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Crier Article 12/23

Posted Thursday, December 23, 2010 by Website Admin

L-S boys basketball off to great start

By Alex Greenberg/Sports Correspondent
Posted Dec 21, 2010 @ 04:34 PM
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The Lincoln-Sudbury boys basketball team could not have asked for a better start to its 2010-2011 basketball season. Coach Patrick Callahan and crew are 2-0 after wins over the Weston Wildcats on Tuesday, Dec. 14 and the Catholic Memorial Knights on Saturday.
Before the season even began the electric buzz of a promising new season was in the air. After tryouts, the Warriors spent a weekend in the wilderness at Camp Wing in Duxbury. The team stayed together in an old style log cabin while they participated in numerous team building activities. Of course the weekend was not all fun and games, the players woke up at 4:45 every morning for a refreshing six-mile run through the woods.
Callahan called the retreat: ``A great team bonding experience.'' Combined with five scrimmages against other local competitors, the Warriors had a great preseason that definitely prepared them for the season tip-off.
The preparation paid off in the Warriors' first game on the road against Weston. L-S came out with intensity that would lead one to believe the Warriors were playing a playoff game, not the first game of the regular season. The Warriors' high intensity fueled their 2-3 zone as it stifled the Wildcats for the entire game. Seniors Denny Cakert and Geoff Mishkin anchored a zone defense that held Weston to eight points in the first half. L-S's defense even held Weston scoreless for the entire second quarter.
After the game Cakert praised the defense: ``Our defense created a lot of energy tonight. That energy fueled the entire team, especially the offense.''
Cakert was right on with his analysis. The Warriors first half was defined by two early baskets: a lay up from senior Dominic Douglass right off the tip, and a dunk in transition by senior John Swords. These two plays got the L-S bench on its feet as the tone was set for the rest of the game.
Callahan was definitely proud of his team's intensity after the game: `` These guys are a different team when we don’t play with energy. The top things we were talking about were being vocal, active, and playing with energy.''
Callahan went on to credit the Warriors 21-point halftime lead to their high energy play style; ``We know we are athletic but energy knocks other teams out of the game early.''
In the end, it was an impressive but not perfect 55-27 L-S win over Weston.
Callahan knew his team played well, but he also knew it would need to play better to ensure a win against Catholic Memorial.
``Anything we did well tonight we have to do excellent on Saturday,'' he said. ``We need to knock down shots when we have the chance. We didn't shoot well tonight. We had open looks that we didn't knock down. We need to shoot well to beat great teams.''
Originally it appeared as if the Catholic Memorial Knights had heeded Callahan's words of knocking down shots. L-S got off to a rocky start on its home court as the Knights simply out shot the Warriors zone.
Hustle plays were key to keeping L-S in the game during a sloppily paced first half. Junior Mario Payne was constantly on the floor diving for balls and setting up scoring opportunities for the Warriors.
L-S had a tough time breaking Catholic Memorial's press, which contributed to the hectic, runaway-train pace of the first half.
At the halfway mark, Callahan's crew was lucky to be tied at 22, barely surviving the barrage of 3-pointers raining down on them.
The second half was a different look from L-S. The press break was more effective thanks to some great passing from Swords and fellow senior Mitch Perez. The newly found ability to successfully break the press gave the Warriors the opportunity to work their offense and pass the ball down low to Swords.
When Swords got the ball it did not matter if he made his first shot, he was consistently getting his own rebounds and scoring on his second and third attempts. Even when Swords was not the one shooting, he was still the one pulling down the rebound, and scoring the put back.
Swords finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds which he credited to hard work and astronomy.
``I'd been working with Coach Rob all week on using my size against a thick team like these guys,'' Swords said. ``It also helped us that Saturn and Jupiter are perfectly aligned tonight.''
On the defensive side of the ball, senior Brandon Donald was a spark the entire second half. His steals set up numerous fast breaks and easy opportunities for other members of the team. Donald knew he had to be unselfish on the court, especially after a steal; ``I knew I had to think not about scoring, but about the team. When I think like that the only thing left is to give it all you got.''
In the end, some clutch threes from Cakert and Perez were all the Warriors needed to slay the Knights with a 62-46 victory.
Looking ahead to L-S's next game against Westford Academy, L-S will need some similar game play from its first two games to emerge triumphant. And it definitely would not hurt if the planets and stars were on the Warriors' side.

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