By Rob Potter
ELDRED From the very beginning of this 2011-2012 basketball season, Fallsburg Coach Pete Dworetsky wanted his team to be defensive-minded.
The Comets have followed that philosophy, which has led to them winning 75 percent of their games so far this season.
The Comets’ latest victory came on Friday night in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division V game against the host Eldred Yellowjackets. Fallsburg (9-3, 6-1 Div. V) transformed several steals and turnovers into easy baskets and jumped out to a 21-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Comets went on to post a 72-39 win.
“Our goal this season is to play great defense in every game,” Dworetsky said. “We played very good defense tonight. We play fullcourt defense and work hard to stop the other team.
Dworetsky noted that defending the Yellowjackets includes paying close attention to 6-foot, 8-inch senior center P.J. Collins.
“To play good defense against Collins, you have to front him,” Dworetsky explained. “But if you use two guys to do that, he can pass the ball to the open man for a good shot.”
While the Comets enjoy playing good defense, Dworetsky also praised his players for their offensive performance.
“Our guys did a good job on offense tonight,” he said. “We took a 7-0 lead in the first couple of minutes of the game and that helped us a lot. I am so proud of the way we shared the basketball. Several times we made six or seven or eight passes before we took a shot.”
Fallsburg had a balanced offense as four players scored in double figures. Braiden DeGraw led the way with 15 points, Russell Corley and Michael Robinson each recorded 14 points and Rakkir Watson had 11 points.
DeGraw registered a double-double as he grabbed 10 rebounds to go with his 15 points. He also had four assists. Jarrett Madison and Watson each made three steals.
During the Comets’ 7-0 run to open the game, Corley and Watson each made a steal near halfcourt and then drove to the basket for a layup. Those plays set the tone for the game.
“When they took that 7-0 lead, it was a key,” Eldred Coach J.J. Gass said. “We got to within six points at 11-5 but then they went on a 10-2 run.”
Gass noted that the two teams have different offensive philosophies.
“They want to get out and run and we want to play a half-court game,” he said. “It’s the 70s and the 40s. Fallsburg wants a game in the 70s and we want a game in the 40s. Tonight, Fallsburg scored in the 70s and we almost scored in the 40s.”
Collins led Eldred (4-7, 1-5 Div. V) with 24 points. Nick Dilles added eight points for the Yellowjackets.
“We played hard the entire game,” Gass said. “We will continue to play hard and look to improve in the rest of our games this season.”
Fallsburg 21 23 15 13 72
Eldred 7 16 12 4 39
Fallsburg (9-3, 6-1 Div. V): Braiden DeGraw 15; Russell Corley 14; Michael Robinson 14; Rakkir Watson 11; Jimmy Bertholf 6; Danny Justiniano 4; Sam Didinsky 2; Darius Dromazos 2; Dustin Foertsch 2; Jarrett Madison 2
Eldred (4-7, 1-5 Div. V): P.J. Collins 24; Nick Dilles 8; Matt Bisland 5; Chris Fredericks 1; Nick Stymacks 1.