Tonawanda News — For many high school athletes, basketball is a passion. For North Tonawanda guard Joe Piotrowski, it’s a way of life.
He picked up the game from his father, Daryle Piotrowski, who played at McKinley and then for a few years at Niagara County Community College. The junior is averaging 8.3 points, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game this season and has recently elevated his game to an even higher level for the Lumberjacks (9-7, 8-4 NFL).
Piotrowski said his work ethic comes from his dad.
“He’s the one that got me into basketball. He pushed me all summer, and he’s the one that if I didn’t feel like getting up he made sure I was going to the park or telling me to get out in the driveway because I had to shoot — because other (players) are working hard (too),” Piotrwoski said.
On Tuesday night, NT won its eighth NFL game against Niagara-Wheatfield in a close contest that came down to the final minutes. Piotrowski led the Jacks to victory with 10 points in the fourth quarter on a pair of 3-pointers and a perfect 4 of 4 from the free throw line.
NT coach Ryan Mountain said Piotrowski, who suffered a broken nose after a preseason scrimmage, has been getting better every week this season.
He hasn’t missed a single game.
“Early in the season I think Joe put a lot of pressure on himself — that he had to come in and be the main scorer. With Ian (Gilhousen) being down we could see he was kind of pushing a bit, but throughout the season he’s added a little bit to his game in terms of balance. Now he’s starting to see the game in slower motion, which was evident in the fourth quarter against Nia.-Wheatfield.”
Piotrowski is a leader on and off the court for the Jacks. He played most of his sophomore season on the varsity team and was able to learn from players like Corey Mis and Joe Curry, and attributes his ability to lead to the seniors from last year’s team.