Effler brings the effort
Published 9:02 pm Saturday, December 6, 2014
Suffolk Christian Academy junior forward/guard Steven Effler has a clear team goal he would like to see accomplished on the basketball court this season.
“As a team, I would absolutely love to establish Suffolk Christian’s name,” he said.
He was alluding to a perception of opponents not taking the Knights very seriously and his desire to turn that around. He earned the title of Duke Automotive-Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week after contributing to a big win that should help make that turnaround happen.
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The Knights have struggled on the court in the recent past, and they have not won in years against talented conference foe Yeshivas Aish Kodesh Talmudical Academy. Early on in the teams’ latest meeting, a game on Nov. 24 at the Liberty Outreach Center, that trend did not seem likely to change.
Effler noted SCA fell behind 27-9 at one point. But later, the Knights showed what they are capable of, and they recovered. They scored 25 points in the fourth quarter alone and went on to win 59-53. Effler contributed 22 points and eight rebounds to the result.
“It felt good to really take it to them, but it was definitely a team effort,” he said.
He particularly highlighted senior point guard Nathan Leiter.
“He really helps me to get open shots to the basket.”
Commenting on Effler’s role in the game and on the team this season, Knights coach Terry Leiter said, “I thought he did really well, and he’s really come along really strongly this year, a big improvement from last year to this year. I think he’s just probably going to continue to really improve throughout this season.”
Effler’s basketball career got started thanks to his best friend who has lived across the street from him for years.
In terms of hoops, “he taught me pretty much everything I know” along with Coach Leiter, Effler said.
That friend happens to be Nathan Leiter, who recalled how he and Steven always played soccer together. Then Leiter picked up basketball.
“Once I started getting into it, he started trying it out,” Leiter said.
Effler and Leiter played on a basketball hoop in Leiter’s driveway.
“It was just for fun,” Leiter said. Later on, “We started playing at the local community center together.”
Effler started playing organized basketball as a freshman for the Knights, then known as the Crusaders, and he said he was really nervous at the beginning.
Later in the season, Leiter went out with an injury. Effler filled a forward role in the starting lineup and had to put in a lot of effort and step up. Rather than rattling him further, these circumstances emboldened him.
“It was just a whole other ball game because I felt like my nerves were gone,” he said.
When Leiter returned, Effler was better equipped to play with him.
Leiter gave his appraisal of Effler’s play this year.
“He’s way stronger,” Leiter said. “He’s always been an athlete, but he’s really developed his basketball game, and he has a real natural hand-eye coordination.”