Ben Pelger

Bulldogs back on the court for another boys basketball season

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys basketball team is back on the court for another season.

The Bulldogs are 0-2 after last week’s action, losing at home 54-28 to Villanova and 60-22 in Kingsville last Tuesday and Thursday respectively. Ben Pelger, who is a coach with both the senior and junior teams, said the senior team doesn’t have a lot of players right now.

General Amherst’s Nolan Crain puts up a shot against Lamothe-Cadillac during the consolation championship game of the Red Raider Classic in Essex Dec. 8.

“We’re down to eight players and we’re looking to get one or two juniors,” he said.

Pelger noted there are no players returning from last year’s senior team.

“That happens sometimes,” said Pelger.

The game against Villanova was tied at the half but “we couldn’t match their physicality.” The Bulldogs played well, he believed,.

“I think our speed and determination can be our strengths but unfortunately we’re not a tall team,” he said. “We need to work on our rebounding.”

The number of players is not an issue with the junior program, he indicated.

Matteo Palumbo (11, right) drives between two Lamothe-Cadillac defenders during the Red Raider Classic in Essex.

“This year, 40 juniors came out which was great,” said Pelger. “Obviously, they need to work on their skill level. They are willing to put in the effort and that’s great.”

The juniors have six players from last year’s team back again, he added, noting the experience should help.

The Grade 9’s and 10’s are helping each other get better, Pelger noted, as they learn to develop their skills and work together as a team.

The junior and senior teams were at home against Tecumseh Vista Academy after this issue of the River Town Times went to press. They are back on their home court again Thursday with the junior game at 4 p.m. and the senior game scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

Jr. Lady Gens advance to WECSSAA “AA” final but lose to Kingsville

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens junior girls basketball team made it to the WECSSAA “AA” final but came out on the short end of a 39-26 decision.

The Kingsville Cavaliers walked away as this year’s champions but there was not a lot of disappointment on the General Amherst side as this year’s team exceeded expectations.

“We said before the game about how many thought we’d make it this far,” said Greg Scott, who coached the team this year with Ben Pelger. “No one thought we would.”

The General Amherst Lady Gens made it to the WECSSAA “AA” final but lost 39-26 to Kingsville.

The Lady Gens kept it close in the first eight-minute quarter but the Cavaliers led 11-7. Kingsville would expand their advantage to 21-14 at the half and widened their lead further in the third quarter as they led 35-16 after three.

“It’s a great accomplishment to make it to the championship game,” said Scott. “You never know if you are ever going to make the championship game again so we told them to leave everything on the floor. We’re proud of the way things went. Ben and I enjoyed coaching the girls. They were a real pleasure to coach.”
Scott said the junior Lady Gens were polite and fun to coach, as the players went as far as to thank the coaches after practice. He said that while Kingsville plays together all year, the Lady Gens did well for only playing together in September and October.

The junior Lady Gens had three Grade 10 players and eight Grade 9 players and are hopeful for success next season if they get the eligible returning players to come back.

“We hope we can get back here again,” said Scott. “For the amount of time we had to work with them, they did a great job.”

Emma Pillon, who led General Amherst in the finals with 11 points, said they didn’t play as well as they could have early on but was happy with how the season went.

Emma Pillon (23) splits two defenders as she puts up a shot against Kingsville Sunday at St. Clair College.

“Overall, I thought we had a really good season,” said Pillon. “We went further than we thought we were going to go. We did really well.”

Pillon admitted it would have been better if they would have won Sunday’s game against Kingsville, played at the St. Clair College Sportsplex, but still was proud of how the junior Lady Gens performed.

“We grew a lot as a team this year,” said Pillon. “I thought we did very well.”

General Amherst got to the finals thanks to a pair of close wins on their home court last week. They defeated Catholic Central 27-22 in Thursday night’s semi-final while held on to beat Herman 26-24 last  Tuesday in a game where Herman mounted a comeback but saw the Lady Gens fight them off at the end.

Sr. Bulldogs spirits not dampened despite 0-10 basketball season

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys basketball season didn’t finish the year with the record they wanted but still managed to enjoy the experience.

The Bulldogs dropped a 72-32 decision to the Essex Red Raiders last Tuesday night in a game played at General Amherst High School. The Bulldogs held a 9-8 lead at one point in the first quarter but Essex finished the quarter strong and led 22-9 after the first eight minutes.

The Red Raiders lead ballooned to 33-19 at the half before pulling away further in the second half en route to the victory.

The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 0-10 and out of the playoffs. Essex finished the regular season with a 7-3 record.

The 2017-18 General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys basketball team concluded their season with a loss to the Essex Red Raiders last Tuesday night. The Bulldogs finished the season winless but still enjoyed their experiences with the team this year.

“We were just having fun, soaking it all in,” said Sebastian Hebert, one of the team’s seniors. “We were going for the win. It just kind of fell apart.”
Despite their record, Hebert said he had a fun year with his teammates.

“I’m glad we had a team,” he said. “I was just glad I could play.”

Hebert said that he didn’t know if he would enjoy basketball when he started in Grade 9.

“It turns out, I love it,” he said.

General Amherst head coach Ben Pelger said the final game against Essex was symbolic of how the entire season went.

“It was a tough season with a couple of good games,” he said.

Pelger said it was a lack of physical ability that held the Bulldogs back this season as they were unable to keep up with other teams.

Pelger also thanked the seniors for their leadership on this year’s team.

General Amherst’s Griffin Muzzin is pressured as he dribbles the ball up the court during last Monday evening’s WECSSAA senior boys basketball game. Essex defeated General Amherst 72-32 to drop the Bulldogs’ record to 0-10.

“We just have to go back to basics and work hard over the summer,” he said.

The season was still enjoyable, Pelger added, and said the support of parents and grandparents was appreciated.

“That’s something that’s really important for our community,” he said.

The junior Bulldogs, also coached by Pelger, finished the regular season with a 1-9 record.

“They worked hard and played to the best of their abilities,” he said. “We still don’t have the height to compete with the other teams. For a small team, they really had some close games.”

 

Bulldogs still work-in-progress on the basketball court

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys basketball team are still searching for their first win of the season after a pair of games last week.

The Bulldogs hosted the St. Joseph Lasers last Tuesday evening and lost 62-31. The game was close through one quarter as the Lasers only had an 11-9 lead after the first eight minutes. The lead grew to 25-15 by the half but the Lasers took control in the third quarter and outscored the Bulldogs 25-7 in the third to pull away.

“We started quite aggressively,” said General Amherst head coach Ben Pelger. “In the second half, we lost our intensity.”

Griffin Muzzin (11, left) looks for someone to pass to during Jan. 9 WECSSAA Tier 2 boys basketball action versus St. Joseph.

The physical nature of the Lasers was tough for the Bulldogs to handle in the second half, he added.

“We lost the battles under the boards,” he said.

Pelger said they need to work on boxing out and improving their shooting. The Bulldogs have good shooters, he added, but they haven’t had their best game yet.

The Bulldogs played hard defensively in the first half, said Griffin Muzzin, but they didn’t play as well in the third quarter. He believes if they had hung in there and have been able to make more shots, the game could have had a different outcome.

Muzzin said the team is having a good time playing and “that’s all that matters.” He said they have to work hard, play with more intensity, work on reducing turnovers and get the ball to the basket.

General Amherst dropped to 0-6 two days later, as they travelled to Belle River and lost 54-31 to the Nobles.

The Bulldogs were in Kingsville Tuesday, after this issue went to press, but host Brennan Thursday afternoon. The Bulldogs also are at L’Essor next Monday.

The junior Bulldogs also played St. Joseph and Belle River last week, losing 81-27 to St. Joseph and 34-20 to Belle River.

Bulldogs drop to 0-4 after loss to Villanova

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys basketball team went into the Christmas break 0-4 after a 40-35 loss to the Villanova Wildcats.

The Wildcats looked to have the game well in hand in the first half, as they built a 11-5 lead after one quarter and a 22-8 halftime advantage. However, a lively third quarter saw General Amherst score 20 points in those eight minutes alone as they outscored Villanova 20-11 in the quarter to make it a 33-28 lead going into the fourth quarter.

However, Villanova held off General Amherst and came away with the win.

Sebastian Hebert, one of the General Amherst captains, said it was a fast-paced game and said they had “a good comeback” in the third quarter.

“It was really back-and-forth,” said Hebert. “We played good defense.”

Hebert attributed the third quarter surge to a boisterous fan base.

Villanova’s Ben Diab (30) attempts a shot over General Amhest’s Kale DeCarlo during the Bulldogs’ most recent home game. Villanova won 40-35.

“We had a good crowd and a lot of support,” he said.

Hebert added they shot the ball better and made better passes in the game against the Wildcats.

General Amherst coach Ben Pelger said he knew it was a rivalry game and that both enjoy playing one another.

“Our team had a slow start,” he said. “Then we really came together as a team.”

The Bulldogs were hamstrung by the fact they lost three players to foul trouble late in the game.

“No excuses,” Pelger stated. “(Villanova) played great.”

General Amherst’s Joe Leroux (55, left) drives to the basket during first half action against the Villanova Wildcats. Defending Leroux is Villanova’s James Hanlon (20). Villanova won the senior boys basketball game 40-35.

Pelger also pointed out the fan support, adding “we started making shots.” He said they got more aggressive in the third quarter but that led to the foul trouble.

Villanova also got the win in the junior game, which preceded the senior game. The Wildcats won 64-29.

“They are improving every game. They came out aggressive today,” said Pelger. “They had a good third quarter and proved they can play with other teams.”

The junior Bulldogs picked up their first win of the season 24 hours later when they travelled to Windsor and downed Westview Freedom Academy 71-25.

Both teams resume play Jan. 9 when St. Joseph comes to town then play at Belle River two days later.