By Indrek Kongats

The season has begun for ECS hoops teams, starting with modified girls playing one game this past week and two the next. This past Tuesday, the girls played away at Franklinville and this coming Monday, will have their home opener against Olean, start time is 5 p.m. They will also play at home on Wednesday, Nov. 30 against Allegany-Limestone with a 5 p.m. tip-off time.

The JV boys have their first game of the season and their home opener on Tuesday, Nov. 29, tip-off at 6 p.m. against Randolph High School.

The Varsity Boys also play their first game on the 29th, but they play Portville at Portville Central School, tip-off at 7:30 p.m.

The girls JV and Varsity teams are quiet until December.

In college hoops Division I, St. Bonaventure has been away on the road for both men’s and women’s teams.

The men’s team lost to the Florida Gators on Nov. 17 by a score of 73-66. Their next home game is Wednesday, Nov. 30, 8 p.m. tip-off at the Reilly Center against Siena.

The women’s squad will also play also at home on Nov. 30 against Stony Brook with a 5:30 p.m. tip-off. The women are 1-3, losing both games during the past week to Canisius and Delaware. Starting for the Bonnies, Randolph star, Mckenna Maycock had eight rebounds and two points against Canisius, but came in off the bench in the loss to Delaware with two rebounds and two points.

In AMCC Division III basketball, Hilbert Lady Hawks beat Elmira College last week 77-65. Shannon Rogers from Pioneer High School had her first double double of the year, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the win. This past weekend the women were away in North Carolina playing in a tournament against Huntingdon College, losing 48-61 and losing again against Berry College in the consolation game by a score of 64-67. Rogers had nine points, five rebounds against Huntingdon, and 4/7 against Berry.

In men’s action, the Hawks also beat Elmira 74-64 and played in their own Tip-Off tournament over the weekend, beating Cazenovia College  90-74 in first round action, meeting Mount Union of Ohio in the championship game last Saturday. The Hawks had the game in hand with only 1:34 minutes left to play, up six points, but failed on four consecutive free throw attempts, losing 80-79 after the final buzzer sounded. The heartbreaking loss leaves the Hilbert Hawks 2-1 on the season.

Both men and women played home this past week. The men played host to nearby Houghton College, while the women took on Fredonia State University.

On Wednesday, Nov. 30, both men and women open up league play at home at the Hafner Center in Hamburg against Pitt-Bradford. Women start at 6 p.m., followed by the men at 8 p.m.

Player development tip of the week: Ball handling skills are the most practiced by young players even more so than shooting, as they can virtually do it anywhere—at home in the basement if their parents allow or on the driveway before the snow falls.

What young players need to remember when they dribble the ball is to keep their heads up and not look down at the ball. Dribbling on the court and remembering to look up to see teammates and opponents is tough, especially when you are running and being harassed.

Practice dribbling while sitting in a chair and focus your eyes up on a wall and not down on the ball. Feel the ball with your finger tips and dribble first with one hand and then the other beside your chair. If you can manage this without losing control, spread your legs and dribble under your legs from side to side stopping in the middle to switch hands. Practice this over and over again until you are proficient without ever looking down, and then use it as a tuning tool during the season.