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Falcons look to improve after break

December 26, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Ever since star scorer A.J. Green went down with an injury earlier this season, it has been a struggle for the Fitch boys basketball team to find some offense.

That inability to put the ball into the basket has buried the Falcons behind the eight ball as the end of the calendar year approaches. Fitch has started 2018/2019 winless, as a well-needed Christmas break commenced last Wednesday. The Falcons have nine days off before battling Alliance at home on Dec. 28.

"We have a good break coming up," said Fitch head coach Brian Beany after his team's sixth straight setback last week. "We really need to take some time off, relax and refresh. We'll get back at it Wednesday for two good days of practice for Alliance."

The latest in Fitch's string of loses was a 46-39 loss at Cardinal Mooney on Dec. 18. Mooney jumped out to a 12-7 first quarter lead and never looked back. Sophomore Todd Simons paced the Falcons in scoring with 17 points. Junior Lorenzo Russo scored eight points.

Four nights earlier Fitch fell to visiting Poland 61-42. Once again the Falcons trailed from the beginning and never won any of the four quarters. Simons sizzled again for the Falcons with a team-high 20 points.

On Dec. 10, the Falcons traveled to Erie and were turned away by McDowell 46-42. This game was one of the best Coach Beany's boys have played since Green went down. Fitch won the first period and only trailed by a hoop at halftime. A 15-7 run by the Falcons to start the second half had them leading heading into the final frame. Alas, McDowell dominated the fourth quarter and pulled out the four-point win. Leading scorers for the Falcons were senior Tommy Leskovac with 15 points, Simons with 14 points and junior Kris Brown with 13. The strong performances by Leskovac and Brown were counted on, but Beany has been pleasantly pleased with how Simons has shown up in Green's absence.

"(Simons) has been doing a great job," said Beany. "Leskovac and Brown are our only two players with really any varsity experience. We don't expect them to make up for all of A.J.'s loss. We need some scoring from other people too."

Despite having three more losses, Beany was staying positive because of how much his group has grown since Week 1.

"We really have shown improvement," Beany said. "We lost to a good McDowell team by four points and we hung in there against Poland. The kids are battling and are really showing a lot of effort."

The Fitch kids are also doing well on the defensive side of the court as of late and that has their coach hopeful it can lead to better results.

"We've only given up an average of 52 points per game over our last four games," Beany said. "Playing good defense is going to keep us in games until the offense comes around."

Alliance hasn't really been burning up the courts much so far this season either. It only had one win entering its contest against North Canton Hoover on December 21. Perhaps a dose of the Aviators is exactly the medicine the ailing Falcons need to get on track. A shot of confidence will do wonders for Beany's bunch as the rough All American Conference schedule starts full strength on January 4 at Boardman.

"We know we can do it," said Beany. "We just need to get that first (win) and then we can get things rolling."

 
 

 

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