Youthful Glen Cove improving


At the beginning of the season, Glen Cove boys’ basketball head coach Peter Falen was aware of how young his team was, but that didn’t temper excitement. Although having four starters that are either freshmen or sophomores, the Big Red sits at 3-3 in Conference A3 play, and Falen thinks his team can be better in the second half with the proper adjustments.

“We’re at .500 but I feel we’re better than that,” Falen said. “The kids have bought in and are still battling. They could have packed it in after Christmas…but they didn’t. This group isn’t like that.”

Glen Cove will continue its league play this Saturday, Jan. 25 at Hewlett. The Big Red opened up its Conference A3 play with a 62-56 win over Hewlett on Dec. 18. In that matchup, freshman Melton Foster finished with a game-high 23 points. The Big Red also had two other players in double-figures with Joe Johnson dropping 13 points and Theo Watson with 10. Freshman Londell Wheeler added 9 points. In this Friday’s matchup, though, Falen still wants to change his game plan for a better result.

“Hewlett has shooters, so we need to extend our defense out to the three-point line,” Falen said. “Sitting in a zone won’t help us. We need to do a better job playing man-to-man and take the ball out of the hands of their shooters.”

Hewlett’s Ryan Weiss, who has eclipsed 30 three-pointers on the season, averages 16 points per game on the season and dropped 19 in their first game with four three-pointers. Falen mentioned that “chasing those three-point shooters off of the three-point line” and “forcing them out of their rhythm by getting them to move towards the basket” and towards help defense is an important part of his game plan for Friday.

On Jan. 28, Glen Cove will look for a redemption game against Roslyn, who handled the Big Red by a score of 67-43 in their first matchup. Roslyn jumped out to a 35-19 lead by the end of the first half, and still outscored Glen Cove by eight in the second. Saleh Johnson finished with 21 points for Roslyn, while Glen Cove’s Watson and Foster combined for 22 points in the away loss.

Glen Cove dropped its other two losses in Conference A3 to South Side and Jericho, who have a combined 11-3 conference record.

Falen mentioned his team is going to have to focus on doing better in the rebounding battle in the second half, especially against the league’s best. “We’re not a big team,” Falen said. “Our tallest guy is probably 6-1, so we can have a tough time on the boards. We have to focus on boxing out better in the second half of this year.”

Although smaller compared to other teams in-conference, Glen Cove does have a diversity of scoring options with Wheeler, Foster, Johnson, Watson and junior Michael Battle. It also has enjoyed the contributions of Queens transfer Vimel David, who has provided a spark off the bench with some timely shooting.