The Fayetteville-Manlius bench got the chills when they looked up at the scoreboard at the end of the first quarter and saw that they were down 14-4 in the game against a beatable Henninger team.
When all was said and done, the 14-4 deficit turned into a 57-45 loss for the visiting Hornets, who had experienced similar games and have seen underwhelming first quarter performances dictate the result of the game in the past,
The second quarter watched the Hornets get outscored by two points and then both teams scored 30 points in the second half of play, but, Henninger’s explosive first quarter provided the energy that would keep the home crowd engaged throughout the game.
And they would have some help with that. Henninger’s band added to the atmosphere when they would do their thing any chance that they got, including, at halftime, when the drummers prevented you from hearing the person next to you.
The true away atmosphere allowed F-M’s head coach, Jason Dudzinski, and his assistant, Ziare Coore, to demonstrate the importance of a supportive bench in high school basketball.
Alex Bychkov took that into consideration and provided a spark off the bench, hoping that it would ignite his team. Bychkov scored some of F-M’s first points and ended up with seven points in the game.
The number seven also made its way into the box score for Timmy Zapisek, who has been a huge asset for the Hornets. Zapisek scored seven points and wasn’t able to connect from long range, something that was a struggle for the entire F-M team.
Zapisek wasn’t the only one who struggled from long range. Dudzinski’s team didn’t see one of their three-point attempts go through the basket.
His fellow senior, Jawaan Crouch, had a pretty good night offensively. Crouch scored 16 points and was being challenged by his coaches to improve his game on the defensive end.
But, neither Crouch or his teammates had an easy task on the defensive end. Henninger’s offense was simple and was based around players like Jaden Graves, who finished the game with 20 points.
F-M’s struggles throughout the night were magnified by Graves, his teammates and their head coach, Gil Speights.