Ithaca's Page All Basketball - Boys Stories

Basketball - Boys

Ithaca earns key TVC West win at home versus Hemlock WITH GALLERY

Can not load XML: XML document must have a top level element. No results

Maximizing strengths are what good basketball teams do.

Ithaca has done a fantastic job this season of playing through its two top scorers this season in seniors Isaiah Hoag and Levi Lehman, paving the way to a season that has included only two losses heading into Tuesday night’s showdown versus visiting Hemlock.

But one of the Yellowjackets’ two losses came back on Dec. 13 to the aforementioned Huskies, a game which saw Hemlock overwhelm Ithaca by slowing down the game and hitting some key outside shots.

The Huskies again tried to go with a slow-tempo and perimeter-oriented gameplan in the rematch, but this time the Yellowjackets were better prepared and defeated Hemlock 58-48 in a battle between two of the top three teams in the Tri-Valley Conference West standings.

“I called timeout really early when it was 4-2 them,” Ithaca coach Jim Thompson said. “We had three or four possessions that weren’t very good. I told them, ‘If you’re not going to be efficient on this end tonight, you’re going to be down there playing defense a lot.’ Our guys responded and they ended up taking the lead by four at the end of the first quarter.”

Despite Ithaca (10-2, 6-1) being forced into a slower game than normal and occasionally lacking its usual efficiency, it also had stretches where it dominated the action and continued to force Hemlock into catch-up mode.

The Yellowjackets took a 25-15 lead at halftime, while staying in control through three quarters at 38-30.

Hoag paced Ithaca with 16 points, while Lehman added 15. It came one game after the duo was held to six points each in a home victory over Michigan Lutheran Seminary.

“With Isaiah and Levi – opponents need to pick their poison,” Thompson said. “It’s hard to take away both. Isaiah has a little more range, so we can move him to the high post or the short corner. Both of them are great passers for big kids. They go high-low a lot. You know you are going to get a consistent and strong effort out of both of them every night.”

Overall, Thompson was happy with the workmanlike effort of his squad to defeat Hemlock and keep pace at the top of the TVC West with Saginaw Valley Lutheran.

“That’s a disciplined team and there’s a reason Hemlock was in first coming into tonight,” Thompson added. “They’re patient, they have some good athletes on the perimeter that cause trouble and they can shoot the basketball very well from the outside.”

“We got beat over there by 12 and I just think we’re in a much better place as a team now. We’re playing better team defense now and when we showed patience on offense tonight, it led to some positive things.”

Junior guard Joey Bentley contributed 13 points in the win for the Yellowjackets, while sophomore forward Baylee Chaffin added 11 points.

Ithaca will travel to rival St. Louis Friday night for a 7:30 p.m. start.

Last Updated: 1/31/2017 11:32:58 PM EST