Storm breezes through Lake Placid
SARANAC LAKE — Two teams that lost their top guns from a year ago squared off in Saranac Lake on Wednesday, and the host Red Storm came away with a big victory over a young group of Lake Placid Blue Bombers.
In a non-league varsity boys basketball matchup, senior Jarrett Ashton dumped in 25 points to lead Saranac Lake to a 71-28 victory in the season-opener for both teams.
The Red Storm are taking on their new scheduled after graduating top scorer, Joe Viscardo, while the Blue Bombers have a host of new players on the floor after losing 2016 graduates Blake Roy and Stuart Baird, who accounted for more than half the team’s points a season ago.
Lake Placid, a Class D team that competes in the Mountain and Valley Athletic Conference, held a 10-9 edge after the opening quarter, but Saranac Lake took the lead for good on the first basket of the second period and stayed on top the rest of the way.
“He didn’t get a lot of minutes last year — not real quick and fast but he can post up and he can knock down shots from the outside,” Morgan said. “We got really good veterans. DJ (Morgan) and Jarrett have been playing varsity for four years. You put Emery out there, and any two guys off the bench with those three, we’ll be competitive.
“The question coming in was ‘Are we going to be able to score?,'” Morgan continued. “I knew we have some nice shooters, and they did a nice job. The last two years, our whole offense went through Joe (Viscardo). These guys can share the ball. Great passing, good chemistry. I think they have the best basketball IQ that I’ve ever had. I was happy with our second, third and fourth quarter defense. I’m a happy guy.”
All 11 players who stepped on the floor for Saranac Lake put points on the scoreboard. Ashton caught fire early and continued to hit shots both on drives to the inside, as well as three-pointers from the top of the key and from the corners of the baseline. The senior drained four shots from beyond the arc on the way to leading all scores in the game.
The Red Storm held a 31-17 lead at halftime, with Ashton scoring 17 of those points before playing limited minutes after intermission.
Ashton was the only player in double figures, but he had plenty of help. Junior Jacob Shipman and freshman Jordan Moore chipped in nine points each, and Chris Peary, a senior who saw sparse time on the court a season ago, added eight points, including a pair of three-pointers that he buried from the corners.
Eight players scored for the Blue Bombers and Jake Coursen led the way with eight points, which included two three-pointers. Logan Brown added four points in the loss.
The Blue Bombers are led by second-year head coach Brian VanNostrand, who was unable to attend Wednesday’s game and was replaced for the evening by junior varsity coach Brian Brandes.
“We’ll miss a lot of points that came from Blake and Stu,” Brandes said. “Having said that, we have a lot of young kids. We have a starting freshman, some juniors and a couple of seniors. It will come. A lot of these guys played soccer so we’re a couple weeks behind, but they’ll get there. They’ll run an offense, and they’ll play good defense eventually.
“There were times when our kids played brilliant defense, mostly early, and they were moving the ball,” Brandes added. “We got tired. Our first five, our first six played OK, and the other guys we brought in are less experienced. Our legs got tired. It’s early in the year. Hopefully later on, we’ll be better conditioned.”
Saranac Lake is on the road for its next two games, which will be Friday and Saturday in the Malone Tournament. The Red Storm will take on Seton Catholic in the first round with the opening tip off slated for 5:30 p.m., and will then face either Franklin Academy or Brushton-Moira the following day.
Lake Placid’s second cont est of the season is slated for Thursday, Dec. 7 at Keene Central.
Saranac Lake 74, Lake Placid 28
Red Storm 9 22 23 20 — 71
Blue Bombers 10 7 5 6 — 28
Saranac Lake (71)
LaHart 3-0-6, Swanson 1-0-2, Fletcher 2-0-4, Shipman 4-1-9, Ashton 9-3-25, Moore 4-0-9, Cecunjanin 1-0-2, Paye 1-0-2, Morgan 1-0-2, Bevelaqua 1-0-2, Peary 3-0-8. Totals: 30-4-71.
Lake Placid (28)
Paul 0-3-3, Craig 1-1-4, M. Brandes 0-0-0, Coursen 3-0-8, Brown 2-1-5, Novik 1-0-2, White 0-0-0, Izzo 1-0-3, Briggs 0-0-0, Ranson 0-1-1, C. Brandes 0-0-0, Perry 1-0-2. Benavides 0-0-0. Totals: 9-6-28.
Three-point goals: Saranac Lake (7), Ashton 4, Moore, Peary 2. Lake Placid (4), Craig, Coursen 2, Izzo.