The Patriots of Model Laboratory School are one of the most well coached teams at the high school level that I have seen in quite some time. They were ready for Pineville’s full court press. They had practiced hard for it. It was noticeable. Most other teams that play against Pineville’s full court press think they are ready for it too. The difference between Model and those other teams is that Model executed their game-plan to near perfection.
Pineville’s guard play, defensively, was intense and impressive. They executed the trapping press to perfection. Model did what they were supposed to do; they passed over the top of it. This led all too often to wide open streaking players for easy lay-ups; specifically sophomore guard, Dennis Smith.
But for every easy lay-up Model enjoyed by breaking Pineville’s press, senior Michael Cunningham added a timely basket, usually from 3-point range. The stress that usually paints Coach Strange’s face on the sideline could be seen evaporating as Cunningham continued to hit shot after shot, becoming that other piece of the puzzle he’s been waiting on all season.
He wasn’t the only surprise of the night though. Senior Logan Jeffrey showed poise and excellent post moves in the middle of Pineville’s motion offense. On defense he was there for several blocked shots, showing once again how dangerous this Mountain Lion team could be with a consistent inside presence.
James David Strange was back to his usual self, playing intense defense and confidently draining most of his shots. Add that to the normally consistent play of Shawn Madon and Pineville became the team that they are capable of being. Nobody expected them to do much this season with such key losses to their team due to graduation from last year’s squad. So what Coach Strange has these kids accomplishing is a true testament to his coaching ability and to the tenacity and work that these kids have put into practice.
Pineville (11-8) takes on Barbourville (8-8) on Monday night, January 19th at Oneida Baptist Institute to begin the 13th region’s All “A” Classic. Pineville defeated Barbourville last week 56-51 at Barbourville.
Pineville 16 20 17 15 – 68
Model 17 11 14 15 – 57
Pineville – Strange 25, Cunningham 15, Madon 9, Jeffrey 9, Fuson 8, Rye 2
Model – Smith 23, Witt 16, Cormney 9, Kipp 2, Conner 4, Daniel 3