Ben Pelger

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.

Bulldogs lose home opener to Cardinal Carter

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs took to their home court for the first time this season last Tuesday but dropped a 70-34 decision to Cardinal Carter.

The senior boys basketball team trailed 37-17 at the half with the visiting Cougars extending their lead further in the third quarter. Cardinal Carter outscored General Amherst 25-12 over the third eight-minute quarter.

The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 0-2 in WECSSAA Tier 2 play.

“It was a tough game,” said General Amherst coach Ben Pelger. “We competed against a team that should be playing Tier 1.”

Pelger said the Bulldogs looked “a little bit rusty” against Cardinal Carter.

“Hopefully we can raise our game and have better games in the future,” said Pelger.

General Amherst was able to take a lot of shots against Cardinal Carter, but Pelger added that not enough of them went in.

“We still need to do a lot of work defensively and rebounding,” said Pelger.

General Amherst’s Jackson Campbell dribbles under the Cardinal Carter basket during last Tuesday’s senior boys basketball game in Amherstburg. Cardinal Carter won the game 70-34.

The Bulldogs are aiming for a 5-5 season, said Pelger, noting the team is both a mix of new and experienced players. Pelger said there are three returning seniors, four players that moved up from the junior team and five new players.

Pelger also coaches the junior boys team, which also dropped to 0-2 last Tuesday night after a 50-26 loss to Cardinal Carter’s junior team. The juniors are also hoping for a 5-5 record this season.

“That’s a really promising team,” said Pelger. “They are playing hard every game. It’s a good group of guys. The Grade 9 and 10’s get along well. They are all there to improve and get better for the future.”

The two teams are trying to get General Amherst back to a championship level on an annual basis, Pelger added.

The teams played Monday at Tecumseh Vista Academy. The senior team lost to the Vortex 54-34 while the junior team fell 56-36.