CLINTON WARRIORS PICK UP BIG WIN OVER ADIRONDACK ON SENIOR NIGHT
Clinton Warriors ready to roll on Senior Night!
Photos Kevin Montano-MHTS
The matchup was more than just a game for the Clinton Warriors as it was “Senior Appreciation Night” as well as “Let’s Beat Cancer Night” as players wore special shirts for pre-game warm-ups and the coaches wore sneakers for ‘Coaches versus Cancer’ with proceeds going to the Jimmy Valvano Foundation.
Clinton seniors Billy Baker, Garrett Drejza, Michael Hayduk, Kolby Nowakowski, Anthony Rizzo, Patrick Ziemba and varsity cheerleader Linda Kirk soaked in the moment knowing this may be the last time suiting up on the home court for the maroon and white.
Following pre-game activities to acknowledge the seniors and their parents the boys were ready to play as fans in the Clinton student section held a sign with a caricature of Warrior coach James Sojda reading “Fear the Beard”.
On this winter night the Adirondack Wildcats had to fear much more that the beard as the Warriors defense wore down and tamed the Wildcats offensive prowess as senior post man Michael Hayduk and sophomore guard Malaquias Canery led the Warrior offense to a 68-49 victory.
The first quarter of play was low scoring for both squads as they looked to settle in to their offensive styles and figure out the defensive schemes that both coaches were throwing at them.
Clinton got the action started quickly when senior Michael Hayduk drove the lane for the first bucket of the game.
The aggressiveness and tenacious style by both teams was apparent early in the game when Clinton’s Garrett Drejza and an Adirondack player both went for the basketball and collided at half court.
The Warriors got right down to work after they picked the pocket of Adirondack and came back down court to find Mike Hayduk who posted up at behind the three-point arch and smoothly dropped in a three giving the Warriors a quick 5-0 advantage.
Adirondack was able to finally put up its first two points of the game when senior Tyler Pocchiari was sent to the line after being fouled by Billy Baker.
The Wildcats quickly came back down court and found Kranbuhl who dropped a quick jumper to bring the Wildcats within one 5-4.
Adirondack continued to roll as Tyler Pocchiari raced down court on a breakaway and picked up another two points in the paint and gave Adirondack its first lead of the game at 6-5.
The Warriors responded when junior Andrew Hobika drove to the bucket and was fouled by senior Brandon Grenier as the Warriors jumped back out ahead 7-6 after Hobika converted both free throws.
Both offenses continued to struggle in a low scoring affair with Wildcats ahead 10-8.
Clinton came out in the second quarter with a bounce in their step and played with more aggression from the start of quarter two.
A steal by Malaquias Canery and a quick pass to teammate Patrick Ziemba resulted in a bucket and one after the sophomore was fouled by Adirondack’s junior Ryan Dellerba.
An over the back call on the Wildcats Tyler Pocchiari started an eight point run for the Warriors when Garrett Drejza drained two free throws and then Michael Hayduk followed with two-three pointers the next two times down the court.
The second three-point bucket by Hayduk cameafterhe blocked an Adirondack shot and dished it off to Malaquias Canery to start a breakaway and Canery kicked it back out to Hayduk who clearly had the hot three-point hand.
The Warriors picked up some additional scoring from Malaquias Canery who pulled up in the paint after taking a pass from Hayduk and then Malaquias Canery added two more points from the free thrown line.
At the end of the half Clinton’s Michael Hayduk led all scorers with 12 points and the Warriors held a narrow 25-23 lead.
The Warriors came out in the second half clearly a motivated group after an inspiring half time chat from their coach. The Warriors were able to limit Adirondack’s to only nine points in the third quarter to Clinton’s twenty one.
The Warriors scored the first six points of the second half the first came after Garrett Drejza took a beautiful pass from Malaquias Canery and Drejza was able to lay it in off glass.
Adirondack was finally able to stop the bleeding when Brandon Grenier went to the hole and picked up Adirondack’s first two points of the second half.
Clinton continued to dominate in the second half as they began moving the ball and slashing and finding players inside.
Clinton’s Garrett Drejza pulled up and hit a quick jumper followed by Malaquias Canery going the length of the floor for two points and two separate occasions.
Michael Hayduk then found Malaquias Canery cutting to the basket who dished to junior Ian Foxton who stepped back for a three.After three quarters of play the Warriors jumped out to a 46-32 advantage.
The Wildcats would not go quietly as the came to play as the final quarter started as they responded with six unanswered six points of their own scored by Brandon Grenier, Justin Kranbuhl and Elliot Hernandez.
Clinton bounced right back when Ian Foxton found Malaquias Canery racing towards the basket and slipped in a cross court pass that resulted in a bucket and Clinton began to pull away as the time started to wind down.
The two teams then traded baskets as the clock began to wind down and the Clinton seniors exited the game with a standing ovation.
When the buzzer sounded the Warriors had picked up a 68-49 league win on “Senior Night: and “Let’s Beat Cancer Night”.
Clinton seniors Billy Baker, Garrett Drejza, Michael Hayduk, Kolby Nowakowski, Anthony Rizzo and Patrick Ziemba joined me after the game to talk about the emotion surrounding senior night, this game, this team and what’s next for these fine young gentlemen.
All of the seniors mentioned how special this night was for them knowing that this may be the last time they suit up on the Clinton home court as a unit.
Patrick Ziemba mentioned “this is one of our last times playing here together it’s emotional but it’s great to see the program turning around”. Ziemba added that “Adirondack is a very good team and it was very close in the first half – I think our defense may have tired them out and we pushed the tempo and have a very deep bench.”
“This game was very special and emotional for us, not only does it mark our last game here on this court for us when we have been playing together since 5th grade it was also emotional because of “Cancer Night” – this is a great cause we are playing for” said Michael Hayduk. He also added, “This is a good feeling but we hope to be back on this court for sectionals.”
Clinton coach James Sojda was also very proud of his seniors as well as the entire team saying, “these kids are outstanding, and a great bunch and the credit goes to them for the work they put in every day. These kids came into camp with a purpose.” “We told these kids to believe in yourselves and now they are flourishing – the coaching staff is proud that the kids have taken what they learned and doing well – next week we play for a league championship against Ilion which means a lot to these kids because coming in that was one of our goals and not to settle for less and now here we are.”
Clinton 68 Adirondack 49
1 2 3 4 Total
Adirondack 10 13 9 17 49
Clinton 8 17 21 22 68
10- Garrett Drejza – 8 pts
11- Malaquias Canery – 18 pts
12- Ian Foxton – 5 pts
20 -Michael Hayduk – 18 pts
21 -Billy Baker – 0 pts
22 -Patrick Ziemba – 8 pts
23 -Andrew Hobika – 2 pts
25 -Danny Bankert – 0 pts
31 -Kyle Morris – 3 pts
32 -Will Jarrett – 4 pts
42 Kolby Nowakowski – 2 pts
44- Anthony Rizzo – 0 pts
Head Coach – James Sojda
1 – Justin Kranbuhl – 17 pts
3 -Elliot Hernandez – 5 pts
5 -Ryan Dellerba – 2 pts
10- Josh Nessel – 2 pts
12- Colton Cihocki – 0 pts
14 -Tyler Pocchiari – 8 pts
20 -Gabe Acey – 0 pts
21 -Josh Howland – 0 pts
30 -Jordan Millard – DNP
40 -Joe Marks – 2 pts
42 -Brandon Grenier – 13 pts
44- Hunter Bickham – 0 pts
Head Coach – Nick Palczak