Hornets Lose Heartbreaker in Battle of the Bedfords

Vladislav Svriduk ’19 drives into the paint against Tilden.    Photo Credit: Continental Studios

Vladislav Svriduk ’19 drives into the paint against Tilden.

Photo Credit: Continental Studios

By ANISA KALOSHI and CLAIRE MCERLAINE 

Boys basketball had been down to the Madison Knights the whole game when, with 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter, shooting guard Thierry Blyden ’20 hit a three pointer to give the Hornets their first lead, 71-69. 

The crowd roared and jumped to their feet in celebration. But the mood quickly shifted as Madison tied the score 71-71 in the final ten seconds, sending the game into overtime. 

Midwood ended up losing a heartbreaker 73-72, and the boys basketball team has now fallen to a  3-5 record despite this hard-fought battle on their home court December 19. 

“We lost by a point to a team we shouldn’t have,” said Mr. Victor Gjecaj, the varsity basketball team coach. 

“That’s not something any of us expected,” said point guard Jonathan Dekhtyar ’20.

Midwood stayed aggressive but couldn’t always convert at the free throw line, missing seven out of 25 free throw attempts.

 “One challenge we are facing has to be free-throw shooting,” said Captain Andy Dokovic ’19.

Last year, the team finished 9-8.

“Our season has been very inconsistent,” said Mr. Gjecaj. “Some days we were great and some days we weren’t.”

Dokovic said, “We’ve been playing sloppy lately, but it’s something we can definitely fix and turn around.”

On the plus side, Midwood’s defense lead to more offensive opportunities through the fast break.

 “One of our best advantages is fast break opportunities,” said Dekhtyar. “Even though we’re not the tallest players, we play smart in order to knock down shots.”

In a fast break, the team moves the ball up court and as quickly as possible after a defensive rebound so that the opponent’s defense is outnumbered and doesn’t have time to set up. 

“The strongest asset on our team is definitely defense,” said Dokovic. “Playing good defense will translate to good offense.”

Donel Jean Baptiste ’19 said, “When we’re locked in on defense, we’re unstoppable.”

One offensive play Midwood runs against a man defense is called “motion.” It’s a continuous offense with V-cuts that allows everybody on the court to get involved and gives as many players as possible the opportunity to score.  

“This play could be really effective if we stay patient,” said Jean Baptiste. 

Making a push for playoffs this season is a common expectation shared by the teammates. 

“As of right now, we have to make playoffs then move from there,” said Dekhtyar. “Hopefully we can bring back a championship for Midwood.” 

With goals set high, the next step is to put them into action.

“We plan on achieving these goals by working hard in practice and playing together,” said Jean Baptiste.

The team practices six days a week, with conditioning in the weight room,  and devotes at least two hours on the court to working out game plans and strategies. 

“We have to continue working hard in practice every day and pushing each other,” said Dokovic. “If we do that, we have a great chance to make the playoffs and make a championship run.”  

To get there will be challenging. Sometimes the Hornets’ biggest obstacles come from within.

“When things aren’t going right, I get hard too hard on myself, “ said Jean Baptiste.

“We’re our own worst enemy,” said Dokovic.

But with ten games still left to be played before playoff brackets are released, it’s not too late to turn things around.

“Our biggest competition is ourselves,” said Dekhtyar. “If we play at our best, we could be the best in the league.”

SportsCasey Levinson