PTC Boys Basketball Report: Win or lose, Pirates keep games very interesting

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The Portage Trail Conference season is still very young.

However, if the first six games are any indication of what the Southeast fans have to look forward to for the rest of the year, the Pirates' faithful better make sure there is a heart defibrillator at courtside.

The defending County Division co-champs are currently 4-2 overall and put together a four -game winning streak before suffering a loss to Field on Tuesday night. Five of the team's six games have been closer than four points, with the only exception being a 22-point victory. Southeast has a point differential of 2.4 points in those five games.

The Pirates opened the season with a heartbreaking two-point loss to a very good and improved Coventry team on the Comets' home floor.

After a four-point overtime victory over rival West Branch and a big win over Waterloo, the Pirates won a pair of heart-stopping one-point buzzer-beaters over Woodridge and East Canton.

The Pirates had a 16-point lead Tuesday night before dropping a 54-50 loss to the Falcons.

NO RESPECT

Even though the Pirates are the defending champs and had five lettermen returning for this season, they were not named by many division coaches as possible contenders.

"That didn't surprise us," Southeast head coach Matt Dillon said. "I think we all felt Windham has everyone coming back and are the best overall team in the league."

"Evaluating the league, we thought that probably Mogadore was the second-best simply because the way they can shoot the basketball every night," Dillon said. "And then Woodridge, who has really struggled in five games, but with the talent they have, they could run the table."

The Pirates must recover Friday night when they travel to Mogadore to resume division play. The Wildcats dropped a 53-40 verdict to Springfield on Tuesday in maybe one of the worst shooting nights and poor performances by a Wildcats team in some time.

Dillon was quick to talk about the Mogadore shooters and knows after Tuesday's off-night, all those same shots could very likely be dropping at a higher rate by Friday.

Dillon reported that what has been part of his team's early success this season is something that was an uncertainty entering the campaign: Bench support.

"We have got great support from Corey Proctor, Tyler Wooldridge, Kenny Dillon and Kade Norquest," the Pirates' coach said. "Those four kids have given us more minutes than we expected and that was our biggest concern coming into the season."

OFF AND RUNNING

At the opposite spectrum of Pirates' close games is the Windham jumpstart that has to be one of the most profound in Bombers history.

Windham is now 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the division, with the team's average winning margin at 23 points per game.

Windham turned away Grand Valley 83-54 on Saturday night. Grand Valley is a member of the Northeastern Athletic Conference, which is the league Windham will enter next season.

A win this Friday at East Canton would provide the Bombers with a perfect record when they travel to Berlin Hiland over the Christmas break to meet some high-powered competition in Holmes County. Hiland captured its second consecutive Division IV state championship last season.

NORTON SEPARATION

Norton put a real thumping on Coventry (84-42) on Friday night, which could be the beginning of a separation from the pack by the Panthers.

I believe the remainder of the Metro Division teams will be a battle from the No. 2 spot all the way to No. 8. I think we will see a battle of "on any given night" between those seven teams, which will provide Norton an early clinch when the rest of the division beat up each other.

The Ravens, who have already lost a pair of division games, put together a solid win over Crestwood and proved they can beat a good team.

Kent Roosevelt and Streetsboro will be in that battle, along with Coventry.

Crestwood has posted a solid 4-2 overall record, with the Devils turning back a strong Newton Falls team 44-43 on Tuesday.

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