Published: March 11, 2006
finds what he’s looking for
Sports writer Jay Skurski says Niagara Falls
coach sees production help in easing Flynn's load
COLUMN: Jay Skurski
All season long, Niagara Falls coach Dan
Bazzani has been beating the same drum.
Opposing teams are going to key on Wolverines’ star Johnny Flynn, so the only
way NFHS will find success is if other players step up and take some of the
pressure off the Syracuse-bound junior.
That’s exactly what happened Saturday night.
Anthony Marshall and Rahshon Tabb took turns burying 3-pointers while Fairport
More importantly, the Wolverines played like a group that knew where others
would be on the court. One player can only carry a basketball team so far.
Look at where Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are in the NBA standings.
Bryant’s arguably the best player of his generation, but the Lakers are
battling for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.
Good chemistry matters in basketball perhaps more than any other sport. It
seems the Wolverines have learned that lesson at the most important time of
It wasn’t always like that, though.
Early in the season, it seemed like Flynn was often alone on an island. Some
of his teammates stopped and watched his lightning-quick drives to the hoop or
pull-up treys instead of moving without the ball or setting picks. They — like
so many fans — were mesmerized by his moves.
The opposite was true Saturday night. The Wolverines, led by Marshall at point
guard, made the right passes, got to loose balls and generally supported one
another. Missed shots were met with a pat on the back, those on the floor were
quickly helped to their feet and the Wolverines bench players raced to greet
their teammates at every time-out.
Had it been any other way, the Wolverines wouldn’t have had a chance to defend
their state title. The Red Raiders were a game opponent, a group that kept
Niagara Falls on its toes all night.
In the first half, Flynn had just eight points (good for almost any other
player, but for Flynn, well below expectations). Marshall filled in with all
11 of his points before the half. In the final 16 minutes, Tabb scored 12
points, all on 3-pointers.
Bazzani wore a look of satisfaction on his face after the game.
“I didn’t really know how far this team could go,” he said. “But they’ve
played well down the stretch.”
When Bazzani speaks now, it’s the team first. Sure, he still answers the same
questions about Flynn, but now the contributions of Marshall, Tabb and Kendall
Davis are uttered in the next breath.
“I don’t think anyone at the start of the season — including me — expected us
to be here,” Bazzani said.
Enjoy it coach. Your team has earned it.