Rock  and roll. Sullivan West’s Eric McBride concentrates on driving to the paint, as Eldred’s defensemen Dylan Jennings, John McGarry and Jordan Reed try to cut him off at the pass.

A couple of building years

 “It was a tough loss, but we’re getting better every game”  —Eldred’s Patrick Kinney

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — The 2018-2019 boys’ varsity basketball season for Sullivan West (3-5) and their rivals from Eldred (0-5) could by all accounts be summed up in one word, and that is “building,” for the present with an eye on the future.

On Thursday, January 10, the home team Bulldogs of Sullivan West hosted the Eldred Yellowjackets, and while the Dawgs won hands-down 80-43, the visitors showed spurts on energy at times, never saying die until the final buzzer.

The final outcome was never really in doubt, as Sullivan West took a 21-point lead (41-20) into the locker room at the half, and outscored the Jackets in every period of competition: 24-10, 17-10, 20-8 and 19-15.

While Eldred is still searching for their first victory of the year and the Bulldogs are trailing a bit in the win/loss column, the coaches and players noted areas of improvement across the board, although both squads need to work out a few kinks in their respective game of hoops.

Jason Jennings, Eldred’s first-year coach of the boy’s varsity basketball team said of the disappointing defeat, “Tonight was a night where if anything could go wrong it did… we get down by ten, and instead of being down, we need to fight back,”

“We’re backing down from every challenge, every fight… we need to keep pushing, testing and working harder…,” noting that it’s a tough road to hoe when you’re down 20 to 30 points.

That’s a hell of a lot of points to make up, no matter how good you are, or hope to be.

Jennings played the game of varsity hoops for three years at The Home of the Yellowjackets under the watchful tutorage of coaches Charlie Donnelly and J.J. Gass before returning to his high school alma mater as a mathematics teacher.

The Eldred team is captained by seniors Patrick Kinney and Chett Kelty, and Jennings looks to them for leadership on the hardwood floor.

“It was a tough loss, but we’re getting better every game,” said 17-year old Kinney.

According to Eldred’s center, the Yellowjackets have improved “every game on defense and offense,” adding, “tonight was one of our lapses,”

“We definitely want to get that first win soon, put points on the board, and play a full game… things will look up from here, and we’re definitely going to get better,” added Kinney.

Kelty, a shooting guard for Eldred, said that while it “wasn’t our best game, I saw some improvement out there…,”

Ah, the optimism of youth, and that ‘some’ is a whole lot better than none.

Top guns for Sullivan West: Gabe Campanelli (20 points, 6 rebounds), Kyle Reimer (16 points including 4 ‘three’s), Cody Powell (11 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds and a ‘three’), David Rivas (9 points, all ‘three’s), and Eric McBride and Nick Dwortesky each posted a ‘three’ from outside the arc.

Eldred: Dylan Jennings (13 points including a ‘three’), Patrick Kinney (13 points), while Christian Schadt and Jordan Reed each contributed a ‘three’.

Stats from the FTL: SW 10/14 (71%), ECS 8/15 (53%).

Sullivan West’s helmsman of hoops John Meyer said, “We’ve got to keep building… we’ve got to keep winning games like this and building on it… the young guys feeling good, that’s the confidence they have to play with against all competition,”

“Every win matters, we’ve got to win every game, and the key is to play with confidence, making our shots…,”

Meyer noted that he, along with most coaches, looks to his cadre of seniors to serve in leadership roles for the entire team, setting the example for good sportsmanship and a high level of play.

“We run things through Kyle (Reimer),” he said of one of his senior captains.

Cody Powell, a sophomore point guard, said a team goal is getting to sectionals “especially for the seniors,” making up for missing the mark last year “by a couple of games,”

“Cody is getting better every game… he made some good decisions tonight, it was the best game he’s had,” said Meyer.

Both teams played with their hearts on their sleeves, and hopefully learned that whatever score was eventually posted in the record book, if you want to play like a champion, you never let up on the gas until the checkered flag.

 

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