Ford City boys basketball team will rely on more scorers
By Bill West
Published: Monday, Nov. 26, 2012
A year ago, Ford City coach Greg Hutcherson had less than two months before the season opener to get to know his players, but he benefited from the fact that the Sabers featured a strong, ready-to-run senior class.
Hutcherson had a whole offseason to prepare for season No. 2. And he made certain that none of it went to waste.
At its coach's behest, Ford City headed to the gym early and often in the summer and fall. The Sabers have just three players with significant varsity experience and are underclassmen-heavy, so they need several unproven team members to become major contributors by the start of Section 1-AA play.
“Last year, at this time, even by the first week, we knew who our guys were going to be,” said Hutcherson, whose Sabers went 13-10 overall and lost to Aliquippa in the WPIAL Class AA prelims. “There are a lot of spots that a couple young guys can step up and fill this year.”
Particularly during Ford City's first few games, senior guard David Lattanzio, junior guard Jesse Sequeira and sophomore forward Blake Bower will accept much of the crunch-time pressure. Each started a season ago. However, all three shouldered fewer responsibilities then, particularly as scorers.
“We just need everyone to become more of team leaders and make everyone around us better,” Sequeira said. “It's tough not having Jon Shanty as a leader to help us. If everything broke down, he was able to create. And it's a lot different without him here.”
With the graduation of Shanty (20.1 points per game), the Sabers lack a go-to shooter. The departures of guard Martin Brison and forward Hunter Bower didn't help either, as both factored heavily in the defensive end.
Carbon copies of those players aren't necessary to sustain success, Hutcherson emphasized.
“I stressed to them that we don't need you to be Jon Shanty,” Hutcherson said. “I don't need Blake Bower to be Hunter Bower. We just need them to play as a team and fit into the system, and on any given night, anyone can get 20. But every night, if each guy gets 10 or 15, then we can be successful, so that's what we're preaching this year.”
Ford City will stick with the fast-paced style Hutcherson introduced a season ago. Senior guard Andrew Labutka steps in to handle point guard duties, and sophomore Noah Nulph shows promise as a secondary ball-handler.
Junior Mike Foster, a Kittanning transfer, and freshman Brandon Heilman — two players taller than 6-foot-1 — bolster the frontcourt.
Those two additions to the team created some new confidence among the Sabers.
“We just always feel like we have a chance to win every single game,” Lattanzio said.
“With losing Jon and Hunter and Martin and all of them, people think we're going to do bad,” Blake Bower said, “and I think they're going to be mistaken.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-543-1303.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.