Rochester boys rout Laurel
Rochester (82) Vs. Laurel (33)
Dec 23, 2009
By JOE SAGER
ROCHESTER — Most nights, the Laurel High boys basketball team could stray from its game plan momentarily and still recover.
The Spartans learned they couldn’t do it against a team like Rochester as the Rams drubbed the Spartans, 82-33, last night in a WPIAL Section 2-AA battle.
The game pitted two of the section favorites, but Rochester (2-0 section, 6-0 overall) proved that it is one of the WPIAL’s top squads.
“We just keep getting better. We’re playing as a team now — they are unselfish, working hard and they enjoy being around each other. The coaches enjoy being around them. It’s just a close-knit group,” Rochester coach Paul Long said. “I have a group that’s used to winning because of football. They are trying to get this season to go much longer since their football season came to an end earlier than they wanted. It’s working out well.”
Things didn’t work out so well for Laurel (1-1, 3-2), which was coming off an emotional win over Riverside. The Spartans stuck to their methodical approach in the first quarter and faced only a one-point deficit, 13-12, at the buzzer.
However, the second quarter is where Laurel began to stray from its plan. That allowed the athletic and quick Rams to roll to a 37-21 halftime lead.
“We just can’t play their game. We have to play within our framework and, if we don’t, that’s going to happen,” Laurel coach Mike Tinstman said. “The key is, are we going to learn from this? The point I tried to make with them, is if win or lose by one or lose by 50, it doesn’t matter as long as you learn something from it. Hopefully, we’ll learn something from it. If not, then we’re not the team that I expect to be.”
Rochester erupted for 28 points in the third quarter to blow the game open and the Spartans could not recover, thanks to an aggressive Rams defense.
The 49-point victory margin was surprising to Long.
“Yes. They beat us twice last year and we both have almost the same teams back,” he said. “We’re better prepared this year. Last year was my first year as head coach here and we didn’t have time to work on man-to-man defense and now we do. It’s tough on guys. We come at you with a lot of speed, so it’s tough for people.”
The Spartans did sweep both meetings against Rochester last year. And, the two sides return virtually the same lineups — except for the Rams, who added one of the WPIAL’s top juniors in 6-foot-6 Giovanni Ellis, a transfer from Avonworth. He tallied 13 points last night. Jasson Adamson led Rochester with 21 points, while E.J. Blackwell had 18 and Terry Gettings added 15.
“They are an outstanding team. The big kid they picked up is good — they have all the pieces. You add him to the other four starters they returned and that’s an impressive group of young men,” Tinstman said. “But, I am very disappointed in how we played. I knew what we had to do. The last two games we played them, we beat them. To beat a team like that, you have to be able to control the tempo. In the first quarter, we came out and did what we had to do even though we were down by one. Four of those points came on careless passes and you cannot do that against a team like that. But, we were in the ballgame.
“In the second quarter, we started playing their game and launching shots. We stressed that we couldn’t do that, but before we knew it, the game was out of control. It’s the type of game where you can’t let them run up and down the floor. They are too athletic and they have too many scorers. We did everything we couldn’t do and the score is very obvious. They just buried us and it was very embarrassing.”
Shane Caldararo, Jake Dando and Mike Natale all had six points to lead the Spartans, who return to action Monday at the Union Tournament.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Tinstman said. “This really puts the emphasis on how far we’re behind right now compared to Rochester.”