Team-First Approach Sees Seneca Valley Boys Basketball Reach State Semifinal
You'd be hard pressed to find another team heading into the state semifinals with more momentum than the Seneca Valley boys basketball team.
The Screaming Eagles enter their semifinal contest on Thursday with a 21-4 overall record. Making that mark even more impressive is that after three games this season, Seneca Valley was 1-2 meaning that since that slow start, the team is 20-2.
The team hasn't lost since January 30, a win streak that spans 12 games.
"Playing as a team and caring more about your teammates than you care about yourself," head coach Brian Humphrey said when asked what's been key for the Screaming Eagles during this win streak. "Team defense and sharing the ball on offense also certainly helps."
Indeed, team basketball has definitely played a big role in this year's Seneca Valley team, and it shows in how many different key contributors the Screaming Eagles have on their roster.
Brandon Simpson and Quentin Twyman both lead the team in scoring with 13.2 points per game. Simpson is also bringing 10.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists to the table each game, while Twyman has averaged 6.9 rebounds.
Kareem Matthew is the team's other player averaging double digit points with 10.8 points, as well as 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Trison Price and Terry Milburne have also excelled this season with Price averaging nine points and 3.2 assists per contest and Milburne averaging 6.9 rebounds. Milburne has also been crucial on the defensive end, contributing 36 blocks this season.
However, for all of the impressive numbers the team has accrued on offense, its defense is what Seneca Valley focuses on the most.
"Most of our practice time is spent on defense," Humphrey said. "We try to control the tempo of the game, and our tempo will change from game to game depending on our opponent."
The team's improvement as the season has worn on can be seen in its last game against Tuscarora. Tuscarora is one of the few teams that beat Seneca Valley this season, topping the Screaming Eagles 64-57 during a holiday tournament in December.
In the rematch Seneca Valley came away victorious, beating Tuscarora in a close one 61-59. It's a triumph Humphrey credits to the team being at full strength and more cohesive.
"We understood who we were as a team much better in the region final game than we did when we played Tuscarora in our Holiday Tournament back in December," Humphrey said. "Furthermore, we had Terry Milburne back from injury, as he did not play in the first game."
The win over Tuscarora has Seneca Valley in the state semifinal, where they'll play Stephen Decatur from Worcester County. In Stephen Decatur, Seneca Valley has a tricky opponent, one which bested last year's state champions, Centennial, in its previous game.
Humphrey expects a quick game, one which his players will be more than capable of playing.
"Stephen Decatur is an excellent team who plays a very fast paced style of basketball," Humphrey said. "Our team is extremely excited and humbled to be playing in the state semifinal."
|March 9th, 2016||By: Wick Eisenberg|