Eli Ruiz | Democrat
Jeremiah Fannings (15) launches a jump shot over a Liberty defender during Friday’s OCIAA Division V basketball game in Liberty. Fannings finished with 16 points in the Comet’s victory.
Fallsburg goes Shomo against Liberty
Story by Frank Rizzo
LIBERTY December 24, 2013 Fallsburg big-man Ahmad Shomo is the first to admit he let his team down most of last season.
“I wasn’t performing in the classroom last season so I sat most games,” said the re- motivated senior after scoring a game-high 20 points and hauling in 18-rebounds in a blowout 71-43 win at Liberty Friday evening.
“I know I messed up, but this year I’m changing everything,” adds Shomo, a 6-4 center. “I’m focused. I’m getting my grades up, staying after school to get my work done, and I got coach [Fallsburg head coach Pete Dworetsky] on me left and right so I can’t fail.”
Indeed, as Dworetsky says, “I make sure to tell my guys how hard I work, and that’s why I expect just as much from them on the court and in the classroom.”
With only two returning players from last year’s 13-7 squad which advanced to the sectional semifinals, and an eight-man roster comprised of five underclassmen, Dworetsky’s “hard work” mantra paid off Friday as his Comets opened their OCIAA Division IV league schedule at Liberty with an 11-2 first-quarter spurt and never looked back. A seemingly shellshocked Indians squad could only muster four points in the opening stanza scoring just 10 by halftime against a smothering Fallsburg defense.
But a lot of Fallsburg’s success Friday can also be attributed to Dworetsky and his staff’s meticulous, pro-style preparation before games.
Ever a stickler for details, Dworetsky keeps what he calls a “board” in his locker room. When scouting his opponents, Dworetsky fills up this board with every opposing player’s strengths, weaknesses and game-time tendencies. The coach then distributes a game plan with these specific player tendencies to his troops. In short, says Dworetsky, “they [his players] know who is who and what they do and don’t do best. We just like to be prepared.”
Boasting a 35-10 lead at the half, the Comets (2-1, 1-0 OCIAA) certainly came prepared for anything Liberty had to throw their way, though, with so many missed shots, it was mostly rebounds Fallsburg had to concentrate on.
“The one strength I was able to identify with these guys [Liberty] before the game was that they box out really well,” explained Dworetsky. “So on their game plan sheet my guys could clearly see it said ‘box out.’ I think we did a solid job of that tonight.”
The Indians showed some life early in the second quarter with a 6-2 run, closing to within 27-10. But a steal by Fallsburg’s Brandon Berardi, who would took the rock the distance for two, followed by one of Shomo’s several open jumpers pushed the Comet lead back to 21.
“It just came to me tonight,” said Shomo. “I was just feeling it.
Shomo wasn’t the only Comet to score in double digits, though, as Jeremiah Fannings, despite being benched just 40 seconds into the game with two fouls and sitting out the remainder of the first half, posted 16 points, and Nick Pinder added 10. Many of the points came in transition and as a result of Fallsburg’s superior speed and quickness.
“I like to say that we’re the best track team playing basketball,” said a joking Dworetsky.
As for Shomo, he can’t wait to get back on the court.
“I feel great,” he said. “I can’t wait for our next game. I never got to do this last season.”
Chris Santiago had nine points for Liberty, which fell to 1-3, 0-2 OCIAA. Coach Dave Slater was unavailable for comment after the game.