Junior hoopsters split a pair

Junior Hawks lose to Weldon win in Gravenhurst
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By Terrance Gavan

Hal High junior hoopsters are wink-quick and they anticipate well.
   Attributes deftly molded to the transition game.
   Guard pressures ball, guard steals ball and guard finds open man on fast break.
   Easy peasey if ya’ got da’ horses.
   Last Wednesday, in the opening game of a doubleheader at the Hawk’s Nest versus the perennially strong Weldon Wildcats, the junior Hawks dropped a very close 40-36 encounter- but they also proved they’ve got the counterpunching wherewithal to go a long way this year..
   The loss dropped the Hawks Kawartha League record to 1-4, but don’t let the paucity of that stat fool you.
   According to coach Paul Longo, the record could just as easily be 3-2.
   “We’ve had some close losses so far, and I don’t see any one team running away with it this year,” said Longo via phone on Monday evening. That knowledge has his Hawks pretty juked about the possibilities.
   The Hawks travelled to Gravenhurst for an exhibition on Friday (Dec 17) and the club won that contest 38-25.

   So Longo can be forgiven for feeling just a little more relaxed as the juniors head into the Christmas sojourn.
   Longo took home some positives from the three game hustle last week..
   “We came back hard and we really turned it on in the third and the fourth quarters,” said Longo. “The Tuesday game versus Brock was a game that we should have won. We won the exhibition, and the Weldon game was very close. So a pretty good week.”
   Longo adds that the whole Kawartha West league seems well balanced.
   He thinks that the second half of the season will ultimately determine the playoff picture.
   “That game against Weldon could have gone either way,” said Longo. “And the Gravenhurst game was, perhaps, our best overall game of the year. We played good defense the whole way. They played us man-to-man which was nice to see, so overall, even though we lost two, it was a pretty positive week.”
   Louis Ferracuti scored 12 points to lead the Red Hawks against Weldon. Zach Cox and Nathan Feir scooped the boards, and but for some lingering outward rolls off the rim, the Hawks had a great chance at salvaging the victory, in spite of carrying a 23-13 deficit to the locker room at the half.
   “We outscored them in the second half (23-17) and we did that by hustling to the ball,” said Longo.
   Both Tanner Ballantyne and Ferracuti made a number of steals in the second half. And during a brief spurt in the fourth quarter they were able to make it very interesting.
   Surely, but Longo added that all that excitement has its upside.
   The Hawks know that they do have the potential to score against some very strong competition.
   The win on Friday at Gravenhurt gave the hawks a positive boost at the right time..
   “It’s hard to pick out any one player on Friday because everyone played well,” said Longo. “Louis had 12 points on Friday and Zach had 10. Tanner Ballantyne had a great game as well.”
   “The other guy for us was Kieran Poropat. He had a great game and I’m pretty sure that he’s the fastest kid in Grade 10. He’s quick and when he gets going he’s very hard to stop.”
   He says that none of his players are feeling the pang of that 1-4 record and no one’s hanging their head.
   “We’re practicing this week and then we’re done till the new year,” said Longo.
    The hawks play five more league games.and three of those are at home, with the rematch against Weldson scheduled as the last game of the year. The way things are going that might just turn into the most important game of the year.
   Longo says that they are starting to gel, and to believe that they can play and stay with any team in this league.
   “We have a really great group to work with,” says Longo speaking for both he and co-coach Martin Gage.
   “Everyone’s learning more with every game.”