By Brandon Judeh
The only thing stealing the headline from the Fitch Falcon boys basketball team’s season-opening victory against Alliance, 62-55, was the unconventional second quarter they had.
After a high-flying first quarter, that saw the Falcons take a 25-22 lead, Fitch head coach Brian Beany decided to flip the switch.
“Alliance went to a zone defense in the second quarter, so we decided to slow things down and hold the ball,” Beany said.
Slowing things down is an understatement.
“I would have had my team hold it for the entire quarter if we could have,” Beany said.
The Falcons milked the clock, shaving about three minutes off the scoreboard.
The result was a quarter that saw the Falcons outscore the Aviators 4-1.
Alliance (1-1) scored their lone point with 1.2 seconds left in the half.
“It didn’t really throw us off our rhythm, we just wanted to get back and play some zone defense because in the first quarter we pressed them and they shredded it,” said Alliance head coach Larry Kukura.
Alliance refused to go away after the tough second quarter as they fought their way back into the game in the third quarter.
Led by junior JJ Kukura’s 22 points and five boards the Aviators found themselves down only three heading into the final period.
In the end it was too much Fitch down the stretch as they pulled away late in the fourth quarter.
“They are a well coached team, Jessie Driver is a good player, but we played bad defense tonight, we need to work on guarding the ball,” said Larry Kukura.
At the head of the charge for the Falcons was 6-foot-4 junior and first-year starter Alex DiFrancesco.
DiFrancesco scored 12 points and grabbed a game high 11 rebounds and he says he owes it all to his coaches.
“This win reflects are coaches, they have done a great job preparing us for this since May,” DiFrancesco said.
Also having a monster game for Fitch was Driver who scored a team high 19 points, grabbed 7 boards and added two steals.
“This was a huge win, to be able to share this win with my teammates is great, we are a young team, but I know we are going to get through it,” DiFrancesco said.
Fitch shot 62.5 percent (25 of 40) from the field while holding Alliance to just 40 percent shooting.
The Falcons also more than doubled up the Aviators on the glass, outrebounding Alliance, 25-12.
Austin Hogan scored 11 points for the Falcons while teammates Gabe Chepke and Quincy Higgins each scored nine.