Bryan, aka ‘Slim Reaper’ strikes for game-high 27 points
A near flawless first quarter, behind a barrage of three-pointers saw the Lakeside Dragons stake an early lead against Pymatuning Valley on Wednesday. Only to see the Lakers defense put them back into the game and eke out a 72-68 victory.
The five first-quarter trey’s by Lakeside were a continuation of a 93-66 drubbing for PV that began the night before at Bristol. One saving grace may have been that every time the Dragons buried a three pointer (two apiece from juniors Dylan Newsome and Jay Lopez), the Lakers would respond with a two-point field goal to stay within 27-22 at the end of the quarter.
“Our defense has been struggling. Last year for 24 games we gave up an average of 40 points a game. This season we are averaging 81, before tonight. (That) is absurd. That’s a bad NBA game! We’re doing it in high school games. I challenged (the players) in the first quarter. We came out flat again, so I actually threatened to switch to a zone defense – which is a curse word at Pymatuning Valley. We don’t play zone, ever. That got them started a little bit.”Ryan Shontz, Pymatuning Valley Boys Basketball Coach
PV executed a swing that would see them trail by as many as seven points in the first half, to a 10-point cushion they nearly lost in the second.
“We’ve got some things to clean up. That’s just an early season thing. We are undisciplined for a team as old as we are. Credit to the boys, their execution was terrible (multiple missed open layups), but their effort was always there. Their hearts were out there. They’re flying around, throwing themselves on the floor for each other. I’m pretty proud of that.”Shontz added
Credit their silent assassin, of sorts, senior Seth Bryan. His highlights began with a 16-point first half that capped off a three-pointer on an inbound play at the buzzer, staking the Lakers to a 41-40 halftime lead. For an encore, he drained a perfect 10 free throws on the night (eight in the second half), along with a 4th quarter triple en route to a game-high 27 points.
“(Bryan’s) perfect. He has the record for every shooting drill we have at practice. He made 51 free throws in a row. Stoic, calm and never gets too flustered. That’s Slim Reaper – he didn’t get that nickname by accident.”Shontz, highlighting Bryan’s impact on the PV lineup
Senior guard Zane Neczeporenko was tasked with controlling the tempo on both sides of the ball for PV, often trading off with the Lakeside guards in steals and breakaway plays. He finished with 16 points. Junior Ryan Croston was good for another dozen, including sinking 6-of-8 foul shots. Senior Cadence Wiser scored seven of his nine points in the first half, including a three pointer.
Lakeside was led by senior forward Aiden Hathy’s 23 point performance, including one dunk on a loft pass from point guard Dylan Newsome in the right corner during the second quarter. Newsome finished with 17 points, counting three first-half three pointers. Alex Disalvatore tacked on another 17 points, scoring six each in the first and third quarters.