Bulldogs roll L’Essor to face Villanova in semis

 

By Joel Charron

 

They played good in stretches and bad in other but the General Amherst Sr. boys’ basketball team got the job done.

Despite a slow start, the Bulldogs muscled their way to a convincing 66-38 WECSSAA quarterfinal win over L’Essor Friday evening.

The Bulldogs struggled through the opening frame but still managed to hold a 15-10 lead heading into the second quarter where they began to  pull away from L’Essor.

Amherst held outscored L’Essor 20-7 for and built 35-17 halftime lead.

The Bulldogs stepped it up in the third, keeping the visitors under lead point in the quarter and put it in cruise control in the fourth for the win.

Head coach Dom Silvaggio said he is pleased to see his team moving on but was disappointed with the Bulldogs effort on defense.

 

Amherst’s Joel Wilson (white jersey) attempts to block a shot of  a L’Essor shooter.

Amherst’s Joel Wilson (white jersey) attempts to block a shot of a L’Essor shooter.

“It looked like we were just going through the motions,” said Silvaggio. “Our defensive intensity was not there.”

The longtime Amherst head coach believes the Bulldogs were already thinking about a semi final matchup with heated rival Villanova.

“I think they (Amherst) just thought we could just go through the motions and we would probably win the ball game,” he said. “That’s a bad habit to get into, especially at this time of the year.”

Amherst guard Dylan Jaber admits the team did not come into the game as focused as they should have.

“We played lazy ball in the first quarter,” said Jaber. “We weren’t exactly focused on this game. We were definitely looking ahead.”

He added the team started to regain their focus after the first quarter.

“When the score was 15-10, we just told ourselves that this was unacceptable and started to pick it up,” stated Jaber.

Where the defense lacked, it was made up for in offensive rebounding.

Silvaggio said Joel Wilson and Todd Girard were “very aggressive” on the offensive glass.

“That’s a good sign because we’ve been trying to get them to do that all year,” he said.

The win set up an interesting matchup against Villanova. Neither team played each other in the regular season but Silvaggio said Villanova was one of the teams in the beginning of the season he thought could contend for a title.

Silvaggio joked he does not know if the Amherst/Villanova rivalry is as intense as it once was, however Jaber

Max Reiner dives after a loose ball.

Max Reiner dives after a loose ball.

ensure it is.

“It’s what everyone has been looking forward to,” said Jaber. “We’ve been talking about it, the Twitter feed has been heavy. It’s a game both teams have been waiting for.”

Bulldogs will host the visiting Villanova Wildcats Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. for a spot in the WECSSA final Saturday night at the WFCU Centre.

“It should be a very good game. Who ever comes to play will win the game,” said Silvaggio.

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