Saturday, January 20, 2018

Wolverines Take Out Kenston
January 4, 2018 by Victor Lombardi | No Comments

Victor Lombardi asked Kenston boys varsity basketball coach Matt Vespa some pregame and postgame questions before his team's 68-59 loss to West Geauga.

Victor asked Kenston boys varsity basketball coach Matt Vespa some pregame and postgame questions before his team’s 68-59 loss to West Geauga.

Victor: Your team has had a solid start to the season. What message do you send your players to avoid being overconfident and get them focused on this game against West Geauga?

Matt: Not one player in our locker room is overconfident. We know how good a team the Wolverines are. I told the boys we need to execute our game plan to win the game tonight.

V: The Wolverines have won three straight games against the likes of Wickliffe, Orange and Berkshire, scoring at least 71 points per game. What do you need to do to get a victory tonight?

M: We need to limit the number of touches their super freshman Josh Irwin gets. Josh is the best freshman I’ve coached against in my high school coaching career. We need to limit the number of shot opportunities their primary scorers have at the goal.

The game:

The West Geauga Wolverines beat the Kenston Bombers 68-59 during the semifinals of the 2017 Holiday Tournament at Hudson High School on Dec. 28.

Led by freshman sensation Josh Irwin, West Geauga took the lead early and never relinquished it.

The Bombers made several attempts to take the lead in the second half and cut the deficit to one for a time, but could never get over the hump.

With just over three minutes left, Ryan Kooser drove to the lane, created contact and hit a running tear drop shot. But Kooser was called for a charge on the play. The Kenston faithful expressed their collective displeasure and the Wolverine fans shouted for joy as the referee signaled an offensive foul on the Bombers’ leader.

The Bombers were also victimized by poor free throw shooting, missing 11 of 22 free throw attempts. Meanwhile, the Wolverines overcame Kenston’s full court press to a tee, allowing them to get numerous easy layups as the clock wound down on the second half. West Geauga eventually secured the nine-point victory at the charity stripe to secure the school’s fourth straight victory.

Postgame:

V: Based on what transpired tonight, what would you like to share about the way your team played?

M: Obviously, we didn’t do enough to win. Collectively, we don’t go all out for the whole game. I’ll take responsibility for that. I’m frustrated knowing that we’re capable of playing well, but we just haven’t consistently executed our game plan. I’ll take it upon myself to regroup and figure out a way to help the players play better. I’d certainly like to come out as the winner of some of these games.

V: Are there any players you’d like to commend for their performance during tonight’s game?

M: (Michael) Swartz played well. Tyran (Smith) gave us some quality minutes. Not sure we need to change the players. Perhaps we need to change our playing style. I felt good coming into the season that we were “athletic enough” to run and “big enough” to pound the ball inside. I’m frustrated, but committed to figuring out what we do best and provide the guidance to have the players execute the appropriate game plan.

V: The season is still young. What does your team need to improve in preparation for more of your Western Reserve Conference opponents?

M: We need to tighten things up. What I mean by that is, we’re not doing anything particularly good or bad. For instance, I know we didn’t shoot particularly well from the free throw line tonight, but as a team we’re shooting a creditable 63.5 percent from the stripe. We need to have more players stationed under the hoop when we put up a long range shot to have a better chance of securing an offensive rebound. … It’s a long season. You’re going to have ups and downs. I’m frustrated, but not despondent. I’ll do my very best to come up with a plan we can execute that will put us in the best position to win.

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