Freeland and Bostok star in win
By Steev Riccardo
The Oxford Pirates put on a defensive clinic in a tremendous effort and shut down the Bartlett Indians 48-38 Tuesday night (January 24) in an upset win at Bartlett High School.
Sparked by the outstanding defense of junior guard Donny Freeland, who held Bartlett star Nick Kobel to only one point, and the excellent overall play of senior forward Tyler Bostok, who scored 11 points and pulled down 16 rebounds, the Pirates were dominant from start to finish.
There was nothing fancy about the way the Pirates played the game. They had a plan to stop Kobel by putting their “lockdown defender” Freeland on him, they stuck with it, and everything else fell into place as they forced 18 Indian turnovers.
“Our plan was to have him (Freeland) cover Kobel and be in his face and not leave him,” said Pirate head coach Sean Halloran. “He gets the ball in the backcourt, you are there, he gets the ball in the front court you are there, he goes to the bathroom you are there.”
“Everyone else feeds off Donny’s energy, he is the leader out there.”
To hold this team in this gym to 38 points, if you told me this before the game I would have thought you were crazy.”
Halloran knows that his team has offensive deficiencies and has focused on defense with his young group. “They buy into the defensive philosophy, we have trouble scoring, I’m not going lie, but if you hold a team to 45 points and under, you are probably going to win most games.”
Halloran also praised Bostok for his solid inside play. ““I thought Tyler was tremendous on the boards, he was just a beast out there. He played behind DeCarlo Anderson last year and didn’t get a minute all year, now he is a senior, and he is finishing his career off really well. Patience has really paid off for him.”
Alex Givens-Perry played well in a losing effort for the Indians, scoring 14 points, while grabbing a season high 16 rebounds. Akeem Belnavis also added 11 points for the Indians, who dropped to 8-4.
Mike James and Cody Stone each contributed 10 points a piece to the Pirate victory.
Halloran and his 7-5 Pirates know they have to finish the season strong to get into the playoffs. “Every game from here on in is a big game. The SWCL is wide open this year. On any given night anyone can beat anyone. If we show up to play defense we are going to win a lot of games.”