Meadville Tribune

March 14, 2013

BOYS BASKETBALL: Defense lifts Sailors over Centurions

By Pete Chiodo
ANDREW MAHONE/Meadville Tribune

SHARON — It’s no wonder that the Lakeview boys basketball team keeps winning. One can see it by the smiles on the players’ faces before, during and after the games: These guys are having the time of their lives.

And the party keeps rolling after the Sailors downed No. 4-ranked Greensburg Central Catholic 49-41 in a PIAA Class AA second-round matchup held Wednesday at Sharon High School.

“This is the best feeling in the world,” said Sailors senior Casey Greggs. “All season we played kind of uptight and pressured. But once playoffs came, we just un-knitted it and we’re just playing. We’re rolling. We’re on a heater, man.”

The Sailors improved to 23-4 with the victory and now move on to Saturday’s quarterfinal round of the state playoffs where they will face No. 1-ranked Beaver Falls, which defeated Mercyhurst Prep last night 53-39. A time and location for the game will be announced later.

“Elite Eight, that’s what’s up,” said Lakeview guard Zach Van Dusen. “We’re overjoyed. We’re just coming out here and we’re having fun and we’re winning games. And we’re going to keep going until somebody stops us.”

Van Dusen played a major role defensively for Lakeview last night. Greensburg had two big weapons that worried Sailors head coach Gary Burke — guards Zach Herman and Brian Graytok. They came into the game averaging around 20 points a night each.

Against the Sailors, Graytok, who was covered mostly by Greggs, came close to his        average scoring 18, although his feared transition scoring was limited to only a few buckets.

No one else hit double figures for the Centurions. Herman, who was manned usually by Van Dusen, was held to just seven points.

“And three of them were (scored) on a freshman,” said Van Dusen.

“I have to give it to Zach Van Dusen,” said Greggs. “(Herman) is a shooting machine. He’s quick. And Zach shut him down. It was huge. That was Zach’s biggest game of the year and I don’t even know if he scored a point.”

Van Dusen scored two points, actually. And this came after a scary moment for the Sailors early in the first when Van Dusen left the game limping.

“First possession, I got a knee right in the thigh,” said Van Dusen. “But we got it rubbed down and we were good the rest of the game.”

Van Dusen returned to action half a minute later and went on to stifle Herman and the Centurions’ offense.

“We said if we could cut one of those guys (Herman or Graytok) in half, then we had a chance,” said Burke. “The defensive efforts that Dalton Boggs and Zach had were the greatest individual defensive efforts that we’ve seen in a long time here at Lakeview. But couple that with the fact that was probably one of the best team defensive efforts, to help Casey and Zach, that we’ve ever seen here at Lakeview. It was incredible. Every guy knew exactly where they needed to be the entire night.”

The Sailors also did things a little differently on offense, which helped them break the game open in the fourth quarter.

Up until then it was nip-and-tuck. Neither team led by more than six points until the fourth quarter. Lakeview held a 10-6 lead in the first quarter. Greensburg had a 22-18 lead at the end of the first half. Otherwise, it was a one-or-two possession game the rest of the night.

All of that changed in the fourth quarter when Lakeview, trailing 36-34, went on a 12-point scoring run to take a 46-36 lead with 1:16 to play.

No more back-and-forth; Greensburg was done.

“We started really moving on offense and playing their switches and got three or four open layups in a row,” said Greggs.

What was the plan?

“We got a plan last night at about 5 o’clock,” said Burke. “I said, ‘Guys, let’s try the 20 offense and see what happens.’ And that’s what got us all our layups and back-cuts against these guys.

“It’s a high set, get-them-off-of-us, relieve-some-pressure offense. And our guys just executed as well as they have all season long. We haven’t used this 20 offense since, oh, July. But we’ve used it over the last couple years. And our guys just found a great comfort zone when we went to the 20. (GCC) wasn’t able to pressure us one-on-one. Our kids slipped screens, they moved. And our kids made the passes and finished the plays to give us the biggest win we’ve ever had.”

Forward Coty Gander ended up leading the Sailors on the scoreboard with 15 points. Greggs scored 14 points and had seven assists to go along with four steals. Dalton Boggs added 11 points. And Brandon Rice scored seven markers with a team-high seven rebounds.