Weekly Feature

2018-01-11 / Sports

OP’s confidence not enough as Indian cagers move to 10-0

Going into Thursday’s game with Orchard Park, West Seneca West boys basketball coach Des Randall and his players had heard some rumblings by the Quakers that, despite their sub-.500 record, they had what it was going to take to hand the Indians their first loss of the season.

That might still be true, but that certainly wasn’t the case last week as the Indians kept their perfect record intact by posting an 83-72 victory over Orchard Park.

“Orchard Park is a good team that’s tough, scrappy, plays hard and plays great defense, and one of the things that makes them the most dangerous is that they’re confident in their abilities, and in each other,” Randall said. “A lot of the time, those are the most dangerous teams, sometimes more dangerous than the ones that have a lot of talent. But, we certainly played very well. They just kept fighting until the end, and that’s what let them cut into our lead.”

The first three quarters played out much in the way that the vast majority of West’s games have this season, with the Indians building up a mammoth advantage that has crushed the spirits of virtually all their opponents. Randall conceded that the Indians weren’t able to establish their normal rhythm due to the combined 52 fouls called on both teams throughout the contest, but even that didn’t stop the Indians from turning their 46-30 halftime lead into a 68-47 advantage heading into the final stanza.

West, which went 23-of-36 from the foul line for the game to Orchard Park’s 25-of-36 showing, did wind up getting outscored by a 25-15 margin in the final stanza, but the Quakers didn’t have enough time to make up that big a deficit – even with their never give-up determination.

“This game was actually a great experience for us,” Randall said. “I told the guys after the game that people were down because we had been winning by so much, but this was a great win for us. I’d seen them play a few times, and they’re definitely better than their record would make you believe. They’ve just had a couple of tough breaks early on; but I can say for sure that they’re going to be tough to play the second time around.

“Teams are going to be more prepared for us as we progress through the schedule and aren’t really flying under the radar, so we’ve got to be ready to perform in the close games,” Randall continued. “As a coach, I’m just very happy and pleased that we had a closer game and that we were pushed all the way through it. We needed that.’

Juston Johnson continued to make his case for consideration as one of the area’s top players, scoring a career-high 34 points to go along with his 10 rebounds. Alex Wayland chipped in with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Nate Ryniec added 14 points and five steals. Adrian Baugh contributed 10 points, five rebounds and five steals for the victors.

“Juston has been proving himself to really be falling into a rhythm to where he can do whatever we need him to offensively or defensively,” Randall said. “He’s letting the game come to him and just taking what teams give him. Orchard Park seemed to want to slow Adrian down, but if you try to take one guy away from us, we’ll show you that we’re not one-dimensional. You choose someone to take away and someone else will hurt you. It might even be two, three or even four others who will hurt you.”

West (10-0 overall, 5-0 ECIC I) returned to action Tuesday against Jamestown, but information about that contest was not available at press time. The Indians close out their week this evening against Grand Island, and then begin next week at Springville on Tuesday.

“We’ve just got to continue to stay humble and levelheaded, and continue to get better, too,” Randall said. “And now, we’ve really got to hone in on our preparation. Teams are going to be even more prepared for us, so we want to be ready for whatever teams are going to do against us. We need to be prepared for anything and everything.”

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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