Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Putnam County Examiner Boys Hoop Notebook (Continued)

Just when they snapped a brutal five-game skid Putnam Valley suffered another setback with a 74-53 loss to Class AA Ossining.

Still, they program is moving in the right direction. I'm not trying to sound like a spin doctor Public Relations guy (this is not St. John's University, folks!!!!)or a huckster here, but Putnam Valley has come a long way.

Despite the recent rough patch they've hit, the Tigers have already qualified for the playoffs and Ralph Smith's program has seen an increase in involvement. More players, more fans. The school has bought into it, with more kids competing in summer camps and on the AAU circuit, according to Smith.

The town is rallying behind them, and scoring the first playoff win since the school re-opened would do wonders.

"The guys are still making progress," said Smith. "They've had a tough schedule, which is difficult when you're going through it but it helps prepare you to play tough teams."

Don't look now, but Smith seems to be resurrecting an ailing program. The Tigers could manage to right the ship after years of obscurity and even cellar-dwellar value. Nurturing the talent at the grassroots level and playing in a big-stage game is certainly a step closer to where the program wants to be.

"It's been tough. I have to hand it to the players, who have lived through it. Some of them were strong enough to lived through it, others were not. These players who are on the team now, many of them have lived through (the tough times). They've improved their game, worked hard to get to where they are at. So I really have to hand it to them. The coaches as well, they never wavered."

Ralph continued, "We continue to try and develop a program that's going to break them right through. From rec, up to modified to JV and Varsity. We're slowly getting there."

While it's early to declare the storm over, the hump is slowly flattening out and deteriorating.

North Salem registered a measure of revenge on Haldane, avenging a 51-45 loss which saw Jackson Zuvic score in the lane like the rest of us breath, to paraphrase legendary Prep Scout Tom Konchalski. The Blue Devils fell to the Tigers, in an end-to-end overtime battle.

The Tigers pulled ahead of the Blue Devils in the extra session, outscoring them by a 7-3 margin, en route to emerging as a 67-63 victor. Zuvic was held to just 12 points, well below his season average.

With Big Money neutralized for much of the contest, other players stepped it up. Joe Scherer dropped 16 points and pounded the glass to the tune of a game-high 15 boards to lead Haldane, Rafael Famighetti paced the squad with 13 points and three treys.

The Blue Devils took another tough pill to swallow as Lincoln Hall pasted them with 52-47 dubya, thanks to the two-man wrecking crew of Corey Blair (16 points) and Brandon Allen (14 points).

The Devils fell to 5-10 with the loss. After running off a three-game win streak, Haldane has coiled into a 0-2 funk. They've encountered difficulty closing the games, both of which were winnable down to the waning minutes.