Dawgs top Rockets, 58-53

Just back from a good win for the boys team over the Raritan Rockets.  By no means is Raritan a Top 10 team, but according to Coach Young, they have already equaled their win total from last year, meaning that they are much improved.  I’m glad to see the boys back above .500; after watching Rutgers choke away a double-digit lead at Cincinnati the other night, I am desperate to root for a winner.  With that in mind, here are some thoughts from the game.

– At this point, I am most interested to see if this team can build off of its victories.  After the Manasquan game last week, players and coaches alike cited a pivotal team meeting and great practices as the reasons they were able to rebound so quickly from an awful loss to Red Bank Catholic to beat the then No. 4 Warriors.  The team played well against St. Anthony’s on Saturday, before falling apart again on Tuesday night, losing by 1 to St. John Vianney.  Back to Square 1.  In our interview with Coach Young after the game (click here to listen to the full version), he said that the team had two more great practices which got them back on track after the loss to the Lancers.  There are only so many times you can regroup, however, and at some point, this team will have to build on its wins and avoid those disappointing losses.  When asked what it will take to sustain success, Young’s answer was rather simple: “The 5 seniors.  It’s really up to them; they have to go out and want to win.”  I am still in wait-and-see mode, but with some of the changes in style that I’ve noticed (see below), I’m optimistic.

– The biggest change that I saw out of this team on Friday night was a new found balance in the offensive attack.  Instead of relying on Matt Blumel’s long range game for large sums of points, I saw everyone on the court getting involved on offense.  The numbers only add to this assertion, the scoring breakdown went like this:

Matt Blumel: 14
Dean Wise: 11
Justin Hook: 10
Lucas Glass: 6
Jack Wise: 4
Jordan Iarussi: 4
Christian Puma: 3
Kevin Alter: 2
James LeCardi: 2
Jimmy Cranwell: 1

Could you ask for a more balanced effort than that? I think not.  It is plainly obvious that this team is at its best when the shots are coming from everywhere, bringing me to my next point.

– I’d like to applaud Coach Young for getting the ball down low more often.  Earlier in the year, I wrote that I thought a big part of the team’s offensive struggles was the under-utilization of one of the top low-post tandems in the Shore Conference.  Against Raritan, I saw a renewed commitment to getting the ball  to big men Justin Hook and Dean Wise.  What’s more, I loved what I saw once those two received the ball.  They hesitated, felt their man, and looked for the post-move opportunity.  If it was there, they executed, and if not, they kicked it out.  Hook and Wise were great against the Rockets, and I hope that they continue to be focal points within the offense.

Alright, that’s enough out of me.  See ya’ll at Convention Hall tomorrow for the Battle on the Boardwalk.  Tip off is at 1:00 PM and the boys will be taking on the Blue Bishops of Asbury Park.

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