Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hot Shooting, High-Low Game Propels Yorktown

Making amends for several of Yorktown's lost opportunities during a soul-sucking 87-83 overtime loss to Peekskill, Nick DeGennaro scanned the rim and buried a deep straight away 3-pointer.

Two possessions later, DeGennaro spotted up from the right corner, firing up a deep corner trey without a hint of hesitation.


Yorktown withstood an 11-2 second quarter spurt.

They countered with a contagious third quarter shooting spree, en route to a 61-47 win over aggressive, athlete-laden John-Jay East Fishkill on Thursday night.

The biggest thorn in JJ-EF's side came from DeGennaro's shooting hand.

The junior point guard's fearless perimeter game and Yorktown's renewed commitment to defensive energy busted the game open following a spotty first half.

DeGennaro submitted a game-best 25 points, on the strength of six 3-pointers.

Mason Dyslin, fresh off a 35-point explosion in the Peekskill loss, poured in 16 points.

Dyslin, adapting to a more aggressive scoring role and sporting a new nose for 50-50 balls, is shaping into the interior banger Yorktown so needs him to be.

Showing his 6-foot-7 size and Pterodactyls-like wingspan, Dyslin has kicked the habit of settling for a 15-18 footer and become more proficient around the basket.

After an uncharacteristic series of defensive lapses in the Peekskill dud, the Huskers buckled down defensively.

The Huskers held John Jay scoreless during the first five minutes of the third quarter, a putrid power outage which created a 14-point bulge.

A pair of 3-pointers from DeGennaro and reserve guard Trevor Bocian, as well as a man-sized putback from Dyslin pumped the lead to 44-30.

"I said it from the start, I think our offense has to go through (Dyslin)," fiery Huskers head coach Kevin Downes explained.

"Good things seem to happen when the ball goes inside. Whether it's him scoring, him getting fouled, or teams getting the double and Nicky and other kids getting looks from outside, that's really what has to happen. It's a process to get kids to do that. It's not something I think they've been accustomed to doing."

Crashing the boards, refusing to let the focus falter defensively, and protecting the basketball, Yorktown bounced back.

During his stay at Mahopac, Downes groomed a product rife with bar-room brawling bigs such as Ryan Simone, Brendan Hynes, Mike Simone, 6-foot-8 John Vitkus, Zach Ankier, Robbie Catalino, and countless others.

While Downes may not have the same wealth of rugged, multi-sport athletes, the theme continued on Thursday.

Jesse Bambach provided adrenaline off the bench, canning a pair of feathery mid-range jumpers as Yorktown's motion offense created open looks.

Nick Delbene and gritty off guard Mike Nardone paced the Huskers defensively.

Glen O'Loughlin helped Dyslin in the paint and Ryan Hill played quality minutes off the bench.

John Jay played tall ball in the first half, executing an offense that fed inside cutters.

Forwards Hugh Higgins and Robbie Schumaker, the Patriots' pass-happy quarterback, paced JJ throughout.

 Both players were saddled with foul trouble by the fourth quarter, when DeGennaro's sniping and a collective commitment to feeding the post opened an insurmountable lead.

"We have to be a better defensive team," said Downes, whose team improved to 2-1 heading into Saturday's day-long Harry Jefferson Showcase against Mamaroneck.

The combination of deadeye shooting on their home rims and an effort to kick the ball inside helped Yorktown run away with it, but this team makes its money on intensified pressure.

"We have to be a better defensive team," Downes said.

"I was overall pleased with the effort against Peekskill but you can't give up 87 point and expect to win."

The Huskers will expect to win if they keep forcing teams into irregular performances.

They limited Panas to a one-man band in the opener and instigated a rash of ugly possessions for the Patriots in Thursday's face-saving victory.