SOLVAY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Since losing two of their first three games, the Solvay basketball team has responded by winning 11 of their last 12, and they are now a threat to win the section. The Bearcats will play host to a red-hot Homer team on Monday night for NewsChannel 9’s Game of the Week.
One reason for Solvay’s success this season is their seniors.
“We have 10 seniors this year, so it means a lot that we have a lot of senior leadership,” Solvay senior Elijah Wright said.
The Solvay basketball team is loaded with seniors from top to bottom, and on Monday, the Bearcats hope to use that experience to their advantage against a much younger Homer squad.
“We only have two returners this year, so we are just trying to figure out ourselves,” Homer head coach Rex Ryan said.
While Homer may lack experience, the Trojans do have a lot of height.
Ryan said, “We have two really good big guys, Jarrett Wilbur and Derek Fickett, so I mean any time we get the ball inside, it’s a priority every possession.”
All of Homer’s size could pose a problem for Solvay.
“Everyone always asks me, ‘Do you have any size this year?'” Solvay head coach James Rolince said. “As long as I’ve been here at Solvay, both as a student, and an athlete, and a coach, it’s never been a luxury that we’ve had.”
Although the Bearcats don’t have a lot of size, everyone on Solvay is focused on defense, because they are 12-1 when they hold opponents under 60 points.
“Our defense is a really big part of our game,” Solvay senior Jaimen Bliss said. “We look to stop them in transition, and get some points on offense, transition basketball.”
Rolince said, “We really put a lot of pride on that this year, and it has been a big part of what we’ve worked on. So, just taking pride in our defense to impose our will on that end of the floor.”
Solvay’s defense has been exceptional this season, and the Bearcats attribute their success to their chemistry.
“One of our main keys is communicate, talk on defense,” Bliss said. “Our defense isn’t really as good if we’re not communicating.”
“Most of us have been on varsity for three years already, so we know what is happening, we’re not really phased by anything,” Solvay senior Brock Bagozzi said.
On the other side, Homer has a lot of youth, but the Trojans say they are starting to come together as a team after winning four of their last five games.
“We know we got a lot of skill, just we weren’t very cohesive in the beginning,” Ryan said. “So now, it’s all kind of coming together, which it’s a good time of the year for it.”
Homer junior Jarrett Wilbur said, “We only had two returners, so it’s kinda hard to get used to playing with all new players. That was definitely a big change, but I just think we’ve been playing well together, and gotten used to each other.”
Both teams will be riding hot streaks when they meet up for the Game of the Week on Monday night. The game can be streamed live on the NewsChannel 9 website with coverage starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.
For more local sports, follow Anthony Scott on Twitter @A_Scott17
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