The Cherry Valley-Springfield boys basketball team suffered a bad break in October, literally.
The Patriots were always going to have to rebuild this season, having lost their top 2013 frontcourt and backcourt players in Isiah Montgomery and Kyle Jaquay respectively. Then junior point guard Jake Spencer broke his leg during the Tri-Valley soccer cross over.
“We’re down, but we’re hanging in there,” said coach Terry Brandt.
Going into last night’s game at Laurens, the Patriots had won three straight, coinciding with moving junior Cameron Hull into that starting lineup to replace Spencer.
“I probably should have done it earlier,” Brandt said. “We haven’t lost since he entered the starting lineup.
“When I brought Spencer up (to varsity) last year, Cameron took over as the point guard of the JV team. He has improved tremendously. His confidence is really growing.”
Hull’s promotion has allowed senior Wyatt Crowley to move back to small forward, which has in turn opened up the offense. Crowley can shoot from the outside, moves well without the ball and is strong at driving to the basket. He’s also the team’s vocal leader.
“Wyatt’s just a good leader,” Brandt said. “There’s no question he is our leader.
“Cameron (at point guard) should make it easier on him,” he continued. “That’s certainly the way it has worked out.”
Senior center Dustin Collins has been the other scorer for the Patriots. At 6-foot-4 and with great speed, Collins has been strong inside.
“Sometimes he needs to have soft hands,” Brandt said, “but he can certainly jump out of the gym.”
Junior guard Nick Mills and junior forward Ben Drugatz round out the starting five, with senior Jacob Ostrander and juniors Jake Fassett, Patrick Reid, Jeremy Pickett and Townie Zaengle coming off the bench.
On Friday, the Patriots won their third straight game to bring their record back to .500 (5-5, 3-3) with a 50-18 win over Gilbertsville-Mount Upton.
CV-S led 13-0 after one quarter and 24-0 before the Raiders finally scored, nearly 14 minutes into the game. By then Brandt had begun to sit his starters.
Collins led all scorers with 13 points and Crowley added 10 for CV-S. Chris Cole had five points to lead G-MU.
Brandt said that there’s no doubt who the favorites are in the Tri-Valley League, with Milford in the East and Edmeston in the West both undefeated going into Friday’s game at Milford.
“The Tri-Valley is top heavy this year,” he said. “It is Milford and Edmeston, and maybe Laurens, at the top and everybody else is competitive with each other.”
Brandt said that the Milford vs. Edmeston winner will likely be the team to beat in the section too. But for his team, who hosts Morris on Friday, a trip to the tournament is not yet guaranteed.
“We’re playing a lot better as a team,” he said. “We’re starting to come together.”
CV-S 50, G-MU 18
G-MU: Christopher Cole 2 1-4 5, Devon Fitch 0 0-0 0, Nathan Winans 1 1-2 4, Matthew Ward 0 0-0 0, Austin Burnside 1 0-0 2, Jesse Theodore 0 0-2 0, Nate Fuller 1 1-6 3, Nathaniel O’Hara 1 2-2 4, Nathan Whitehill 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 6 5-16 18.
CV-S: (5-5, 3-3): Dustin Collins 4 5-7 13, Wyatt Crowley 5 0-0 10, Dean Cummings 1 0-0 3, Ben Drugatz 1 1-2 3, Jake Fassett 1 0-0 2, Jordan Hoke 0 0-1 0, Cameron Hull 2 2-3 6, Nick Mills 2 0-0 4, Jake Ostrander 0 0-0 0, Jeremy Pickett 2 0-0 5, Patrick Reid 2 0-0 4, Townie Zaengle 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 20 8-13 50.
G-MU 0 5 4 9 - 18
CV-S 13 18 10 9 - 50
Three-point field goals: G 1 (Winans); C 2 (Cummings, Pickett). JV score: CV-S won.