Zephs win Classic opener
Whitehall’s path to the finals of the Zephyr Holiday Classic featured a smothering defense that put Faith Christian Academy’s offense in a deep freeze.
The game was close during the first quarter, but Whitehall began to steadily pull away, eventually taking a 34-15 lead into the break. The home team continued that offensive surge in the second, dropping 27 more points to win 61-17.
The victory put them in the finals against North Hunterdon, which defeated them by a point in last year’s deciding game. The Zephs exacted some revenge, defeating the Lions 61-58 to claim the championship.
Head coach Jeff Jones said that the lopsided victory against Faith Christian was achieved by playing man-to-man defense. The Lions initially started the game trading buckets with the Zephs, but Whitehall began to pull away, something that occurred without any defensive pressing. It was just the product of their style.
“Tonight we were more athletic and more skilled,” said Jones.
He also said that they took their time on offense and got the shots that they wanted.
Another benefit was the ability to insert a lot of players into the game.
“That was really important,” said Jones. “These guys don’t get a lot of playing time and work as hard as everybody else during the course of a season.”
That was accomplished during the first half as Whitehall had 11 players appear on the stat sheet. Dylan McGinley led the way with 19 points, while Joe Lisicky dropped in 11 for the Zephs.
Additionally, Marc Augustin chipped in with 10, while Tyler Holubowski netted nine, and Marcus Hamscher finished with four in the win.
Ian Werner and Tommy Buskirk each scored three points against the Lions, while Shyhiem Foster, Matt Lisicky, Zack Hartman and Bryce Bashore all finished with two points to round out the scoring for the Zephs.
While the defense stole the show in the opener of the Classic, Jones said that the message was to attack the rim on the offensive end.
“I thought we did a pretty good job with that,” said Jones. “I thought we had the athleticism advantage so let’s not settle for things, something we talked about, and we did a pretty good job of doing that.”
The win marked the third consecutive win for the Zephs. Jones said that in order to maintain that level of play, it comes down to simply “staying the course.”
He said that starts with practice, something they’ll do Saturday morning before they meet North Hunterdon in the finals later that evening. He said they do a lot of things well, and they’ll need to be sharp.
“It will be a good challenge for us,” said Jones.