By Will LeBlond
Memories of last winter and the Newfield Boys Basketball team’s run to the New York State Class D Championship are still fresh, but they want to make new ones.
The Trojans have come flying out of the gate this year and have garnered a similar feel to the one they had last season when they got hot during playoff season. After opening up the season with three straight road wins, including a quality victory over Elmira-Notre Dame, Newfield opened up their home schedule on December 12 with a 67-63 win over divisional rival and previously undefeated Tioga.
With plenty of talent back for the Trojans this year – including the senior trio of Greg Moravec, Quintel Clements and Stephen LaBarge – it doesn’t come as a huge shock to the team that they’ve had such great success early on.
“I think a little bit of it is carryover,” said Bubble about his team’s unbeaten start. “We have some new young guys that are playing some significant minutes and, for them, it’s going to be a learning curve. It’s also a credit to the older guys and them being able to bring the younger guys along.”
With LaBarge injured for the team’s opening three games, it pressed the Trojan youth into action right away. Seniors Clements and Moravec were joined by sophomores Josh Wood and LaRon Boykin, as well as freshman Jacob Humble in the starting five to begin the year.
The unique blend in age and experience makes Newfield quite dynamic and the goal is the same for the older group as they try to bring their youngsters up to speed.
“We’ve got big shoes to fill from going to states last year,” said Clements. “But I think this team is going to be really good. It all depends on what we do and how we play, but I have high expectations for this year’s team.”
Clements has led by example so far, as he led the team in scoring with 15.5 points and 15.3 rebounds per game in their first four games. Not far behind him is his classmate Moravec, who is second in scoring with 13.3 points per game, followed by Wood with 10.8.
With his double-double average thanks to his skills on the glass, rebounding has become second nature to Clements as he continues to develop his overall game.
“Offensively, it just gives us another chance to try and get a bucket,” said Clements on rebounding. “And on the defensive end, it gives us a chance to go the other way.”
When they do get the ball on the offensive side of the floor, it’s been for a multi-pronged attack that the Trojans hope can be a weapon all season long, especially with LaBarge back in the lineup.
“What I love about our group is that we have no problem sharing the ball,” said Bubble. “They like making a great pass just as much as making a shot.
“They’re happy to just spread the love and let the next guy do some of the love,” he added. “You can’t really game plan to stop one guy.”
No one has been able to solve the puzzle, as the Trojan offense has been averaging 63 points per game and has been beating opponents by an average of 12 points per game.
With hopes of a deep playoff run off in the horizon somewhere, the focus remains on the everyday growth for Bubble.
“We approach every single game as an opportunity to get better,” he said. “We try to go one game at a time and try to get better every single time out. I think the expectations are high and rightfully so, but we just try to win every single game.”
Newfield will enter the holiday break after a road game December 19 against Candor. After that, they will travel for the JP Tournament at Elmira High School in late December before they return to their home floor for three straight games in early January against Southern Cayuga (Jan. 2), Odessa-Montour (Jan. 5) and Thomas A. Edison (Jan. 9).