How strange was Skyline’s first boys practice with contact?
“On Wednesday (Feb 10), as a sign of the times, each player came in six feet apart and got a COVIDE test,” said Skyline Coach Mike Lovelace. “Then each one waited for a negative result. Then they got their uniform. Then we took individual and team pictures and then we had our first contact scrimmage for 30 minutes. What a day.”
Then 24 hours, the Eagles took the court to face Father Gabriel Richard in a basketball game.
Strange days, indeed.
The Fighting Irish played their first game the night before against Detroit Loyola after starting contact practice on Monday.
But despite the rough edges, both teams flashed signs of great potential. And, really, what else could you ask for or expect.
“I thought overall it was a very encouraging and a good solid game for both Skyline and Gabriel Richard,” Lovelace said. “Good defensive energy, good movement on offense, great sportsmanship and really good body language throughout for both teams.”
Skyline led by three points at halftime and held on for a 54-45 win over the host Irish on Thursday night – and, yes, there were fans (including a leprechaun) in the stands at FGR which added to the atmosphere.
FGR started strong as the Eagles struggled to find their legs – and rhythm. The Irish led 15-13 after the first quarter. Skyline turned up the pressure in the second quarter with a strong half-court press and took a 26-23 lead into halftime. Skyline led 39-31 after three quarters.
“Offensively we were expecting to have a balanced scoring attack with this group in players contributing as well as inside and outside,” Lovelace said. “We have guards that can shoot and drive and bigs that have the potential to score inside as they gain more experience.
“Our senior guards are aggressive and looking for shots and working to make the right play at the right time.”
Seniors Jack Williams (13 points), Chris Cayton (10 points), Jermaine Davis (9 points) and Ashay Arora (seven points) all had solid games for the Eagles. All four are captains this year.
Will Gardner had 5 points, and Cole Streeter and Dinalli DeLoach each had 4 points and James Harrison had two points for the Eagles.
“Our four bigs that we rotated this game all scored and showed signs of looking to score this year and wanting the ball,” Lovelace said. “If we can get that inside presence and our guards look for them and our bigs are looking for the ball then we can score inside and outside this season.”
Chris Chavey, an excellent shooter, knocked down five triples, including four in the first half, and finished with a team-high 17 points for the Irish. Jacob Tenbush scored all of his 10 points in the second half.
“This season we are hoping to have consistent defensive pressure in man, zone and pressing and hopefully doing well on rebounding,” Lovelace said. “In this opening game we were able to pressure the ball pretty well and we need to continue to work on our team defense off the ball with players in man, zone and pressing. Our press had good energy overall when we ran it.
“Having a large number of returning players allows us to play some man and zone at this point while still being pretty good in their responsibilities.”
Skyline will keep busy. They play today (Friday, Feb. 12) at home against Monroe and are trying to line up a game for Saturday. And then comes rivalry week for the Eagles with games on Tuesday (at Pioneer) and next Friday (home vs. Huron).