It has been a while since the Austintown Fitch boys basketball team has taken the court for an actual game.
The last time the Falcons have faced enemy competition was almost two weeks ago on Jan. 15 at Canton GlenOak. Fitch fell in that road game, 90-51 to stay winless in the Federal League. The time off since that contest and Fitch’s next match with Hudson on Jan. 26 has given head coach Jason Baker the opportunity to work out some of the kinks that have twisted his team’s season so far.
“We have worked a lot on fundamentals,” said Baker before an early week workout. “We need to get better in transition. Good transition play is key (in the Federal League).”
Lack of any good play, transition or otherwise, did in the Falcons against GlenOak. Due to the discrepancy in scoring, GlenOak was able to get plenty of its roster into the game. Ten different Eagles entered the scoring column as they shot nearly 60 percent from the floor and 47 percent from the three-point line. A 12-1 run by the Eagles to end the first quarter turned a one-point lead into double-digit blowout.
The Falcons did get three players into double-figures led by Jahwuan Peete who had 14 points. DeAndre Richardson went for 12 points. Ty Underwood totaled 10 points. It is the players that Fitch will not have the rest of the season, however, that may have made the most news.
Terry Terrigno has been playing with a bum shoulder and will have season-ending surgery in early February. Sophomore Will Mahone, who has been nearly unstoppable on offense all year, has made a personal decision to leave the team. In this dark time, Baker will need his other remaining players to take on greater responsibility.
“Other kids will have to step up,” Baker insisted. “We need to learn from this and control what we can control.”
Sometimes in tough times a team will get a lift from an unexpected source. Baker cites six-foot, four-inch freshman Billy Price as a possible candidate. It was about this same time last season when then freshman Mahone made everyone in Austintown take notice. Perhaps this year the Price will be the right one.
“He is starting to get more playing time and doing a good job,” said Baker.
After the road game at Hudson, the Falcons go back to trying to win their initial Federal League game Jan. 29 at Massillon Perry. Another trip to Massillon to joust with Jackson is on Feb. 5. Hopefully by then, Fitch’s transition will begin.