The Iroquois Chiefs’ zone defense was the theme of Wednesday night’s boys basketball game as they picked up a 61-45 win over the Maryvale Flyers and now move to 4-0 in ECIC III.
Iroquois went on the road and did well against the Flyers offense. The Chiefs made sure their opponents would have a hard time getting into the paint and double-teaming if the pass was made to the corners of the court. The Chiefs forced the Flyers to shoot the three-ball in order to beat them.
The Chiefs, who play a lot of 1-3-1, played a 2-3 zone Wednesday night. Head coach Todd Kleitz explained that defensively they try to speed teams up and cause turnovers.
“We knew that, if we could speed them up, we felt like we had a chance being able to turn them over and get some transaction baskets,” Kleitz said. “We struggled in the half-court, trying to score against them and if we get some of the transition stuff, it would give us an opportunity to score quick and early.”
As the game progressed Maryvale’s head coach Ryan Mohr made adjustments for his offense. Players were moving around more in the zone and the passing was helping their team set up shots from the perimeter. In addition, teammates were finding their guys in the low post for easy buckets.
One of the Flyers, junior guard Andrew Dockery, picked up 18 points in the outing. Once the second half was underway Dockery began exploiting holes in the defense with his speed in an effort to attack the hoop and get his team back in the game.
As for the offense, Iroquois was providing good bucket opportunities off the Flyers’ turnovers. Chiefs sophomore guard Trey Kleitz came into the game averaging 22.2 ppg while senior Matt Matla was second on the team in scoring. However, it was senior forward Nick Partsch who led the way, putting up 18 points on the win. At times, Partsch looked lethal from three-point land and when Kleitz had the ball, he was going to set Partsch up for opportunities beyond the arc.
Coach Kleitz mentioned that he was struggling a bit early in the year, but during a scrimmage against Amherst, Partsch shot 50 percent from downtown and knew that he could become a good perimeter shooter.
“We knew he could shoot the basketball. It’s just a matter of finding rhythm, Trey did a great job of getting him the ball in the right spots where he could catch and shoot. That’s where he is pretty good,” Kleitz said.
Along with shooting the ball well, Trey Kleitz was distributing the ball and finding guys open, which is something he was great at doing last season. This season Kleitz has been counted on to put more points on the board, but his passing has still been his strong point. Kleitz had 10 assists to accompany his 14 points against Maryvale.
“I think this game in particular, he did a really good job finding guys that were open, whether it was Bowen underneath or Matla for a three, Partsch for three. He did a great job of just running the team and that’s really one of his roles,” Coach Kleitz said.
Looking ahead for both teams, Iroquois will face Williamsville East on Friday, December 20th in a non-conference match up. The Flames are currently 6-1 on the season and are also riding a four-game winning streak.
“For us, we’ve got to score early, have to score often and we have to keep them off the glass, similar to what we had to do against Maryvale. Limit them to one shot, be able to rebound the basketball and transition from there,” Kleitz said.
Maryvale’s next game will also be this Friday and they will be going up against the John F. Kennedy Bears. The Bears will be coming off a loss after falling to Tonawanda 53-57 on Wednesday night.
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