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Another Take on Boys Basketball

Beyond The Numbers: Vikings Rebound With Huge Win Over Newark Catholic

According to the stat line, Academy got mauled on the boards, 35-16. Newark Catholic collected 15 offensive rebounds, 6 of which came in the fourth quarter.

Through the first 16 minutes of play, the two teams combined for just 21 points. In a game where points were so hard to come by, such an edge would usually be insurmountable.

Instead, the Vikings outmuscled and outhustled Newark Catholic, beating them at their own game, en route to a 38-31 victory.

The key to victory?

“Defense. It all starts on the defensive side,” states, senior captain, Jared Harris.

Academy absolutely shut down Newark Catholic’s offense, holding the Green Wave under 10 points for three of the four quarters, combining stifling perimeter closeouts with a formidable interior presence in senior forward Aakaash Paladugu, who recorded a block. At half-time, the Vikings led 15-6.

The Vikings disrupted Newark Catholic’s offense the entire night and never allowed them feel comfortable in the half-court sets. Academy generated 20 turnovers in the game. Over the course of a 24 minute game, that translates to one take-away every 72 seconds.

Harris led the way, singlehandedly pick-pocketing Newark Catholic’s players 5 times, while fellow captain Hart Wise drew a pair of charges, as Academy amassed a +11 turnover margin.

Head coach Jeff Warstler noted that, “From the last time we played them, our defensive intensity was much higher, and the guys played physical and made plays.”

Coming out of halftime, Newark Catholic heated up for a moment, scoring 17 points in the third period-before Academy clamped down and shut the door on the rally.

Forward Dan Aronowitz, the team’s leading scorer and third captain, put an end to the nonsense, scoring 11 of Academy’s 14 points in the final period on 4 of 5 shooting to kill the comeback.

It’s hard to argue with the sweetness of revenge after this type of performance, as Academy avenged a 60-51 overtime loss to the Green Wave earlier in the season. Academy’s only other loss, earlier in the week against Bloom-Carroll, only provided further motivation.

Now, the Vikings (10-2, 7-1 MSL) find themselves atop their division, and this marquee victory provides a huge boost as they make their push into the post-season.

“I think this win will definitely make people have to take another look at us,” remarked Warstler, though he cautioned against overemphasizing the importance of a single game.

Harris echoed his coach’s sentiments, stressing, “It gives us great confidence, but we still need to continue to get better going into the post-season and not get ahead of ourselves.”

Written by Andy Li’13



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