With young roster, V'ville presses on
VOORHEESVILLE — After Voorheesville’s second straight game posting 46 points, and another win, sophomore Stephany Keenan paraphrased her coach, Bob Baron, when it comes to class rules:
— Ninth-graders are not seen and not heard;
— Sophomores are seen, but rarely heard;
— Juniors are heard and should be listened to; and
— Seniors are heard if they have something nice to say.
Voorheesville (2-0) beat Albany Academy, 46 to 25, at home on Tuesday, and five sophomores started the game. The Blackbirds have no ninth-graders, eight sophomores, no juniors, and three seniors.
“We try to act older, so at least we’re able to be seen,” said Keenan, who scored eight points, as her teammates Jordan Pettograsso and Victoria Coluccio laughed with her after the game. “We just try to grow, work at it, and be more mature.”
The Birds had a productive first half, building a comfortable lead with full-court pressure defense and double teams. This led to numerous steals for Voorheesville, which resulted in transition baskets through the painted area.
“At a young age, they need to listen, open their ears, and learn,” said Baron of his players. “I just want to be a coach to whoever is motivated to play basketball.”
The excellent defense from Voorheesville caused Albany Academy to panic in the first half. The visiting team rushed passes, and took bad shots.
“We like to pressure the ball,” said Pettograsso, who scored 16 points. “That’s our goal when we’re going into a game, and we work on it a lot.”
“Nobody likes to be stuck in a double team; it’s tough,” Keenan added. “We try to slow down their game,” she said of opponents. “It changes the pace, mixes them up a little.”
Voorheesville presses on, and then takes the press off.
Since the Birds are better as a running team, it needs rebounds and steals to have success. “We come up with our schemes,” Baron said. “We force bad passes, but try to protect the basket, deep. We play angles, play position, and try to predict where the pass is going.”
Keenan told The Enterprise that the Blackbirds get plenty of fast breaks during a game; the team is quick.
“We have a good connection going on,” Pettograsso said.
Voorheesville played less pressure defense in the second half of Tuesday’s game, and started turning the ball over more often. Baron says that the Blackbirds play well in spurts, like last Thursday, when the team scored 26 points in the third quarter during a win at Cobleskill.
“Then, we start forcing things, over dribbling,” Baron said. “We start getting a little greedy, trying to get more.”
With a majority of young players on the roster, Baron says that Voorheesville needs to discover its patience. “They’re too eager to take the game on as individuals, rather than playing as a team,” he said. “When you start forcing the action, on defense or offense, things get out of sync. There’s no flow, and that’s when you get in trouble.”
Are the girls responsive to changing their ways?
“Oh yes, there’s no issue with that; they’re high-quality kids,” Baron said, “but they get a little exuberant, undisciplined. They have to learn how to reel that in sometimes.”
The Blackbirds like to play fast, but slowing down the pace at times could lead to better results.
Baron knows that Voorheesville can compete every night, but he questions consistency within a youthful team.
“It’s too early to know,” he said.