Garden City Basketball Back on the Court

The Garden City Boy’s Varsity Basketball season is underway and looking forward to another successful year. The team is led by four year varsity players Ed Blatz and Kyle Skramko, along with returning players Dan Bonchonsky, Spencer Bais, Rob Wotczak and Andrew Granville.

Blatz and Skramko are three sport athletes who are coming off successful seasons in lacrosse and football and will work to bring that winning attitude to the basketball team. Both made valuable contributions as starting defenders for last year’s New York State Champions and Nationally ranked #1 lacrosse team.

On the Long Island Championship football team, they were key two way starters with Blatz being named to the All Long Island team at wide receiver. He was also a standout performer as a defensive back for a stingy defense. Skramko started at wide receiver and had several key catches as well as being a top defensive end. These two will be joined by two more championship football players as senior point guard Spencer Bais and junior guard Mike Collins step off the gridiron and into the gym.

On the basketball team, Blatz is one of the top players in Nassau and will be a challenge for teams to handle both his inside and outside game. Skramko will make the Trojan opposition work harder by drawing the number one defensive assignment each game.

The basketball season started for most of the team on November 13th with tryouts and a series of nightly practices. But because of the extended run of the football team, as well as the impact of hurricane Sandy, the basketball team started practices with a full team almost two weeks later than most teams on Long Island.

Head Coach Larry Steimer, with assistants Ray Chaputian and Dan Sarfin, had to manage a developing team chemistry, as well as instituting a new offense without the full participation from the key veterans.

Steimer’s team has good size to compete against the top teams in Nassau County with seniors Blatz, Bonchonsky and Granville supplying a presence under the boards. The presence of these 6’5” 200 lb players will present problems for most teams they will face this season. Returning freshman sharpshooter Joe Leighton and returning junior forward Wotczak will make important contributions throughout the season. Juniors Mark DeSantis, Mike Collins, Ryan Giacini, Ethan Gibbons, Matt Kelly and Drew Pascale, along with sophomore Chris Larkin are all working hard to bring respect to Trojan basketball.

The team has gotten off to a rough start but has continued to improve their game and push their opponents. The boys sandwiched a win against Oyster Bay with losses to Hewlett and Freeport in their early season non-league games. They received solid inside play from Bonchonsky and Granville who controlled the boards while playing solid defense. On the offensive side of the ball the Trojans were hitting the outside shot with Larkin, Wotczak, Pascale, Leighton and Skramko hitting three’s and Bais moving the ball around the perimeter. Defensively, Wotczak, Collins and DeSantis applied pressure, forcing turnovers or coming up with key steals.

The first two League games have been hard fought but the Trojans have come up just short in both. The first game at Jericho was tied at the half but saw Garden City struggle offensively in the third quarter. Although they pumped in 21 fourth quarter points it wasn’t enough to overcome the Jayhawks big second half scoring outburst. Blatz and Bais led the way for Garden City scoring 14 and 13 points respectively.

Returning to Garden City to play the next game against Roslyn in front of a home crowd that was pumped up by the hometown cheerleaders and a strong showing from the student body, Eddie Blatz again led the way with 18 points. The game was a seesaw battle that came down to the final 2 minutes and was decided by a huge three pointer by Roslyn to put them on top. Kyle Skramko continued his streak of hitting a three pointer in each game by burying two from downtown early in the game. Joe Leighton also made it rain with two three’s of his own in the second half while Spencer Bais had nine points directing the offense, Bonchonsky added eight working a strong inside game and Wotczak had seven from the outside.

The boys will play through the heart of their season with seven games in January and will be looking to continue their development of a solid team chemistry. The Garden City Varsity roster: 5 - Chris Larkin, 10 - Mark DeSantis, 11 - Spencer Bais, 12 - Michael Collins, 14 - Ed Blatz, 21 - Matt Kelly 23 - Ryan Giacini 24 - Kyle Skramko, 30 - Drew Pascale, 32 - Ethan Gibbons, 34 - Joe Leighton, 35 - Andrew Granville, 41 - Rob Wotczak and 50 - Dan Bonchonsky.

The remaining regular season schedule:

Friday, Jan. 4th - 6:30pm at Westbury
Tuesday, Jan. 8th- - 6:15pm home versus New Hyde Park
Friday, Jan. 11th - 6:15pm home versus South Side
Tuesday, Jan. 15th - 6:30pm at Wantagh
Friday, Jan. 18th - 6:15pm home versus Jericho
Friday, Jan. 25th - 6:30pm at Roslyn
Tuesday, Jan. 29th - 6:45pm at Mineola
Friday, Feb. 1st - 6:15pm home versus Westbury
Tuesday, Feb. 5th - 6:30pm at New Hyde Park
Friday, Feb. 8th - 6:30pm at South Side
Monday, Feb. 11th - 6:15pm SENIOR NIGHT at home versus Wantagh


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