By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
Today was another historical day for FP SPORTS.
For the first time ever, FP SPORTS was in Huntington, MA to watch the Rams from Southwick Regional High School take on the Gators from Gateway Regional Middle & High School.
Southwick Regional serves the towns of Southwick, Granville and Tolland. Those three towns have a combined population of 12,000 people.
Gateway Regional serves the towns of Russell, Blandford, Chester, Huntington, Montgomery and Middlefield. Those six towns have a combined population of approximately 8,000 people. [Gateway no longer services the town of Worthington. Young people from Worthington now go to Hampshire Regional.]
Both schools are on the west side of the Connecticut River 🏞.
The only time this game was close, was when the score was 0-0. To take a line from ESPN 🐐 Tony Kornheiser:
“That’s what you call domination, homes”.
The game was competitive in that both teams played today. The Gators had some offensive flashes from Ryan Keach and Jayden Santiago-Lopez. They scored 75% of their team’s points on Thursday.
Southwick has some players that look pretty good out there, most notably Grayson Poole. He can score effectively and has good speed for his size.
(Grayson Poole shoots a FT)
Southwick has some tougher games ahead.
Every game will be a tough game for Gateway this season but they are embracing the challenge. Gateway HC Matt Collins is aware of the demographics of the area and we talked about that at the end of the game.
Scorers for Southwick:
Grayson Poole - 17 points
Chris Peterson, Brennan Vinesett & Liam Poole - 8 points each
Gabe Hannah & Austin Mason - 7 points each
Dylan Kelleher & Nick Michael - 5 points each
Jordan Dryzgya & Nate Goodwin - 4 points each
Rylan Secovich - 2 points each
Scorers for Gateway:
Jayden Santiago-Lopez - 5 points
Ryan Keach - 4 points
Matthew Kessler - 3 points
After the game I spoke with Southwick HC Peter Fiorentino and Gateway HC Collins.
(Liam Poole contests a 3 by Tryston Wallace)
🟢Southwick Reg. HC Peter Fiorentino🟡
You got the win 78-12 tonight. When you’re in a game like this, how do you keep your team engaged until the end?
“We were able to get guys in that don’t get a ton of minutes, which was nice. And we understand that moving forward, our schedule gets tougher so we wanted to make sure we ran our stuff on offense and mix up the defense. We had a nice 7-man rotation there in the 2nd half of guys that don’t get a ton of minutes; they did tonight and got some experience which is nice”.
What are you expecting from your team when you play tougher competition?
“Yeah...Monson has a really good player over there, Colby Duggan; I’m looking forward to matching up with them, its always a good game. We haven’t faced too much adversity yet so we’ll see how that goes. Just gotta keep playin’ hard and do the right thing”.
(Chris Peterson gets a shot at the basket)
How do you feel about playing in the Fall 2 season?
“To be honest with you, I think its great that the kids can play...the kids are having a good time; its fun to watch”.
🔵Gateway Reg. HC Matt Collins🟡
Tonight was a rough game. What are the challenges coaching a regional school that has a limited pool of players to choose from?
“We certainly have a smaller base of students but the ones that show [up] do like sports and they are willing to commit to a team. For example, we had two 8th graders* on the court tonight. To ask an 8th grader who maybe hasn’t hit their developmental stride to go up against ‘fully grown men’, its a big ask and [they] did it...its easy to coach the kind of kids we have. We are suffering a little bit of attrition as a school so we just have less players than we did 10-15 years ago. That’s something that is out of our control. We can only control the kids we have...[HC Collins to the exiting Southwick team] Boys, nice game. Thank you, take care”.
How do you feel coaching during this time?
“I feel great. We accomplished the very 1st goal of the season which was to get the boys in the gym. We got the boys in the gym, they are practicing, they are working. That was the first goal, to have a season. Any season is better than no season”.
*The two 8th graders for Gateway are Evan Forgue (#13) and Adam Krassler (#31). They are getting priceless experience if they continue with basketball.