Wildcats' basketball skid reaches four games

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:18

    WARWICK — A three-game stretch against some of the best teams in Section 9 has left Warwick's boys' basketball team with a 1-4 record and a four-game losing streak. After going 1-1 in the annual Warwick Valley Coaches vs. Cancer Tip-Off Classic, the Wildcats traveled to Monroe-Woodbury, Newburgh Free Academy, and then hosted Middletown Dec. 17. While Warwick is a Class AA team like the three afore mentioned, they are not teams that affect the Wildcats' chances at making the playoffs. Still, a win over any of these teams would give Warwick a major boost of confidence before beginning league play Dec. 21 at Port Jervis. The first test was at Monroe-Woodbury Dec. 10. The Wildcats trailed 19-0 before scoring in an eventual loss. Things got no easier for the Wildcats when they went to NFA several days later and lost again. Those two losses led to the home game against Middletown. The Wildcats were down throughout the first half. And then things got worse. A remarkable slam by Jordan Dillard off an alley oop pass had the Middie crowd in a frenzy and the Warwick fans rattled. The spectacular play gave Middletown a 13-point lead, but the two points failed to rattle the Wildcats, who took off on a 5-0 run. "We didn't let their big play rattle us," Warwick head coach Gary Vyskocil said. "It's a mark of a good team." The Wildcats tried to get closer, but Middletown refused to let up and trailed in the closing seconds of the first half. That was when Warwick junior Joe McCarthy found a wide open Isai Reyes in the corner beyond the three-point line. The cool freshman took the pass and swished home a three-pointer, bringing Warwick within eight at halftime. The eight-point halftime deficit wound up being the closest Warwick came to making it a game. Middletown owned the second half and wound up leaving Warwick with a 76-51 victory. "We played a real strong first half, did a real good job controlling the pace of the game," Vyskocil said. "But in the second half they switched from a zone defense to a man-to-man." Coach Vyskocil knew these three games would be a major test for his young team. As much as he wanted to go 3-0, he looked for improvement in every game. According to what he saw, his team did just that. "If we continue improving and have good practices, we should be in a good shape for league games," Vyskocil said. Wildcat junior forward James Beckford had a team-high 14 points while senior forward Matt Stubek had eight points. McCarthy and senior guard Ray Humphries added six points each. Middletown's Dillard had 11 points while teammates Stefan Bonneau and Chris Brucato both had a game-high 24 points. Prior to winter break, Warwick has their first two league games. Their goal is to forget the past and win games that matter most. "We need to have good practices and go 2-0 before Christmas," Warwick sophomore guard Matt Stranski said. The Wildcats' next game after break is Tuesday Jan. 4 in a non-league contest against Monticello.