Those were the two words that Fayetteville-Manlius head coach Jason Dudzinski used to rejuvenate his team after the first half ended and Utica Proctor was in the midst of a 14-1 run.
Despite suffering a 61-46 defeat in the end, F-M found ways to make this loss valuable to its season, especially in the second half, when the team made a collective decision to keep fighting and gave Proctor all they had.
Though the Hornets couldn’t erase the remains of that run, they didn’t give up on themselves and kept trying to break down the door, even when the clock was winding down.
That persistence is something that Dudzinski first reacted to when he gathered his troops after the game, as he said that this is a good start to the season and talked about how important that will be throughout the year.
“Remember this feeling,” Dudzinski said in the postgame huddle, “it’s a long season and this is only the first game. We are a pretty good team.”
And they were pretty good in this game. The Hornets were stumbling on the aspect of the game that people think is easy, but were excelling at the part of basketball that nobody likes.
They were doing a good job on defense, but just couldn’t buy a bucket of their own. And, yes, some of the offensive struggles were due to poor choice on their part, but, other times, it was just bad luck.
F-M missed a few layups, but going to the basket was still a priority in Dudzinski’s eyes. The head coach teaches his team that layups have more positive possibilities than jump shots do and continued to encourage his guys to go to the rim.
When it comes down to it, there was just no rhythm. The Hornets kept on taking jump shots rather than driving to the hoop. They allowed the few layups that were going in and out to convince them that the simple things were difficult.
The only Hornets to get into double-figures were Khai Pugh and Brad Procita, who had 15 and 13 points, respectively.
This weekend, both F-M and Proctor are playing in the Peppino’s Invitational at Onondaga Community College. Friday night, F-M faces Christian Brothers Academy and Proctor is off and then on Saturday, F-M matches up with Rome Free Academy while Proctor meets Corcoran.