Week in Review from Geneseo boys' basketball Coach
Coming off a relatively successful Christmas tournament in DeKalb where the Maple Leafs went 3-1 and captured a Consolation Championship title, there were some underlying vibes of optimism heading into January.
However, those good vibes were at least temporarily replaced with some frustration as Geneseo dropped a pair of games this last week at Dixon and at home to Sterling.
GENESEO VS. DIXON 51-39
“The game at Dixon was just not fun to watch for anyone,” Geneseo Head Coach Brad Storm said. “There was a lack of flow, an overall lack of energy at least at the level you’d hope. Maybe both teams were a bit flat coming off Christmas break and starting school again. I don’t know. But I do know, and our guys know, that was a winnable game that we let get away.”
“You can look at the score and say we played decent defense in only giving up 51 points,” Storm said. “But, really, our defense wasn’t very good. We didn’t communicate with each other, we weren’t in help side position, we put teammates in the need to help way too much, and we gave them too many open shots early.”
Geneseo and Dixon both hit shots early. And, the game was close with the Dukes taking a 15-11 lead after the first…”We gave up two wide open 3-pointers and gave them five points on free throws in that first quarter just on sub-par defense and not communicating,” Coach Storm said. “That’s a tough way to win, when you not only have to compete against the other team, but against yourselves not doing what you can to be a defensive unit.”
The Leafs cut into the lead slightly to trail by 3 points (26-23) at the half. Bristol Lewis had 10 of his game high 23 points in the first quarter and Thomas Henson had all nine of his points in those first 16 minutes.
“I tend to focus on the defense because that should be more controllable night in and night out, but our defense was not very good either,” Storm said. “We made some really poor decisions against some pressure that wasn’t really very intense. We talked about how goo they were at deflecting passes and anticipating passes, but we had several guys who just didn’t protect the ball and make better decisions. And, when we did handle the pressure, we struggled to score.”
Geneseo had just three players score in the game – Lewis had 23, Henson, 9, and Nathan VanDeWoestyne, 7.
“Geneseo shot 15-37 from the floor, including just 4-19 from beyond the arc. Dixon was 18-39, including 4-13 from deep,” Storm added…”We did shoot from the free throw line, going 5-5. The only problem was we only shot five. We weren’t very aggressive offensively vs. their defense and we settled for shots that you normally won’t get fouled on…We haven’t had enough guys put in enough time over the off-seasons to be really good perimeter shooters. We are only shooting 26.7 percent as a team from behind the arc. That is poor, but we tend to hunt for those shots anyway. Bristol is at 36.5 percent
which is pretty solid. But we have nobody else even at 30 percent. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t shoot three-pointers; it means we should shoot certain ones. Ones that come from the flow of our offense, after running crisp offense, and that are inside-out attempts where the defense is having to close out on us. But, if we don’t execute the offense well, we aren’t going to get those shots that we do want.”
GENESEO VS STERLING 66-40
Sterling came out on fire against the Leafs in the Geneseo High School gym on Friday, Jan. 7. The Warriors knocked down their first five shots and eight of their first 10. Geneseo on the other hand, struggled to get some good looks to go down.
The score was 21-8 at the end of the first quarter, in favor of Sterling.
“Before the game, their coach made a comment about them never being able to shoot well in our gym,” Coach Storm said. “He can’t make that comment anymore. I don’t know if I’ve seen a team, in a very long time, start out so well on shots form all over the court.”
While Geneseo couldn’t get a perimeter shot to fall in the quarter, Sterling knocked down five 3-pointers and three two-point buckets to take control.
The Maple Leafs had two-point baskets from Anthony Pierce, Nathan VanDeWoestyne and Thomas Henson along with two free throws from VanDeWoestyne.
“I was looking for a better response from our guys after that run,” Storm said. “When there is adversity, you want to recover from it. But, recovery can only happen if you react well to the situation. We didn’t respond very well. I thought we looked defeated way too early…I think we tried some in the second quarter to change things, but when we basically just played them even, I didn’t see the fight in the eyes I was hoping to see.”
The Maple Leafs best scoring quarter was the second quarter where they put up 15 points, six of those from Tayt Hager on two 3-pointers, five points from Henson and four points from Bristol Lewis.
Any thought of a comeback in the third quarter was dashed as Sterling outscored Geneseo 20-7 to take a 58-30 lead into the fourth quarter.
“I didn’t have a good feeling coming out of the locker room at halftime,” Coach Storm said. “I just didn’t see the fight in them. They seemed to know what they needed to do, but the fight to go out and do it wasn’t there. And Sterling wasn’t going to give us any space to feel like we could. They came out with the same intensity that they started the game with.”
Nathan VanDeWoestyne led the Maple Leafs in scoring with 10 points. Tayt Hager and Bristol Lewis each had nine points. Thomas Henson finished with seven points, Mason Lovig and Anthony Pierce each had a bucket and Andrew Cotty added one free throw.
“The biggest difference really wasn’t how t hey shot better than us, it was more of them getting a lot more attempts than us and a lot better quality of shots,” Storm said. “We turned it over way too many times which led to easy attempts for them. They got two shots for every one we took. They had twice as many attempts than we did….We basically let tem do to us what they wanted. That is way more frustrating than having a team shoot well.”
Storm said teams have long since figured out that “if we don’t run our offense, we don’t’ have other guys who can create scoring opportunities besides Bristol. So, they limit him as much as they can with tough defense, and then see if our other players can
step up and score. Without scoring due to our offense, we have proven that we struggle to score. The ability to just create as players isn’t there, so we have to create through offensive execution and we aren’t doing that very well. That’s on me as a coach. I need to find ways to convince them that in order for some of them to be effective offensively, we need to use the offense as an aid, not fight it. We will keep working at getting better with ball security and offensive execution.”