Flames fall to Shenango

Although the Northgate Flames’ boys’ basketball team is experiencing a rough season, the tough losses are providing an invaluable learning experience for some of the Flames’ youngest players, such as Patrick Weimett (No. 5), pictured above. Pictured at rear right is senior Stephon Adams, a team leader helping to teach the less experienced players. The Flames fell to Shenango after suffering a first half deficit that could not be overcome. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By MEL PERKINS

The Northgate Flames (0-11, 4-15) continue to battle every game, but still have not been able to pickup that elusive first section win. Most recently, the Flames battled, but still fell to the Wildcats from Shenango (3-8, 5-13) by the score of 64 – 44.

The Flames opened the game in a 3-2 zone defense, and Shenango attacked it by shooting from the perimeter. The Wildcats hit a three to start, and then dropped into a full-court press to speed the game up and cause some turn-overs.

The Flames responded when, Malcolm Randall got the ball inside the paint and with a classic “Big Man” move, faked and went up strong for the score among a host of Wildcats. The Flames were on the board, down 3 – 2. Mitch Denes added a three before the quarter ended, but the Flames’ shooting was cold.
Coach Joe Cangilla said later, “We were getting our shots. We were able to break the press, and get our shots. We had pretty good execution, but it’s tough when you’re taking good shots and they just don’t go down. ”

The first quarter ended with the Flames down 18 – 5.

The second quarter started with Stephon Adams driving to the basket through traffic and getting fouled. Adams went to the live to convert the three-point play and calmly dropped it in the bucket. Adams would score many of his game-high 16 points in the second quarter, but Shenango was not cooling off. And, at the end of the first half, the Flames were down 34 – 11.

The Flames came out of the locker room hot to start the third quarter, shooting 6 of 8 to get things started. Adams continued to add to his tally by driving and slashing to the basket, scoring seven points in the third quarter. Patrick Weimett, Jacian Sustayta, and Randall all chipped in to make the score 54 – 25 after
three quarters of play.

After the game, Cangilla spoke about his younger players, saying, “Our younger kids are getting valuable, valuable experience. They’re getting freshman experience at the varsity level, against bigger defenders, bigger kids, so if you try something and it doesn’t work, you have to try something else. It’s all about experience.”

The Flames continued to battle, outscoring the Wildcats 19 -10 in the fourth quarter. But the damage had already been done. Adams and Sustayta were finding some success inside the paint, and Ryan Puskar, along with James Eubanks, were able to get some open looks from behind the arc. When it was all said and done, the Flames were unable to overcome the first half deficit, and fell by the score 64 – 44.

Coach Cangilla continues to speak highly of his seniors, saying, “Ray and Steph, they are warriors, they’re battling. I rely on Stephon out there, he is our floor general, and he organizes our defense, and he asks me what I want on offense.” The senior leadership is very important because the younger players have to learn how to respond to adversity, and there is no better way to learn than from two players that were
highly successful on the football team this year.

“We want 100 percent effort and we want positive attitude and, just continue to work. What those two have done is really model the effort and attitude that we want.”

The Flames host Sewickley Academy tonight.