A holiday break brings about time for reflection and a time to look at what is to come. The break provides almost a halfway point to break down what a season has brought and what lies in store in the second half. For the Groton Indians, the break comes with a much-needed time for preparations in hopes of getting back on track this season.
Last season, the Indians fell short of any postseason play after finishing with six wins. The team also rostered seven seniors who were tasked with leading the way and have now left vacancies that the Indians are trying to fill. This season, the Indians roster just one senior, Robert Brehm, who is tasked with being the elder to a team that is largely made up of players who spent last season playing with the Indians’ junior varsity squad.
The season leading up to the holiday break has certainly not gone as expected for the Indians as the offense has struggled to find consistency in scoring from multiple players. From the early portion of the season, the Indians seem to be coming within reach of obtaining their first victory of the season but just couldn’t seem to finish with the result they desire. The shortcomings have led to a tough start for the Indians who are, as of the holiday break, still searching for their first win of the season.
The season started with a solid effort for the Indians as they would tally 51 in a loss to the Eagles of McGraw, a team that has asserted itself as a leader among neighboring Section III. The opening setback would bring about performances that show what the Indians have in terms of offensive talent. Kalib Manning, a sophomore newcomer to the varsity squad, immediately showed his abilities and his potential with a 19-point performance in the loss to the now 6-1 Eagles. Garret Vanbenschoten, a junior, recorded 12 points in the loss, proving that the youth of the team can produce and has room to grow, but seem unable to come up with the win.
The Indians were unable to capitalize in their second game of the season against a Marathon Olympians squad. After that, the focus shifted to recording a win on the road against Lansing. The Lansing defense shutdown Groton’s young offense, holding the Indians to just 30 points in the 45-30 loss.
In a matchup with the Chiefs of Southern Cayuga, the Indians would find their best opportunity to solidify their opening victory at home on a Friday night. The offense re-discovered its rhythm and matched the pace of the Chiefs into an overtime period. The Indians could not close out the Chiefs as three Southern Cayuga players ended with double-digit scoring, including a double-double from Kyle Baily. Groton would, once again, come up just shy of the victory in the 68-64 loss.
For the young Groton squad, the scheduling has certainly contributed to the outcomes of games. In the seven games leading up to the holiday break, the Indians have played five of them against teams that qualified for sectional playoffs, including McGraw in Section III. In three of its last four games of 2018, Groton faced last season’s second and third-seeded teams in the Class C bracket, Union Springs and Moravia, and the top seed in the Class D bracket in Newfield, a state semi-finalist.
With the losses to the more dominant teams in the section to round out the year, the Indians look to move on from 2018 and focus on growing as a program and tallying wins in 2019. The second half of the schedule is lighter than the opening portion and allows for rematches with earlier losses, including a chance to reverse the overtime loss to Southern Cayuga on Feb. 1. While the slow start hasn’t produced a win, the Indians are gaining valuable playing experience and growth that will make them a future threat within the county, the IAC, and Section IV.
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