Saturday, December 17, 2016

Pink Whistle: December 16, 2016

By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - Jersey City, NJ - Opening day of the high school season saw a meeting of two Hudson County powers. Bayonne and Lincoln are strong on the varsity level and the sub varsity teams are competitive as well.

Lincoln 39, Bayonne 33

Lincoln gets out to a 7-2 lead before Bayonne answers with 15 unanswered points. Bayonne is in a 2-3 zone and an early three-pointer by the host Lady Lions might have been fool’s gold. While Bayonne is looking for inside opportunities. Lincoln is settling for three pointers.

In the second quarter, we have a technical, an administrative one that could not be avoided. Pregame, we count the players and make sure they are in the scorebook. Lincoln had ten, but only nine in the book. We informed the Lincoln coach, who remedied the situation. It turns out a player was late and not accounted for in the book - resulting in a ‘T’ against Lincoln. Could it have been avoided? Not on our side. If the coach knew an unlisted player might be late, she could have added her in the book. Better to start with more names in the book than players on the floor and bench.

Bayonne led by five at the half, but could not pull away. Bayonne’s No. 20 had size and a nice touch inside. Lincoln stayed close, canning a three on several occasions. In the fourth quarter, Bayonne really struggled on the offensive end. The flow of the game was very good. Both teams were basically in half court sets and execution was paramount. Lincoln saw some opportunities from outside against the zone, and in the stretch, the shots were falling. Losing the lead with about two minutes to go, Bayonne was unable to respond, simply a case of the Bees failing to close out despite their coach’s imploring, and Lincoln taking advantage of the open looks.

My partner Bill, in his third year, did a very good job. We hope to work together again. Lincoln varsity coach Tom Best, who had a nice career at Saint Peter’s and has built an excellent program here at Lincoln, talked a few minutes; mostly how we have both been at this so long, with no intention of stopping.     

Very impressive to see how Bayonne former players give back to the program, a storied one in its own right. Scorer Ashley Devaney (my assignor Pat’s daughter) starred here and was a college assistant before having a son. Ashley still stays active, as evidenced by her work on the book. Christy Altamonte was a standout at Bayonne and FDU before getting into high school coaching. She is a varsity assistant. Freshman coach Jamie Smith assists her sister Tara, the JV coach. Both played at Bayonne. Again, it speaks volumes regarding how much the program is valued by former players.

I told Ashley on the way to the game that I tried to remember her Bayonne teammate who was a key part of the Albany team that went to the NCAA Tournament a few years ago. The name hit me walking into the gym: Cassandra Calloway. “She (Calloway) is doing well,” Ashley said. “She’s coaching in college.” On the way out, she said, ‘tough one, but a pleasure to work for you’ to Tara, the Bayonne JV coach. I lightheartedly inquired if closeouts were on the practice agenda Saturday. “I will say boxing out drills at 8 a.m. will be,” she promised. She added before leaving that her club got Lincoln into a shot selection they (Bayonne) wanted on defense. They knocked a few down and their confidence increased. As long time college and pro mentor Gordie Chiesa would say, welcome to coaching.

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