By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
PLEASANT VALLEY —
Coach Tyrone Asterino paced the sideline at his home gym at East Fairmont High School.
He barked out plays until he was red in the face, implored his Bees to step out on Frankfort sharp shooter Chase Detrick, who put up 30 points, and constantly pointed to let his team know they needed to push the pace.
But in the third quarter, all Asterino could do was smile and shake his head when his 6-foot-6, 208-pound center Nick Greely slammed home a two-handed dunk.
The basket counted for just two of the sophomore’s 20 points in the contest and helped to propel the Bees to a 69-58 victory over Frankfort in the team’s first game of the season.
Minutes later, Greely rocked the rim with another dunk. This time the boisterous student section — backed by the East Fairmont band and the state-bound cheerleaders — did the talking for Asterino, breaking out into a “Nicky G! Nicky G! Nicky G!” cheer.
All in all, it wasn’t too shabby for the sophomore’s first game on the varsity.
"We knew that Nick was going to be able to come in and give us help,” Asterino said. “But we didn't know what was going to happen when we put him out there because he's a sophomore and he hasn't played against varsity competition.”
His question may have been answered Wednesday night.
When asked about the two plays, Greely put it rather simply.
“I love dunking,” he said. “When I get a chance, I dunk it. It gets the student crowd pumped up.”
Asterino said that while he expects Greely to continue to use his size to make contributions, he doesn’t need him to be the entire team. He — and Greely, too — stressed that the players around him helped to create the opportunities.
“My teammates helped getting open off screens and picks,” Greely said. “I just attacked hard and took advantage of the mismatch.”
In total, eight players scored in the contest. Myles Johnson was second on the team with 12 points. Jacob Casalinuova and Ian Hayhurst had seven each. Brennon Vincent, Colton Toothman and Jake Delaney all had six. And Ronnie Mills pitched in five.
“I've had long conversations with Nick that he doesn't need to be the big fish, per se,” Asterino said. “There are other fish in that pond that are pretty good too.”
Frankfort kept the game interesting, especially early, thanks in large part to its “big fish.” The team ran Detrick off numerous screens to create space for the long-range shooter.
At first the Bees used help defense to switch. But they were slow doing so, leaving him open for numerous 3-pointers. The result was just a 3-point lead for the Bees at the end of the first quarter, 18-15.
As the game wore on, the Bees went away from the help defense. They relied more on one defender (typically Mills) to fight through the screens. The change, along with some offensive continuity, helped East Fairmont open up a 35-24 lead by halftime and stretch it to more than 20 in the midway point of the third quarter.
“I think Ronnie Mills did a tremendous job on (Detrick),” Asterino said. “It was good to see that we held him a little bit in check.”
Asterino said the defense still has some work to do, but “it's game one and we’ve had 17 practices. We're not supposed to be real, real good right now.”
The Bees’ defense will be tested again on Friday when East Fairmont travels to Preston to face a similar 3-point shooting threat in Jimmy Galusky, who averaged 19 points as a junior last season.
“Galusky is one of the top one, two, three guards in the Big 10 Conference,” Asterino said.
Said Greely, “We’ll be ready.”
Email Mike DeFabo at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.