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After long layoff, Eden boys basketball falls to Toanwanda

UP FOR THE SHOT — Senior Connor Nowak and Eden have been working on their shooting in two low-scoring losses, to start the 2013 – 2014 season. Photo courtesy of Ron Larson.
Snow days are typically considered early Christmas presents for high school students.

They bring with them no school, homework or having to wake up at the crack of dawn to catch the school bus or a ride.

What snow days also mean for athletes, and specifically basketball players, is no practice or games.

Eden, which was hit hard for nearly a week with snow, hadn’t played a game in 10 days, when it took the court to face Tonawanda on Dec. 16.

The Raiders had two games wiped out by snow days and, after school cancellations, the team struggled to get in any practices, during the snow-filled week.

When the athletes finally got back on the court against Tonawanda, a few missed shots and defensive lapses – possibly resulting from that time away – made the difference in Tonawanda;s pulling away in the second half for a 43 – 30 victory.

The win improved Tonawanda to 3 – 3 on the season, the Warriors’ having played three times as many games as Eden, which dropped to 0 – 2 on the sports season.

“They’re learning. It’s a learning process,” said Eden first-year head coach Scott Gill. “We took some quality shots. We must have shot under 20 percent again today [as the team did in the first game]. We didn’t hit anything from the outside, but effort, I can’t complain.”

Tonawanda held a 16 – 15 advantage at halftime, but managed to open the second stanza on a 12 – 4 run, which included three straight baskets by Tristan Boling and back-to-back triples by senior captain Ben Stich.

Stich connected on four 3- pointers in all, for Tonawanda. He hit them all in the second half, to help the Warriors pull away.

After the Warriors had opened up a double digit advantage, senior guard Brad Palmerton completed a 3-point play, to get the Raiders back within eight on the game.

That was the closest Eden would get.

The Raiders used a 2 – 3 zone in the first half, to make it difficult for Tonawanda to get the ball inside.

They held the Warriors to one 3-pointer in the first half, playing perimeter defense, as well.

During the second half, the Warriors were able to open up the middle of the floor, as outside shots began to fall.

Eden forced a number of turnovers throughout the game, but the team was unable to capitalize enough on the other end of the floor.

“We missed some layups. We missed some easy shots,” Gill said. “I think a lot of our problem is execution. We panic when we get the ball. I try to tell them to slow the game down.”

Palmerton scored a team-high 10 points, while fellow team captain Louis Bartus added 6. Junior forward Hayden Herc finished the game with 8 points and was a rebounding machine under the basket.

“I thought [Eden] worked hard,” said Tonawanda head coach Henry Hughes. “I thought they had a pretty good strategy and they hustled for everything. They didn’t give in, that’s for sure. I thought they battled; they worked hard.”

Eden’s other loss this season came at the hands of Springville-Griffith Institute, on Dec. 6. The team will travel to Holland for its next game on Friday, Dec. 20. The varsity tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
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