When Zeddie Williams' shot was just shy of its mark Tuesday night against OTC Middle College, during the Section 6 overall Class C title game at Buffalo State, the Silver Creek boys' basketball season came to an end. But it was a season that Head Coach Rob Genco will not soon forget.
"Probably just the players," Genco said of what he'll remember most about the 2011-12 season. "And the experience that we had. The winning was definitely a bonus.
"And (the players caring about each other," Genco said. "And the overall atmosphere and being around kids that worked hard and were close-knit. It was by far, in the 10 years I've been coaching, up there as one of my favorite seasons ever. They cared about each other and they cared about me."
Silver Creek boys’ basketball head coach Rob Genco will look to Stephen Marcey, pictured above, to help be one of the leaders on next year’s team. Marcey, along with fellow sophomore Kaine Kettle, was recently named a CCAA?Division 2 Second Team All-Star.
Playing in their last game were seniors Jon Jimerson, Frank Brown and Kevin Rocque, and Genco could not be happier to have had them on his team.
"I appreciated the work they put in," Genco said. "They helped create an atmosphere that was very unselfish and defined sports when it's at its best. I truly believe they became better people because of the basketball season. They learned how to be a better person and how to carry that on and apply it to real-life situations. I try to be as much of a mentor as I can and all of the things I tried to pass onto them, I hope they took them to heart, which I think they did."
Although the loss was hard on Genco and his players, he hopes his players were able to learn a thing or two over the course of the season, and that they will not hang on to the loss for any extended period of time.
"When you lose by one point, you second guess a lot of things," Genco said. "Something else could have happened that still would have netted us a loss. (Friday) I found out that the violation on Frank (Brown) was him leaning over and swiping a bobby pin off the court.
"It still hurts," Genco continued. "It's still fresh, but I told them that it's the same thing in life, you'll face situations like that, but you've got to box it up and put it in the back of your mind. You've got to move on. As much as we want to be playing (today), it's over and we have to look at the journey and not just that last game."
A great deal of the players on the team did not have too much time to let the loss to the Kats linger, as lacrosse season began Wednesday. With the Black Knights preparing to defend their Section 6 Class C title, Genco hopes having to refocus right away will help keep the players minds off the one-point loss to OTC.
"We were all at practice (Wednesday)," Genco said. "We had a nice day and (Thursday) we were out in the pouring rain and (Friday) we were outside in 32 degree weather and every basketball player was there. They were right back at it and we're hoping to do the same thing in lacrosse. We have four of five starters are all on the lacrosse team, so we're pretty excited to all still be together."
Silver Creek has every reason to be excited about its lacrosse season, as it will begin defense of its sectional title, and thanks to one of its coaches, will bring with it to the field a similar offensive mindset as the basketball team, which had very little trouble scoring this season.
"We're all on the same page as far as how we want the offense to run," Genco, who coaches the lacrosse team's offense said. "We have to be unselfish, so we're basically going to apply the same game plan that we had in basketball with lacrosse. We have a sectional title to defend and even though it's a new team, we know that we have a lot of work to do and we're going to get right after it."
Despite having to begin his coaching duties on the lacrosse team earlier than he would have liked, Genco is nonetheless excited for the 2012-13 boys' basketball season to begin. And given that the CCAA Division 2 Most Valuable Player, Williams, and CCAA Division 2 Second Team All-Stars Stephen Marcey and Kaine Kettle will be back, it is easy to see why Genco is anxious to get back on the hardwood.
"I'm really excited," Genco said. "I wish it started (today). We have Zeddie (Williams) coming back, he had 427 points last year, he had 393 this year. It will be exciting, he's going to go over 1,000. Stephen Marcey had 47 threes, Kaine Kettle I think ended up with 41, so that's a big chunk of our offense coming back. I'm extremely excited. I know I need to work a big guy in and I've already got three guys penciled in and I've got three options to run the point. I learned a lot from this year and I'm excited. It's hard to do what we did.
Despite his excitement, Genco knows his players still have some room to grow.
"I'm going to wait 'til lacrosse ends, I'm going to get the guys in a summer league and I'm going work on Zeddie's shot," Genco said. "I'm going to film him taking shots and just kind of get him to start with the ball a little bit higher and get a little more flex in his knees, so he's more of a threat from the outside. Stephen I think can work on some things in his game as far as court awareness and defense. He's a heck of a basketball player, but I think he can be better in those areas.
"Kaine (Kettle), the season that he had this year was expected," Genco continued. "But I didn't think he would step up and be as big. He played an instrumental role. I just want him to polish all of the things he does, work and play basketball. He's a gym rat, he's passionate about basketball, so he'll do that."
As for replacing the seniors he is losing, Genco has a pretty good idea of which direction he is going to go in terms of the talent he had on the bench at the varsity level, as well as the talent that will be coming up from the jayvee program.
"You have to have players that buy into what you're doing," Genco said. "You have to have the ball bounce you're way, you have to be well coached, and you've got to be lucky to get to where we did. And when you create that atmosphere and you believe that, and you coach that, I think those things happen. I'm not going to change the way I do (coach), and hopefully the next two or three guys that get into our rotation next year buy into it, because it won't work if they don't."