The Schwartz Brothers Lead The Lions Over the Pioneers 56-46
The Ludlow Boys Basketball team played their final game of the 2021 season late Friday afternoon.
(Ethan Schwartz awaits inbound)
The Lions of Ludlow were once again hosting the Pioneers of Pathfinder. Each team had one day of rest but only Ludlow got to practice on Thursday. The Pioneers do not have a home gym this season. Please read the "coaches comments" section, which is usually at the end of my articles.
Similar to the game on Wednesday, the 1st half was competitive. Unlike Wednesday, so was the 2nd half.
Early in the game, Ludlow Sophmore Braeden Schwartz came out firing. Like his teammate Kyle Fontura on Wednesday, B. Schwartz scored 11 first quarter points on three made 3FG and on a shot in the paint.
(Braeden Schwartz 3 attempt)
Pathfinder got off to a better start this game. They hit some outside shots and they converted some layups they missed in Wednesday's game.
(Darren Wawro shoots FT)
The game was tied at 14 in the waning seconds of the 1st. Kyle Fontura came through with a clutch jump-shot before the quarter ended that put Ludlow ahead 16-14.
Pathfinder went on a run to open up the 2nd quarter. They outscored Ludlow 7-2 in the first couple minutes . The Pioneers led 21-18 after a jumper by Pathfinder Junior Colin Doktor. Ludlow HC Cliff Zimmer immediately called a timeout. Pathfinder was playing a 3-2 zone on defense and Ludlow (minus B. Schwartz) was struggling to generate offense. They got easy baskets off Pathfinder turnovers all game long on Wednesday. On Friday, the Pioneers were outplaying the Lions. Doktor anchored the defense in the paint. He blocked a couple shots and changed a lot of shots.
(Colin Doktor shoots FT)
Pathfinder was up 26-20 at the 1:27 mark in the 2nd quarter. On Friday, they were the team getting easy shots. Ludlow went back to their 3/4-court 1-3-1 defense, with the trap a half-court. They got two steals and two baskets to end the 2nd half. Pathfinder was ahead 26-24.
B. Schwartz opened the third quarter with a 3. That basket put Ludlow ahead 27-26.
On Wednesday, the Lions blew open the game in the third quarter. They didn't have that same luck on Friday. The third was competitive the whole quarter. The "Ludlow 1-3-1" sped up the Pioneers but they held on to the ball and converted some shots. Ludlow Sophmore Matt Mendez scored all 10 of his points in the 3rd quarter. He is all-over the court. He has a "knack" for rebounding on both ends. He can finish at the basket. He even hit a 3 in the third.
(Tom Hitchcock shoots FT)
The fourth quarter was very competitive, mainly due to each team's mistakes. Both teams were getting steals and creating turnovers. The Lions hit more shots. The Pioneers missed too many FTs and make-able shots in the lane. They didn't tie the game again and Ludlow maintained their lead until victory.
They beat Pathfinder, again, 56-46.
Scorers for Ludlow:
Braeden Schwartz - 24 points
Ethan Schwartz & Matt Mendez - 10 points each
Tom Hitchcock - 4 points
Jon Dubour - 3 points
Kyle Fontura & Sam Abdou - 2 points each
William Hall - 1 point
Scorers for Pathfinder:
Jordon Talbot - 13 points
Nick Beaulieu & Colin Doktor - 11 points each
Darren Wawro - 9 points each
Hunter Griswold - 4 points
After the game I spoke with Ludlow HC Zimmer, Senior Ethan Schwartz, Pathfinder HC David Olivera and Junior Colin Doktor.
🔴Ludlow HC Cliff Zimmer ⚪️
Q: The whole game was competitive today. What were you guys doing or not doing differently?
A: We just came out in a funk; we didn't have the same intensity that we had on Wednesday. Give Pathfinder credit, they came out and they were looking to win. They weren't going to back down to us at all. Those 1st three quarters they just dominated us and we're just fortunate enough to put enough [points] on the 'board there to come away with a win".
Q: Why do you think the half-court trap in the "Ludlow 1-3-1" is so effective?
A: "...you don't see it often; we're fortunate that Pathfinder didn't have any practice between Wednesday and today. They made some adjustments...and they were able to score some hoops on it but we were lucky enough to get some tips and some steals and make some layups on the other end. That was enough to pull away".
Q: Would you rather get out in transition or have your team in half-court sets?
A: "...Pathfinder was really good getting back on defense tonight, so we didn't have as many fast-break layups. So we got in the half-court offense. That's not exactly what we wanted; we really wanna get out there and score some easy layups and get on defense and get turnovers. Pathfinder made it difficult on us but we did enough to come away with the victory tonight".
Q: Is Ethan your only Senior?
A: "No, we have 7 Seniors, 7 Seniors* we are losing this year. They have been a wonderful class and they work so hard. We're trying to get Ludlow basketball 'back on the map' here'; that class  did a lot for us".
Q: What are you expecting from Braeden Schwartz next season?
A: "I'm expecting him to continue to work hard this off-season. He did a lot of work the season before. Get in the weight room; start lighting weights. Him and I talked yesterday about his shot mechanics; it's a very long, timely shot. So we'll continue to work on that. He just has such a passion and love for the game so I am excited for him. I told him yesterday, I think he has the talent and potential to be an All-Western Mass player, if he wants to put in the work for it. He told me he wants it. So, we'll see what he does this off-season. We're excited to see him in November."
🔴Ludlow Senior Ethan Schwartz ⚪️
(Ball being passed to Ethan Schwartz from baseline)
Q: It was your last game this afternoon, how did you feel out there?
A: "It just felt like another game; I don't know, this season was weird. Every game felt like it could be the last 'cause our season was always under threat of getting shut down".
Q: How did you feel before the season? Did you want to play?
A: "Yea, I wanted to play this season. I didn't know if we were going to get a chance to 'cause a lot of schools we usually play, aren't playing at all this year. We were just glad to have a season".
Q: How have your 4 years been in the Ludlow basketball program?
A: "Our last year was pretty good; other than that we didn't win a lot. We made the playoffs last year, 10-10, but other than that we were like 0-20 every year".
Q: What are your plans after high school?
A: I'm going to STCC [Springfield Technical Community College] for 2 years. I do plan to try-out to play basketball.
🔵Pathfinder HC David Olivera🟡
Q: How many games did you play this season?
A: "This is our 6th game; we have two more against Ware Saturday and Sunday".
(Jordon Talbot shoots FT)
Q: How did you prepare your team for this game since you played each other on Wednesday?
A: "I told 'em this is the last time, for my Seniors, that you will be in this gym. So, you guys know how to play, lets get it together and lets play. They played a great game. They passed the ball well. They ran outta gas towards the end but, you know...we don't have a gym to play in or practice in or anything but these guys played their hearts out".
Q: The school doesn't have a gym?
A: "Well, its used for COVID now so its all cafeteria tables, a classroom and a medical tent. So we've been practicing outside. Yea..it was too cold to practice and then we played three games in a row, so we couldn't practice".
Q: What could you have done different in the 4th quarter?
A: "What I told them when I called the timeout is you need to pass the ball, we were rushing the ball down...they just rushed us [referencing half-court trap]...you can't run with these guys, they're all soccer players, so slow the ball down....we couldn't put the ball in the hoop for about 4 or 5 minutes".
Q: Can you tell us about Colin Doktor?
A: "We try to utilize him as much as possible, get some plays to him. He does some great rebounding. He's a Junior this year. His shots can be from anywhere. He's getting better and better every year. I had him as a Freshman on JV. As a Sophomore, he played split [one half JV and one half Varsity per game]...He's got a bright future ahead..."
🔵Pathfinder Junior Colin Doktor🟡
Q: How did you feel out there today?
A: "It felt good, then the 4th quarter hit and we fell off; we just kept going down".
Q: How long have you been playing basketball?
A: "Since 4th grade. I started there, so for awhile".
Q: How tall are you?
Q: Since you are usually the tallest player out there, you get surrounded a lot, people swatting at the ball. How does it feel when you are down there in the paint?
A: "Feels more at home than it does on the FT-line area. I'm able to dominate more".
(Colin Doktor grabs rebound)
Q: What do you have to do to develop your game for next season?
A: "I'd say probably hit the weight room more and [work on my vertical]".
Thank you to HC Cliff Zimmer, his staff and the Boys basketball team. I hope to cover more of your games in the future.
(Ludlow team huddle)
FP SPORTS has one more game of the season.
*The 7 Ludlow Seniors are Ethan Schwartz, Kyle Fontura, Jon Dubour, John Riordan, Jack Serafino, Joseph Villano, and Tom Hitchcock.