 62-40. After the game Coach Blevins talked about his Bulldogs, saying “We’re trying to limit our mistakes, trying to execute.” Coach Blevins talked about how it was nice to be able to play certain players that he wouldn’t have normally played “It’s tough being the 11th or 12th guy on the bench. You do the same amount of work as everyone else with a lot less reward. When you have nights like tonight and you can get guys some extra playing time it’s nice.” Coach also talked about his top scorer, Mason Lydic, saying “He’s a solid guy. I know a lot of people would never be able to say he’s a Sophomore. He’s a very instinctive player, probably the most instinctive player I’ve seen in a while.”

Meanwhile, across the way Coach Gopp was singing a different tune. Instead of praising his team he had a question for them “I asked everyone on the team: Who wants to be here? It’s simple, we are not working hard enough in practice, it’s showing during the game, and we are not even working hard during the games.” That will be a point we will certainly have to pay attention to as the season goes on: Who really wants it in Ravenna?

Upcoming Basketball Season

Well PTC fans, basketball season is upon us, and what a season we have to look forward to! So many questions will be answered this season:

Will the Mogadore Wildcats be able to sustain their dominant athletic run?

Will Coventry be able to keep up their progress and challenge a team like Mogadore?

How will the Ravenna Ravens react to having a new head coach? Will they be able to make progress, or will they struggle more?

We are excited to see the answers to questions like these, and many more that will be asked this season, and we are excited to be able to figure it out with you!

For this first week I will be at Ravenna for when the Ravens take on the Bulldogs.