Ben Pelger

Bulldogs ousted in jr. boys basketball quarterfinals



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs junior boys basketball team advanced to the WECSSAA “AA” playoff quarterfinals, but could get no further.

The Bulldogs were defeated 50-36 at Riverside and thus were eliminated from the playoffs. They made it to the quarterfinals thanks to beating Tecumseh Vista Academy 38-27 48 hours earlier.

Head coach Ben Pelger said they were matched up against a Tier 1 opponent in the Riverside Rebels, with General Amherst being a Tier 2 opponent.

“They fought hard until the end,” said Pelger. “They had a really good regular season with an 8-4 record. It’s really promising for next year.”

The General Amherst Bulldogs junior boys basketball team were eliminated from the WECSSAA playoffs last week. (Submitted photo)

Pelger said the junior Bulldogs learned something every game and played well as a team, particularly the last two games. He was also thankful for the support of the senior boys team and coaches Frank Palumbo and Alex Temesy.

“The parents were always of great support,” he said.

Pelger also thanked the students who served as the scorers as well as the players themselves from both the junior and senior teams “for their hard work, dedication and sportsmanship.”

Four students from the junior team are eligible to move up to the senior team next season, Pelger added.

“They’ll have a really strong group for next year,” he predicted.

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.