By Jonathan Vander Lugt
For Germantown Academy, the grind continues as Jim Fenerty’s young Patriots are working through injuries, illnesses, and inexperience.
“We’re down five guys,” Fenerty said, after last Wednesday’s loss to St. Joe’s Prep, played at the nearby Thomas Jefferson University East Falls campus (formerly Philadelphia University). “I thought my guys played really hard, and [learned a lot] against a great coach.”
Playing hard is really all he can hope for.
“It’s a roadmap,” Fenerty said, “for what good teams are going to do us.”
Speedy Morris’s Hawk squad is 6-0, with a starting lineup filled with juniors and seniors. In Tuesday’s 55-37 loss, the Pats started two freshman, two sophomores, and one junior.
Brian Basile and Zach Anderson are perhaps the two most important regulars who have been out. Basile, a junior with the most varsity experience on the team, led GA with 22 in its opening win over Cristo Rey. Anderson, a bench piece, is averaging a shade over seven points in the four games he’s played.
Basile probably isn’t going to average 22 a game, but if he’s good for something more modest – 14 or 15, say – that’s around 20 points that GA has had to make up between the two of them.
“We’re going to make mistakes associated with being young, but I saw progress,” Fenerty said.
The game started out reasonably well for GA. St. Joe’s Prep, with two starters at six-foot-eight or taller, found its way to a 9-5 lead after a quarter. By the half, it was 24-17. It could have been closer too, had GA not fumbled the ball multiple times, or missed a handful of layups.
“We have to correct some mistakes that we keep making,” Fenerty said. “We’re shooting ourselves in the foot sometimes.”
GA’s best quarter was the third. Their 15 points matched the output of the Hawks, and it saw freshmen Jordan Longino and Lacey Snowden combine for 12.
“All I wanted from them was 32 minutes of hard play,” Fenerty said. “We started the two freshman and both of them played pretty well.”
Snowden, who has seen an increase of minutes in the wake of his team’s maladies, finished the night with 13. Over the weekend, he followed up with a career-high 17 against the Academy of Palumbo. He’s raw – he ended the week with a two-point dud against West Catholic – but the athletic talent is clearly present.
“He’s an extremely talented kid,” Fenerty said. “He’s not afraid at all…at this point, it’s up to the guys who are out now to beat him out.”
Longino, the other half of the ninth-grade guard duo, scored 15. On the season, he’s averaging 18 per.
“We’ve been struggling to score points, so we decided to make out backcourt of the future our backcourt of the present,” Fenerty said.
“Jordan is doing fine,” Fenerty went on. “It’s difficult for him, because he’s the primary focus of everyone that we play and he’s only a freshman. He’s got a heart as big as Texas, so I think he’ll be just fine.”
The fourth quarter is where the Hawks pulled away. GA managed to keep the game in single digits until the 48-second mark in the third, but from there, St. Joe’s Prep finally realized how to leverage its size against a much smaller team.
Elsewhere for the Patriots, Diego Carrasco netted six points, all in the first half, while manning the rim about as well as one could hope against an opponent with four inches of height and 40 pounds of weight over him. Junior Colten Smith scored GA’s other three points.
Germantown Academy (3-4) hosted its annual Make-a-Wish Tournament over the weekend, where it saw a 72-61 win over Palumbo followed by a 62-54 loss to West Catholic. This seems like it’s going to be a pattern for GA on the season – performing well against teams a notch below its weight class while struggling against teams with more experience.
“It’s going to be one of those years where we’re just going to have to battle every single time out,” Fenerty said.
Elsewhere in the area, the week proved generally successful.
Germantown Friends (3-5) has rebounded from a tough start to the season to win three of its last four, including a 65-43 conference win over Abington Friends. Senior Peter Gard has exploded of late, scoring at least 18 points in his each of his last five games.
Though Springside Chestnut Hill (1-3) lost to Robeson, it continues to receive good production from Ke’Shawn Williams (19.3 points per game) and Zion Grant (13 points per game).
Penn Charter (6-2) continued its strong start with wins over Shipley and Palumbo, while losing to West Catholic. Senior Mason Williams continues to star with 21.9 points per game, while sophomore Ryan Holmes has found a groove with five consecutive game with double-figure scoring. Will Samuel has scored in double figures in four of the last five as well.