Home sweet home

by Juliana Roddy, Staff Writer

After four quarters of back and forth scoring, the Glen Rock Panthers pulled out a win for the first home game against Rutherford. After only leading the Bulldogs by one point heading into the fourth quarter, the Panthers outscored Rutherford by eleven points, cruising to a 49-35 victory.

Many aspects contributed to the win for the Panthers. “In the second half we were able to speed up the game with our pressure defense and force Rutherford into turnovers,” said Jason Mittelmam, the boys’ varsity coach. The Panthers also drew many fouls in the second half, leading to a substantial amount of free throws.

Key players for the Panthers include Jeff Ross (center), Khalil Williams (guard), Zach Lucca (forward), AJ Rinbrand (guard), and Christian Villa (guard).

Ross scored a total of fifteen points, with an incredible nine from free-throws. He also played a major role under the basket with twelve rebounds.

Khalil Williams played an impressive game coming out as the top scorer for Glen Rock with twenty points. “Khalil was a big spark to our offense in the second half,” said Mittlelman. Williams had five steals and many deflections while on defense, all of which contributed to the Panther’s win.

“It’s a team game and the team did well,” said Williams. “And, in the end, that’s all that matters.”

“Christian Vila and Zach Lucca provided the senior leadership we needed to be able to come back and pull out the win,” said Mittelman. Zach Lucca also successfully defended Rutherford’s best scorer, limiting him to only twelve points (seven points fewer than his average).

Vila was a strong member of the team, both on the court and off; when he came back during the fourth quarter, he helped control the speed of the game, enabling the team to hold the lead.

Another strong defender for Rock was AJ Rinbrand with a total of five steals.

Coming out from a win over Park Ridge in the tournament over the holiday break was a definitely a confidence boost.  However, “I think there were also some nerves due to it being our first home game of the season and with the positive performance so far the expectations are higher,” explained Mittelman.

Although Glen Rock played an impressive game, there are always things to improve on. The Panthers will focus on consistency and limiting the opponents’ breakaways. On offense, the Panthers are trying to make more of their shot opportunities – in particular, layups.

“The team played very well, especially in the second half. It was good to get a win in the home opener,” said JV basketball athlete Julian Bennett, reflecting upon the Panthers’ success.