Tonawanda News — Becoming a player that Hughes could look to in order to perform in crucial situations was something that Stich needed to do following the graduations of former players like Jesse Lalka and Clayton Hess. The former Warriors were two of the three highest-scoring players in school history, and were also great leaders for the Warriors.
Stich, according to Hughes, became a natural fit to succeed Lalka and Hess as a team captain.
“Ben’s really become an extension of me on the court,” Hughes said. “He has a high basketball I.Q. He always understands how to handle game situations when most kids in high school don’t. I put a lot of trust into him, and when he comes to me with suggestions, I listen to him. He has a good feel for the game, and he’s very rarely wrong.”
Stich said that Lalka and Hess each made a tremendous impact on how he has evolved as a player and as a leader.
“When Jesse was here, he really showed the guys on this team how to work hard every day,” Stich said. “I think he really believed in the saying that ‘If you work hard, good things will come.’ His work ethic really rubbed off on everyone and made everyone want to keep up with him.
“Clayton was a very competitive guy,” Stich continued. “Maybe the only person I know who is as competitive as him is my brother (Steve Stich). He also had a calmness to him and a quiet confidence that helped the guys stay loose in big moments. I think what I took from them more than anything are their work habits and their ability to keep guys composed in big games by letting my play do the talking.”
Since picking up where his predecessors left off, Stich has become one of ECIC IV’s best point guards and has developed a solid outside shot. He’ll need his best attributes to be in full form if he intends to lead the Warriors beyond the Class B-1 Quarterfinals on Friday night and to the semifinals at Buffalo State.