By Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — It’s been a rough start to the season for the Kenmore East boys basketball team. After three close losses to start the year (by a combined 11 points), the Bulldogs (0-4, 0-2 NFL) ran into arguably the most dangerous team in the NFL on Wednesday night, and the Wolverines won big, 90-38.
Kenmore East coach Jay Robbins said after the game that it’s been tough to build any kind of confidence because of the disappointing start.
”It’s demoralizing that we lost the three close games at the beginning of the year,” he said. “Games that you need to win so you can develop that winning attitude and mentality. When you don’t win those you start thinking that you’re going to lose. If you think you’re going to lose you most likely will.”
The Bulldogs are led by seniors Deion Brown and Pat Schroeder and both have played well in spots early this season. Brown took over, especially in the first half, against the Wolverines and finished with a team-high 19 points.
Niagara Falls tends to have a mental advantage over most of its opponents before they even step onto the court because of its reputation and garnered media attention. Robbins said that when a team is up against those factors, the last thing it wants to do is play scared.
”I’m looking for guys that aren’t scared to play,” he said. “If you want to go anywhere or do anything you can’t be scared to lose. Deion didn’t look afraid (against Niagara Falls). I think he looked pretty good.”
The tallest players on the roster are a pair of 5-foot-11 seniors: Michael Crawford and Joe Cole. Both players are usually paired up with the opposition’s bigs and dealing with 6-footers on a regular basis can take its toll. Robbins said that more guys have to step up and be able to contribute scoring for the team to be competitive.
Seniors John Becker and Shawne Boyette also play significant minutes for the Bulldogs, as well as Adam Geib and sophomore Andy Fields off the bench.
Next up for Kenmore East is North Tonawanda (1-5, 0-2 NFL) in NT tonight at 7 p.m. Robbins said that if his kids play well they have a shot in every game they play.
”NT is big and physical and they’ll play a 2-3 zone, so it’s going to come down to can you make shots against the zone and can we box out a little bit and keep them off the boards,” he said. “I think we have a chance to beat NT and everyone else if we play well. But it’s hard to play well when your confidence is hurting and your undersized.”