Knights make gains, despite 0-3 tourney run

Published 10:09 pm Friday, December 26, 2014

The Suffolk Christian Academy boys’ basketball team dealt with injuries and tough competition during the Peninsula Catholic Holiday Classic that ran Dec. 20-22, going 0-3.

“I knew coming in that it was going to be a tough tournament to play in, even if we had everybody,” Knights coach Terry Leiter said.

For all three games, injury sidelined one of the Knights’ top players, junior forward/guard Steven Effler.

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Leiter said he knew this would make things more difficult than normal, so he gave his team a specific focus going into the tourney.

“Win or lose, we want to go in here, have some fun, play some ball and get development of guys like Joel (Blasiole), some of the other guys that don’t play as many minutes and are just starting out,” Leiter said. “If we can get their game to start to come along, by the end of the season, hopefully we can kind of come together as a team and be a much stronger team.”

Sophomore forward/guard Chaz Stone and sophomore center/forward Joel Blasiole were two of the Knights who got additional experience during the course of the tourney.

In its final game of the eight-team tournament, Suffolk Christian fell 77-65 to Alliance Christian Academy on Monday. The Knights were without Effler and another key injured player, junior forward Barton Metzgar.

Leading SCA in scoring was senior guard/forward Nathan Leiter with 20 points. Junior guard Michael Cornette had 14, and Stone produced an impressive 18 points.

Stone was a particularly surprising star given that he was lacking his contact lenses and struggles to see without them.

“And so the second game, he didn’t play at all, and I was like, ‘Look, even if you can’t see, we need you,’” Coach Leiter said.

Noting Stone played really well, the coach said, “Without being able to see as well, it was like he focused more on taking the ball inside and taking short shots, and he got lots of tip-ins off of missed shots, he just was in the right place at the right time.”

Stone had previously scored 19 points in a game, but reached that with the help of three-pointers.

Leiter said that on Monday, “I really thought he played a more versatile all-around game.”

The loss dropped Suffolk Christian to 3-9 overall, but Leiter was happy that his team will be able to play Alliance Christian again later in the season, “hopefully when we’ve got everybody healthy.”

On Sunday, the Knights fell to Isle of Wight Academy 62-28. The high scorer for the game was Chargers junior forward Bryce Casey with 16 points. His teammate, senior guard Samuel Butler, had a season-high 12 points, all of which came from three-pointers.

For Suffolk Christian, which was without Effler, Metzgar and Stone, Cornette scored 11 points and Leiter added 10.

The Knights faced the Chargers to open the season and fell then 66-36.

“The one thing I felt that we improved on even without Steven and Barton and Chaz being in the game, is we handled the pressure of them pressing us better,” Leiter said.

On Saturday, StoneBridge School won 65-55 against SCA, which was without senior forward/guard Alex Griffith in addition to Effler.

But Metzgar and sophomore forward/center Matthew Shaffer shined.

“I think they each had 17 rebounds,” Leiter said.

Metzgar also had an impressive block in the game, pinning the ball against the backboard to kill a fast break, but when he came down, he landed on another player’s foot, injuring his ankle.

Suffolk Christian returns to action on Jan. 2 in a tournament that takes place in Elizabeth City, N.C.