Updated: Apr 22, 2021
By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
On early Monday evening, I was back at Sabis for another Boys Varsity game. The Bulldogs from Sabis were hosting the Blue Devils of Northampton.
This game, like the game against Holyoke, saw a different defensive strategy in each half for Sabis. Also, like the last game, Sabis won.
The 1st half was tightly contested. Each team was working their offensive sets. Northampton got easy shots, while Sabis had to take contested shots in the lane.
The players from Sabis adapted quickly though. Instead of trying to challenge the Northampton big ‘men’ with shots, Sabis Seniors Tre Hodge and Alex Williams passed the ball to the perimeter after driving to the paint. Sabis Sophomore Kenny Rogers hit two 3s in the first quarter. He has a nice touch on his shot.
Northampton stayed competitive in the first and second quarters. Northampton HC Rey Harp has talked about “running the offense all the way through”. They did that Monday evening. Seth Finnessey and Jasper Coles made good plays, on both ends, for the Blue Devils. Kelvin Perez had a good game also. The previous Northampton games I have seen, Perez was there but not playing.
At halftime, Sabis was only ahead by three points, 34-31.
The 3rd quarter is when Sabis HC Pat Ochoa pulled the press defense “lever”. For the second game in a row, Sabis applied a full-court press in the second half. Holyoke, last week, and Northampton , yesterday, didn’t have any answers. Even when the ball got over half-court, Sabis defenders didn’t relax; they “got up in” their defenders, per se.
A 3-point halftime lead turned into a 20 point win for Sabis. Everyone from Sabis made plays in the 2nd half. Rob Scoville made some nice plays down the stretch including two drives to the basket where he got fouled and still made the layup.
Another similarity to last week’s game was that representatives from Springfield College Men’s Basketball program were at the game to see Tre Hodge. They spoke again after the game 🤝.
(Reps from Springfield College)
(Reps from Springfield College)
The ‘Sabis press’ is one of the toughest to handle in Western Mass. I have seen two well coached teams, with good players, not be able to do anything offensively in the second half. Credit to HC Ochoa, High School of Commerce alumni 📚💰.
(Jack Power defended by Alex Williams)
The Bulldogs ran circles around the Blue Devils until the clock hit ‘0.0’.
Scorers for Sabis:
Kenny Rogers - 18 points
Tre Hodge - 14 points
Rob Scoville - 10 points
Alex Williams - 8 points
Jacob Evans - 7 points
Josh Colon - 6 points
Jacob Mueller - 4 points
Matt Considine & Jared Denson - 2 points each
Scorers for Northampton:
Seth Finnessey - 19 points
Kelvin Perez - 15 points
Jacob Cancel - 5 points
Jack Power - 4 points
Justyn Rankins - 3 points
Max Collen & Jasper Coles - 2 points each
Isaiah Ortiz & Caleb Steinigeer - 1 point each
After the game I spoke briefly* with Northampton HC Rey Harp and Sabis HC Pat Ochoa.
🔵Northampton HC Rey Harp⚪️
Did you work on a press break before this game?
“We did. We put time in on a press break every week. Their pressure did turn us over. The way they execute the press was hard for us”.
🔴Sabis HC Pat Ochoa⚪️
Why don’t you use the press for the full game?
“I think it’s important that we be able to change speeds so we can keep the other team off-balance...We don’t wanna show them the same thing for the entire game. You start off with a little man to man and then boom - full-court press, trap them a little bit...”
Each team has two games left this season.
Fall 2 🍁
*I usually try to ask 3-5 questions but I’ve hit the “Fall 2 wall”. I’m exhausted; took the day off today - 4/20. I’ll finish the season strong 🤞🏾.