By Indrek Kongats

Both JV and Varsity Boys’ basketball teams played their home and season openers last Tuesday night against Randolph High School. The JV team fell short in their efforts, losing by 12 points to the Cardinals 33-45.

As the gym started filling up to capacity for the second game of the night, the highly- anticipated match up of Ellicottville’s No. 42 Elliot Bowen against Randolph’s No. 5 Jarrett Lecceadone, both seniors, hope their play this season attracts the eye of some college coaches.

Bowen is the center for the Eagels and last year’s leading scorer and rebounder.

Lecceadone is a hard-driving forward a few inches shorter than Bowen, but just as determined to get to the hoop and dive for loose balls.

The 7:30 p.m. opening  jump ball went to ECS and the game was underway. Right out of the gate, ECS was in charge, forcing Randolph to turn the ball over eight times in the first quarter alone.

Hard driving by No. 24 Griffin Chudy and the rest of the team crashing the boards put ECS into the bonus early.

Bowen had his first four points from the charity stripe and put the Eagles up 22-11 at the end of the quarter. More importantly, Lecceadone had two fouls against him and the team had eight to the Eagles’ one.

The second quarter wasn’t much better for the Cardinals, but they did manage to take care of the ball, reducing their turnovers but going cold from the floor shooting. The hot Eagles took a 13 point lead to the locker room at half time, leaving Lecceadone with three fouls. As the second half started, the Cardinals came out determined, pecking their way back and at the end of the third quarter, had a one point lead over the Eagles.  The Cardinals three-quarter court pressure caused the tide change, leading to numerous easy transition lay-ups. With the 17 point third quarter surge, Randolph looked like a different team and in complete control.

With the start of the fourth and final quarter of the game, the Eagles recovered their composure and had two quick, game-changing driving lay-ups for Chudy and solid play from Bowen. Foul trouble plagued the Cardinals all game, and with four minutes remaining, they began to drop like flies as three players fouled out of the game. The final score was 52-49 in favor of Ellicottville, giving them their first win of the season.

ECS home schedule for further games is as follows:

Dec. 6 at 6 p.m., JV Girls vs Falconer, Varsity at 7:30 pm Vs Falconer

Dec. 7 at 5 p.m., Modified Girls vs Cattaraugus Little Valley

Dec. 8, Holiday Valley Holiday Tournament Girls Varsity at 6 p.m., followed by the Boy’s Varsity at 7:30 p.m.

In college action, Division I St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team take on University of Buffalo on Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Reilly Center tip off at 4 p.m.

The women’s team will be at home on Tuesday, Dec. 6 against Bucknell, game time 7 p.m. In Division III basketball, Hilbert Lady Hawks beat up Alfred University 84-65 last Saturday. Local stars Shannon Rodgers from Pioneer High School had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Hilbert, while the freshman Wilcox sisters from Pine Valley High School were Alfred’s high scorers; Jamie Wilcox had 23 points, while her sister Jessica had 13 points in the loss. Both Hilbert men and women are away on the road this weekend.

Player Development tip of the week:

Many, many years ago there was a basketball player nicknamed Pistol Pete. Pete Maravich was the son of a basketball coach that rose to fame playing for the LSU Tigers and later in the NBA. Pistol Pete revolutionized the way young players approached the game, emphasizing the entertainment value of the sport and the ability of the player to put on a show with eye popping passes, incredible shooting and ball handling. In order to achieve these incredible and entertaining skills, Pistol went through a regular daily routine of ball handling skills without ever stepping onto a basketball court, practicing 4-5 hours per day.

Pistol Pete explained, “I play the way I do because that is the way I’ve always played. It’s my style. I do it for the benefit of the team, for our fans and for myself. I don’t throw a behind-the-back pass just to hot dog it. I throw it to meet a situation. I throw it to excite the crowd. I bet at least 90 percent of the people want to see my show.

“The drills are more than just for show. They stimulate my quickness and reaction, and they have made it possible to develop my passing skills. One drill is the ricochet. To do this one, I stand with my feet spread shoulder-width apart, take the ball with both hands, throw it between my legs at a 45degree angle and catch it behind my back. Then I throw it from back to front the same way. I keep going back and forth, back and forth—for reaction, not quickness.

“The pretzel is another hand-reaction drill. I place my left hand behind my left leg and my right hand in front of and between my legs. I lean over for this one. I hold the ball with my right hand, and the object is to change hands with the ball, moving my hands in a figure-eight fashion around my legs. I go back and forth, back and forth with the ball as fast as I can. The trick is to keep the ball stationary, keep it in place right there in front of my body and between my legs. I can do this almost faster than the eye can see…”

All of these drills are on a movie his dad made, called Homework Basketball.