Outside the Box by Chuck Walley

Katie Connell scores 13, Mercedes Rice grabs 10 boards against Little Falls

Before we get into our recent doings in high school sports, I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.

As is the case with many of you, our kids are home from college, meaning that National Grid and the grocery store will be seeing a lot more of our cash.

No worries, though. There’s nothing like having the family together. It truly is life’s greatest blessing.

I hope that, despite the season’s hectic and occasionally frustrating nature, each of you will take the time to count your blessings. I know that I will!

Girls JV & Varsity Volleyball

Last week’s action started out with a home date against New York Mills on Monday, December 12.

The JV squad got things rolling by winning a hotly contested match in two straight sets, 25-19 and 25-20, with Shelby Egna-czyk’s 10 aces a major factor.

The fans had hardly settled down when the Varsity team took the floor and played what was, undoubtedly, some of their best volleyball of the year to date.

It was a see-saw battle, with the Eskimos winning the first and third sets while the Mills had their way in the second and fourth sets.

That set up a wild fifth and deciding set in which Old Forge came out on top 25-20, earning their first victory of the season.

They had plenty of time to enjoy that winning feeling, as their next contest wouldn’t be held until Friday, December 16.

This time they hosted Remsen, hoping to get on a bit of a roll.

And they just might have, had they not dropped the opening two sets to the Rams.

They came back strong, taking the next two to force a fifth set, but came up short in crunch time, allowing Remsen to taste victory for the first time this year.

The JV squad suffered the same fate, but both teams will have plenty of opportunity to get back on the right track in the coming weeks.

Girls Varsity Basketball

Much like the previous week, the Eskimos had but a single game on the slate and they knew, going in, that they had a tough task in front of them.

The opponent was Little Falls on Tuesday, December 13 and, once again, Old Forge would take to the hardwood against a substantially larger school, and not only in enrollment.

No, what the girls faced when they got set to tip off was a much taller team that boasted above-average athleticism to boot.

And on top of that, Little Falls ran their sets smoothly and with great awareness.

In the end, they were a very capable team that Old Forge was unable to stay with, although several Eskimos put together some nice numbers.

Katie Connell led the way in scoring again with 13 points and the team also benefited from some superb rebounding by Mercedes Rice, who snagged 10 boards along with 2 points.

Haley Josephson logged in with a well-rounded contest too, compiling 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals.

In taking on these advantaged foes, the girls will have no choice but to learn and get better.

For now, though, they simply need to keep their heads up and know that their best days lie ahead.

Boys JV & Varsity Basketball

Everyone knows that height is a major factor in the sport of basketball.

The Eskimos are finding out, though, that the tallest player on the court isn’t always the most impactful.

Truth is, in most cases, a team’s success is in the hands of their point guard rather than their center and the loss of Sam Waterbury for the last couple of games has driven that point home.

The point guard is, for all intents and purposes, basketball’s equivalent of a quarterback.

He runs the plays and distributes the ball to the open man, making everyone better along the way.

Not that Old Forge hasn’t seen solid play from a capable Greg Hunkins, who has filled in admirably for Waterbury during his absence.

Still, the team’s normal rotations have been compromised and Waterbury’s scoring is sorely missed, to be sure.

These conditions played out on Wednesday, December 14 when Oriskany, ranked sixth in the state, came to town.

Despite some decent balance, which included scoring from Hunkins (10 pts.), Kenny Pastore (5 pts.), Calvin Risley (4 pts.), Dakota Earl (4 pts.), and Ethan Kress (3 pts.), the guys got throttled to the point that their confidence may have been shaken.

The good news was that the JV squad had their way against Oriskany, posting a dominating 53-35 final score with Dane Daiker (10 pts.) and Cameron Lenci (9 pts.) leading the way.

A couple of nights later on Friday, December 16, both the JV and Varsity teams were victimized when they traveled to Poland.

Worse yet, the Varsity squad saw even more players get nicked up, causing them to play much of the second half with no bench.

This week will be a war of attrition with Remsen and New York Mills on the schedule, not to mention having so many players banged up.

All one can hope is that they hang tough and perhaps some time off over the holidays will be just what the doctor ordered… no pun intended.

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