Young Shepaug boys basketball team off to strong start
Published 10:58 pm, Tuesday, January 12, 2016
The Shepaug Valley boys basketball team has overcome its inexperience to get off to a fast start this season.
The Spartans (4-2) have already had a nice win streak and captured the title of their holiday tournament while getting halfway to a Class S state tournament berth.
Senior co-captains Clayton Schneider and Ryan Lamay are back and are the lone seniors on the roster. The pair of three-year starters are helping the Spartans win games while guiding the newcomers through their first extended exposure to varsity competition.
“We have two solid co-captains in Clayton and Ryan and everyone else is really in their first full varsity season,” Shepaug coach Matt Lefevre said. “So far, we are encouraged by the way we work and how the young guys are developing.”
Shepaug opened the season with a 71-57 loss to defending Berkshire League champion Northwestern before ripping off four straight wins, including the championship of the Shepaug Holiday tournament
Schneider had a game-high 18 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Spartans and Ryan LaMay added 17 points in the win.
But after beating O’Brien Tech, Shepaug’s winning streak came to an end Friday at Thomaston.
“Winning four in a row is something we haven’t done in a long while at Shepaug,” Lefevre said. “So from the standpoint of a 4-2 start, that’s a good start for us, certainly.”
“Thomaston came out and you have to give them credit, they played a terrific game,” Lefevre said. “They knocked down their shots and their defense was very good.”
Thomaston led 19-15 after the first quarter, but it was a rough second quarter that put the game out of reach. The Bears outscored the Spartans 19-8 in the second quarter to take a 38-23 lead at the break.
It proved to be too much of a deficit to overcome despite some hot shooting from Kyle and Ryan Lamay. Kyle hit four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points while Ryan made a pair from beyond the arc and led the Spartans with 22 points. Schneider added 10 for Shepaug.
“I liked the fight in our guys and we certainly played until the end, which is what we want to do no matter what,” Lefevre said. “It’s one of those nights where are shots weren’t going down.”
“We didn’t have a real goal about wins or losses, but our goal is to keep improving the quality of our play,” Lefevre said. “We lost our first game and came back to win our holiday tournament and that was very, very important to us. Now I want us to come out in our next game and play well and just take it one game at a time. We have been getting better step by step and getting experience.”
With a young team, there is a learning curve and at times some rough patches. The game againstThomaston was an example of both but it can be an experience the team learns from in the long run.
“We need to have more confidence offensively and shoot open shots,” Lefevre said. “We also have to play through our tough periods when we are not shooting the ball well and be disciplined on offense to make sure we are getting good shots. All things that come with experience.”
The Spartans have already shown Lefevre plenty of good things and are developing a toughness that will serve them well the rest of the season.
“We have been very tenacious and in our last three wins we have been down in each game, sometimes by double digits and we just fought back in each game and just keep at them,” Lefevre said. “It’s a real positive of theirs, they are a great group of hard workers and they don’t quit.”