Boys basketball: Shooting, defense lead Lions past Lawmen
Not to be lost in Foran High’s display of shooting the basketball from the perimeter was a defensive performance equally impactful to the Lions’ 63-52 victory over visiting Jonathan Law at the Edna Fraser Gymnasium on Saturday.
Foran High’s Matt Cruz scored 21 points and Victor Rios had 17 markers for coach Ian Kirkpatrick’s cagers, who pointed to his team’s ability to deny Law access to the basket as a key factor in the win.
“We knew Law likes to dribble drive, especially with a great player like Diontae Eady,” Kirkpatrick said. “They go to the rim or kick the ball back out. We wanted to close the gaps in our 2-3 zone and I thought overall we did a great job.”
Cruz knocked down five 3-pointers and Rios buried four shots from long range, as the Lions improved to 4-3.
Eady had 23 points to forge the way for coach Jamie Anderson’s Lawmen, now 2-4.
“I thought the teams were feeling each other out in the first half and played pretty even in all facets,” Anderson said. “In the third quarter we missed some of our defensive assignments, which enabled Foran to get some clean looks and go on a run.
“In the fourth quarter I made a wholesale lineup change with a smaller group to see if we could up the tempo and create some different matchups. The boys fought to get it back to single digits then had to foul late to prolong the game. Foran made its foul shots down the stretch.
“We are still trying to find our identity, but are making improvements each day.”
Foran took a 16-9 lead after one period, as the Lions scored on 7-of-11 possessions including their first five.
Tyler Heenan (8 points) ran the offense well, with tri-captain Todd Gentley (8 points), John Shannon (6 points), Mark Wooten and Jason Giambra chipping in during the frame.
“Tyler did a great job initiating our offense,” Kirkpatrick said of his 5-foot-10 senior tri-captain. “We play a possession game and he is growing confident as our point guard.”
Law got its running game going in the second stanza, resulting in a 10-2 run led by Conor Creane (8 points), Sam Nassar (6 points) and Dean Pettway.
Will Contaxis hit a baseline runner to tie the game at 22-all with 2:20 remaining in the half.
Carl Maxwell’s free throw gave the visitors the lead, before Heenan fed Rios for a 3-pointer and a 24-22 advantage at the break.
The lightning quick Eady scored seven points, one bucket coming on a marvelous scoop shot in traffic, but Shannon joined in on Lions making 3-pointers. Then, Wootten tallied on a pretty hesitation dribble drive and Heenan scored after a fine cut to the basket.
Cruz came around a Gentley screen and made a trey off a pass from Cruz.
Cruz then drained a three of his own to end the period and give Foran a 45-33 lead going into the final quarter.
“We try to put Matt is a position to succeed for us...He is our leader,” Kirkpatrick said of his senior tri-captain.
Foran’s lead settled around 10 points the rest of the way, despite some fine play by Law’s Justice Smith, Contaxis and Eddy.
Roundup: Foran handed North Haven its first loss of the season when the Lions posted a 61-54 road win on Jan. 2. Matt Cruz scored 19 points, Todd Gentley 14 and Mark Wootten 10. Foran High lost to Career Magnet, 58-53, on Monday. Cruz scored 24 points. John Shannon had 12. Gentley and Tyler Heenan scored six points each.
Jonathan Law dropped a 73-65 decision at SCC rival East Haven on Monday. Conor Creane scored 22 points and Sam Nassar 13. Diontae Eddy and Carl Maxwell scored 12 points each. Law lost a 67-62 SCC road decision to Lyman Hall in on Jan. 2. Creane scored 21 points.