Weekly Feature



2010-12-02 / Sports

Basketball

Quaker boys, girls teams look to avenge semifinal losses
by MIKE MIGLIORE Reporter

Orchard Park’s Charles Mosey finishes a fast break against Williamsville South Saturday in a scrimmage at Williamsville South High School. Mosey will be a key defender for a Quaker team that looks to avenge its semifinal loss in the Section VI playoffs last season. Photo by Scott Schild Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Orchard Park’s Charles Mosey finishes a fast break against Williamsville South Saturday in a scrimmage at Williamsville South High School. Mosey will be a key defender for a Quaker team that looks to avenge its semifinal loss in the Section VI playoffs last season. Photo by Scott Schild Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com The Orchard Park Quakers boys basketball team is starting over in 2010. The Quakers veteran, senior-laden 2009-10 roster led them to 16 wins and a regular season division championship in ECIC I. In the Class AA semifinals, however, the Quakers were stunned by a game-tying three pointer in the final seconds of regulation by Clarence and ultimately fell in overtime.

A team that seemed like a favorite for a Section VI championship suddenly saw its season end. The feeling was made worse by the departure of seniors Troy Nowak, Joe Lombardo, Dan Nesci and Chris Kerr as well as junior Sean Kugler after his family moved to Pennsylvania.

Orchard Park’s Laura Clesse dribbles by an Iroquois defender during a scrimmage on Nov. 18. Clesse, who co-captains the team along with sister, Jenny, and senior Taylor Swiatek, helped lead the Quakers to a season opening win over West Seneca East on Tuesday. Photo by John Normile Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Orchard Park’s Laura Clesse dribbles by an Iroquois defender during a scrimmage on Nov. 18. Clesse, who co-captains the team along with sister, Jenny, and senior Taylor Swiatek, helped lead the Quakers to a season opening win over West Seneca East on Tuesday. Photo by John Normile Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com To rebuild the Quakers’ team, head coach Bob Rumschik is going back to basics.

“We need to be teaching any fundamental details,” Rumschik said. “Shooting, passing, defense - we need to backtrack on all these things and make sure we’re solid there. If we know the fundamentals, we’ll be ready for the season.”

The Quakers looked ready on Monday night as they won their opening game in the Pastor-Cooper Tournament at Daemen College over Grover Cleveland, 57-52. The Quakers were led by a returning senior, Kyle Witkowski, and a new face, junior Matt Mc- Cormick, both scoring 15 points. Mixing and matching all the new faces and trying to find what works and what doesn’t will be the key to the season for the young Quakers.

“We ’re in the process of sorting everything out,” Rumschik said. “We could rotate our starters to find the different groups out there and find chemistry. We may have to go with different lineups. It’s all about who can take care of the ball offensively and who can stay within the offense and who has the defense down.”

The Quakers will have to turn to their seniors for leadership and stability. Rumschik said his top leader on the court is forward Zach Schenk, who didn’t play much last season but impressed Rumschik with his intangibles and attitude in practice.

“He’s a more confident basketball player right now,” Rumschik said. “He did great things in practice last year. There should be a big improvement in him.”

Another senior Orchard Park will look to is guard Charles Mosey. Rumschik said his biggest strength is on defense.

“He plays excellent ball defense,” Rumschik said. “He really puts the pressure on his man.”

Also returning for the Quakers is senior Ryan Lindquist. After a great season with the boys soccer team, Rumschik is excited to see Lindquist take his skills to the court and continue to develop as a dependable player.

“He’s more mature this year,” Rumschik said. “He’s been settling down with some of his moves. He has a great motor.”

Taking his skills from the football field to the basketball court is senior guard Kyle Witkowski. He quarterbacked the football team during the fall and should bring some of those quarterbacking skills to basketball.

“He’s a good decision maker who always finds his open man,” Rumschik said. “We will look to him for offense. He has an excellent shot.”

Orchard Park’s big man in the middle is senior forward Jeremy Kuhn. Listed at six-foot-four, 180 pounds, Kuhn will be counted on to score down low and clean up the glass.

“We need to get him going down l o w, ” Rumschik said. “We know he can score and hit the boards. He has good leaping ability.”

Rounding out Orchard Park’s seniors are guards Peter Brady and Paul Nunn.

The key junior for the Quakers is McCormick, a five-foot-eleven guard. He saw a decent amount of playing time last season as a sophomore. A good shooter, Rumschik hopes McCormick can also become a leader this season.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him play,” Rumschik said. “I would like to see him play more vocally and talking up his teammates. We need to communicate better.”

Rounding out the roster for Orchard Park are Ryan McPoland, Trey Cimorelli, Neil Farrell and Pat Hogan.

Something the Quakers need to find is a true leader. With the seniors taking on the role for the first time, Rumschik believes some of his guys will emerge as leaders.

“We need to search within ourselves to find the spark plug,” Rumschik said. “We can do it with the right attitude.”

What will help the Quakers is that they have great chemistry and camaraderie. With the majority of the team around the same age and several who have played together before both in basketball and in other sports, find a team concept will not be difficult for Rumschik.

“They’re all friends who like each other,” Rumschik said. “There are no issues. They don’t care about who gets the credit. They’re all in it for each other. We may have had better teams in the past, but there have been internal issues. This group has none of that.”

The Quakers will need to stick together through a gruelling schedule that sees them play in the Pastor-Cooper Tournament against Grover Cleveland, McKinley and St. Mary’s as well as regular season games against teams like Riverside and North Tonawanda before they get to their difficult league schedule. Rumschik says he always tries to build as challenging a schedule as possible.

“I’m not one to shy away from building a schedule,” Rumschik said. “I want our guys to know five or 10 years from now that they competed against excellent teams. That’s why we build the non-league schedule as tough as we can.”

The league schedule will be difficult enough as defending champion Jamestown is expected to be a powerhouse team again and runner-up Clarence returns most key players from the team that knocked Orchard Park out last year.

Orchard Park will need all of their togetherness and camaraderie to navigate this difficult schedule and compete for a Section VI championship.

“We ’re building a vision,” Rumschik said. “They have good strength and commitment to one another.”

Meanwhile, the Orchard Park girls team opened its season Tuesday in the West Seneca West tournament and pounded the West Seneca East Trojans, 63-32. Senior captain Taylor Swiatek led the way by pouring in 26 points along with five steals and five assists. Freshman Noelle Poloncarz showed her potential by scoring 10 points and four rebounds. Junior Maggie Holly also had four rebounds.

Much like the boys team, the girls are looking to bounce back after being knocked out in the Class AA semifinals last season after a 14-3 season.

Swiatek, a senior guard, will be the leader of the Quaker team this season. She will captain the Quakers along with sisters Laura and Jenny Clesse.

Rounding out the Orchard Park roster is Sarah Twarog, Julia Hardick, Bridget Cullen, Kelsie Schaffstall. Shannon Miller, Leah Tychinski and Kaitlyn Gauthier.

Orchard Park next plays Saturday at 4 p.m. in the West Seneca West Tip-Off against West Seneca West.

e-mail: mmigliore@beenews.com

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