Catasauqua Press

Saturday, January 25, 2020
Press photo by Linda RothrockDerek George is one of the more experienced Catty players back this season. Press photo by Linda RothrockDerek George is one of the more experienced Catty players back this season.

CHS boys ready to get back to work

Tuesday, December 31, 2019 by Jeff Moeller Special to the Press in Sports

Catasauqua head boys’ basketball coach Eric Snyder didn’t have a good feeling walking into Nazareth’s gym Dec. 23, the date of the Roughies’ last game.

His feeling was justified when the host Blue Eagles hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the first quarter.

From there, it escalated into a long night for the Rough Riders, who trailed 41-20 at the half before they suffered a 73-33 loss.

“We knew they (Nazareth) were struggling lately, but we told our kids that they would likely play well in this game before Christmas,” said Snyder. “We played in the first quarter and part of the second quarter.

“But we had nothing going in (the basket). We did have enough shots, but we couldn’t make enough. We ended up taking a nose dive and it felt like somebody punched us in the gut.”

The loss dropped the Roughies to 3-4 overall, but they are 3-2 in the Colonial League. Snyder sees his team’s woes due to a growth factor.

“We have to mature,” he said. “We really only have two players with extensive varsity experience in Derek Troxell and Derek George.

“These guys have to realize that this is not JV anymore. We believe the talent is there. They just have start to take the next step.”

The Roughies shave developed a solid and consistent seven- to-eight-man rotation due to the development of seniors Gideon McKenzie and Damian Vasquez.

“They are our best three-point shooters,” said Snyder of his duo. “We’re trying to get McKenzie to go down low more, and Vasquez has been a big spark of the bench.

“Both of them will help us in the second half of the season.”

Up front, juniors Derek George and Ty Reitz are working to enhance their game. Fellow juniors Cole Schiffer and Damian DiPaolo have been a steady backcourt.

“George needs to shoot the ball better down low,” said Snyder. “He is coming along and looking to put it all together.

“Reitz is getting used to playing at the varsity level. He is lean and has to learn how to play the physical part of the game. But he has improved a lot.”

Catty will be back in action Friday when it travels to Wilson. The following week, the Roughies will have four games in six days beginning with Northern Lehigh at home Monday and ending at Northwestern Saturday.

It will be an early barometer for a hectic second half. Three of their first five losses were by 28 points or more.

“We have to be consistent and execute,” said Snyder about his team. “We’ll have 13 games in already by the following week.

“If we can mature as a team, we should be in good shape.”