There was great excitement at Delaware Valley High School on the evening of Feb. 4. It was Senior Night, and three basketball players and a cheerleader, Alyssa Petrillo, were honored.
You know I have seen DV do this, and I saw Port Jervis do this too. I personally think this is a wonderful program and a great way to honor students who are graduating and who gave so much to their schools. The administrations should really be appreciated for this. It is such a nice thing to do for these kids, and I know it means the world to them.
Now the best way to cap off senior night would be to have a rousing victory putting the exclamation point on the evening, but North Pocono of Covington played spoiler. In spite of their defeating both the JVs and the Varsity the luster of the evening shined through.
First up were the JVs. This really was not much of a game. Well, at least not for the local DV fans. Delaware Valley was never really in this game, and to make matters worse, the usual scoring leader, Ryan Doherty, sprained his ankle early in the second period and had to come out of the game. This was pretty much the nail in the coffin. The other players who are usually able to pick up the slack just couldn't seem do it.
So halftime ends with DV down 26-16.
Rebounding was killing DV. North Pocono was taller and dominated the boards. They worked the ball well, making good decisions with crisp passing, hitting the open man consistently. There was a spell where DV’s Chris Cruz got hot and poured in a number of baskets, three-pointers and two-pointers, but it would not last.
Time and time again I saw DV players have an open shot but hesitate to take it. They would dribble, take three steps forward where coverage was waiting, and then have to pass the ball back out. I kept hearing people in the stands shouting, Shoot the ball! Shoot for goodness sake! But repeatedly they didn't shoot. Very odd indeed.
This I believe was the downfall for DV this evening. Too many times, with so much passing, they would lose the ball and NP would score.
The third period ends with DV down 35-25. NP continued to have their way in the final period, closing the game out for the victory by a score of 49-31.
The high scorer for DV was Chris Cruz with 11 points.
DV’s Junior Varsity was just out played tonight.
So now we turn to the Varsity game. This is probably the first time I have seen Delaware Valley have such a clear height advantage. However, it would not serve to be an advantage in the final score.
North Pocono was shooting the lights out all evening. They had a hot corner on their bench side of the basket where they just rained in threes. The problem I noticed is that DV was not contesting the shots. They never seemed to have a hand in the face of the NP players. With so many open and essentially free shots, it's no wonder they shot well.
NP was also playing a really nice inside game -- smooth ball handling, crisp passing, good penetration, and hitting the open man for the score. DV, however, had scoring problems most of the evening.
Two DV players had terrific games that night. Jackson Shafer, who is always the high scorer, put in 33 points. What a good player this kid is. He is a scoring machine and such a smooth and gifted player besides.
Aiden Oliver also had a great night. In fact, this was the best game I ever saw him have. He was always exactly where he needed to be. He was rebounding like he was 6 foot 8. He was getting picture-perfect layups and sweet outside shots. If he continues to improve like this, he will be a special asset next year. And with the loss of the seniors graduating this year, he will be needed to perform like he did tonight.
But despite these two good performances, DV still lost the game
The first period saw DV down 22-14. Like the JVs, Delaware Valley was allowing NP to have free and open shots all night. The half ended with DV improving but still trailing 35-29.
In the third period DV managed to tie the game up at 37, but NP came back and closed out the period 52-43.
The final period was more of the same. North Pocono won the game with a convincing score of 80-67.
High scores for DV was Jackson Shafer with 33 points and Aiden Oliver who put in 14.
A side note here. The boys honored as seniors were Jackson Shafer, Jackson Melnick, and Isaiah Nock. All received extremely warm receptions with loud applause and cheers.
Isaiah Nock was honored with a lineup start of the game and jumped center. He popped in the first two points to the roar of the crowd. What fun watching such camaraderie among the players and the appreciation of the students and parents.
Two DV players had terrific games that night. Jackson Shafer, who is always the high scorer, put in 33 points. He is a scoring machine and such a smooth and gifted player. Aiden Oliver was always exactly where he needed to be. He was rebounding like he was 6 foot 8. He was getting picture-perfect layups and sweet outside shots.