Knights setting a new tone
Published 10:41 pm Friday, November 28, 2014
The Suffolk Christian Academy boys’ basketball team entered this season desiring improvement over its performance from recent years.
The Knights made a big stride toward that end with its 59-53 win over visiting Yeshivas Aish Kodesh Talmudical Academy on Monday.
“I thought we played pretty well,” said new Knights head coach Terry Leiter. “We got off to a really poor start in the first quarter, but then we got our heads together.”
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Leiter had served as assistant coach on the team for the past three years and was excited to witness this particular victory.
“This is the first time we’ve beaten (YAK) since I’ve been coaching with the school,” he said, adding it was also big for the Knights to win their first conference game of the season.
Leiter explained how they were able to turn things around after being down by double figures during the game.
“I think that we settled down and started controlling the ball better and not having so many turnovers,” he said, adding that his players got aggressive on offense, drawing fouls and converting their free throws.
The win puts SCA’s overall record at 2-2 for the season, halfway to the Knights’ 2013-14 win total when they went 4-18, with their season ending in the first round of the conference tournament via a 63-44 loss to Summit Christian Academy.
Leiter has been anticipating elevated competitiveness from the Knights this season.
“I feel like we’re going to have the most competitive season since I’ve been involved,” he said. “We’re trying to carry forward with what Coach Ron (Carr) started as far as trying to be consistent and teaching fundamentals.”
Suffolk Christian presses on this season without senior center/forward Noah Nickert, who graduated, and junior guard Eric Habecker, who moved away.
However, seven players have returned from last year’s squad. Leiter cited four of those returnees as his foremost standouts this year.
Leading the four is senior Nathan Leiter, who had 23 points and nine rebounds against Yeshivas Aish Kodesh.
He floats between point and shooting guard but can also play forward.
“He’s pretty versatile,” the coach said. He also complimented Nathan’s poise. “He helps settle everybody’s nerves and makes everybody play with more confidence.”
Junior forward/guard Steven Effler drew praise from Coach Leiter for his intensity of effort, always giving it 100 percent.
The coach said, “Just being a real focused guy that way and really pushing himself is what I would say is his strongest attribute.”
Effler poured in 22 points and eight rebounds against YAK.
Center/forward Barton Metzgar makes a difference with his play down low and his poise.
“He’s a great rebounder and just also one of those guys who helps to settle the team’s nerves,” Coach Leiter said.
Junior guard Michael Cornette will be counted on to limit opponents.
“Michael really, really puts a lot of effort into defense,” the coach said.
Two particular up-and-comers that could develop quickly include sophomore center/forward Joel Blasiole and sophomore forward/guard Chaz Stone.
SCA (2-2, 1-0) will visit conference foe Summit Christian Academy on Thursday.