Falcons spoil homecoming for Red Hawks
By Darren Lum
Published Dec. 14, 2017
When it was all said and done five points was the difference between sending fans home happy or a disappointing loss.
The senior Red Hawks basketball team lost in its home opener 28-24 to the visiting Fenelon Falls Falcons, a perennial strong team renowned for a physical style of play.
“They’re real scrappy kind of team and it’s a real dogfight in the trenches and they’re a little bit heavier and bigger than we are so I thought we fought hard. We definitely have to work on our discipline. Just about when a game is tight and how we manage ourselves, both on the floor and on the bench. Keeping our emotions in check, but these are the kind of games we’ll be in all year. Really tight games. It’s a good lesson for us. It’s really early in the season. You know, we’re playing for February when we go single A,” Hawks coach Paul Longo said. “It’s all about learning and about getting better and trying to gel as a team. We had moments when things looked good. We had moments when we had a lot to work on. Give Fenelon credit they fought hard and they pulled it out in the end. It’s an ugly, scrappy game. Sometimes you win some of those and sometimes you don’t.”
There were a variety of challenges for the Hawks in the fourth quarter, which included turnovers rebounding, finishing inside the key on open looks and discipline.
As high school basketball goes, turnovers are a fact of the game for every team. However Longo admitted the team committed more turnovers when it got “panicky.”
Another area that will be looked at for improvement is rebounding when the team had great difficulty on the glass in their own end. The Falcons took advantage, seeing multiple scoring chances following missed shots. It’s an area that Longo and the coaching staff will be working on to help the team improve.
This year’s team includes a Hawks player from south of the border. Starting among the five players against the Falcons was Emily Domerchie, who played the past two seasons, including 22 games as a guard for Prairie School Hawks in Racine, Wisconsin last season. She received praise by Longo for her basketball intelligence and skills.
“Emily is a great player. Very technically solid and sound and understands the game. We’re happy to have her,” he said. “She’s originally from Waterloo and then she was in Wisconsin for a couple years and now she is back here. We’re happy she is here. We’re learning a lot from her too. She’s played a lot of high level ball. Guys love her and it’s all very positive.”
Domerchie played in the 2014 CWOSSA AAAA junior championship for the Sir John A. Macdonald Highlanders, scoring eight points in the loss to Resurrection Phoenix.
Grade 11 rookies Connor Swinson and Austin French played well in limited minutes.
In the second quarter, the Hawks led 11-5 after they went on a 9-0 run. As the minutes ticked by, approaching the half, the Falcons responded with their own offensive run, scoring 11 points to Haliburton’s zero for a 14-11 lead. Before the half, the Hawks responded with four points to the Falcons’ one to enter the half tied at 15-15.
“There were two different runs there for sure. Our 9-0 run, we realized if we went to more pick and roll offence it freed up our big men a little bit and we were able to hit some shots from outside,” he said. “We didn’t shoot the ball really well at all today. That’s part of it too and we got little bit lucky. They went to the [free throw] line quite a bit and missed a lot of foul shots.”
Going into the fourth quarter, the Red Hawks were up 21-20.
The lead was short-lived, as the Falcons went up with a 26-21 lead with a little more than three minutes left in the game. Hawks captain Sam Longo, who led his team with nine points, sank a three-pointer at the 2:36 mark to draw the team to within two points and had the partisan crowd and his bench into hysterics. That was about as close the Hawks could come unfortunately for the red and white faithful. Missed open looks as far as offence and an inability to box out and grab rebounds ended the game 28-24.
“It’s all about learning and trying to improve day-by-day and get better,” he said.