Slow start doesn't hamper G-Men's path to victory

By A.J. Atkinson | Correspondent Published:

By A.J. Atkinson | Correspondent

The Garfield G-Men started slowly, but once they found their tempo, they didn't stop, defeating the host Woodridge Bulldogs 66-57 on Friday night in Peninsula.

"Outplayed, outshot, outrebounded, outhustled," Woodridge coach Brian Fantone. "So much of basketball comes down to execution, energy and enthusiasm, and we had none of that. For whatever reason, we didn't come out to play tonight."

Woodridge (6-8 overall, 4-6 Portage County Division) dominated the first five minutes of the first quarter, forcing four Garfield turnovers and leading 15-4 in that span. However, the last three minutes of that quarter was a total collapse.

Garfield (6-10 overall, 6-5 County Division) had found its stride and ability to break down the Woodridge double-team by slipping in passes under the basket to forwards Fred Maxey and Anthony Workman. Combined, the forwards scored eight of Garfield's 13 first-quarter points while holding Woodridge to 15 points.

Woodridge struggled both offensively and defensively in the second quarter. Three minutes in, Fantone replaced all his starters with players off the bench. The bench managed to keep the game close as Woodridge ended the half up 33-31.

Fantone went back to his starting lineup to start the third. The starters were still unable to get any flow. The G-Men capitalized, putting together their best half by holding Woodridge to seven third-quarter points to their 18.

Woodridge managed to get within four points early in the fourth quarter after Sean McCoy's back-to-back 3-pointers, but the Bulldogs failed to build on the momentum. The Bulldogs' struggles from the free-throw line in their following possessions allowed Garfield to rebuild its lead and ultimately close out the game 66-57.

"We got lackadaisical," Fantone said. "We took our time and got lazy on defense. (Garfield) fought back. They played harder. Give all the credit to them."

Garfield coach Andy Olesky had nothing but positives to say about his team.

"I don't often say you deserve anything, but we deserved to win tonight," Olesky said. "We've had some hard luck go against us. Once we acclimated ourselves to Woodridge's style, we built ourselves a lead and didn't look back."

The G-Men's scoring did not just come from one player. Andy Workman led the team with 20 points, Matt Pratt followed with 18, and Steven Lambert finished with 15.

"I am so proud of these guys," Olesky said. "It was a tremendous team win tonight."

Workman said the game was a perfect reflection of the G-Men's talent as a team, and credited point guard Pratt as the reason for many of his points from under the basket.

"I haven't had a better point guard than Matt," Workman said. "He may throw with a little style, but he'll get the ball to you some way or another."

McCoy led the Bulldogs with 14 points, with John Harry coming off the bench to add 10 points.

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