Bridgemen Win Consecutive Games for First Time this Season
Defense fuels Fort Lee in 51-22 victory at Paramus.
Coach John Ziemba motivated the Fort Lee Bridgemen with a halftime speech on defense, and the result was evident, as the team allowed just five points the rest of the way in a 51-22 win over Paramus.
Fort Lee has now won back-to-back games for the first time this season and have accomplished the feat while outscoring their opponents by a combined 60 points.
“It feels amazing,” said sophomore guard Nick Gentile.
“Two wins in a row feels good after the slow start,” added senior forward George Padin. “It feels good to pick it up and get two wins in a row.”
Off the tip, Paramus set up guard Evan Kim for an early lay-up, but Fort Lee answered with the next 10 points of the game.
“We are coming with so much energy now,” Gentile said. “We ended slow but we came out great. “
Following a trio of turnovers to end the first quarter, the Bridgemen led the Spartans 10-5, but Paramus surged back in the second.
Forward Justin Kim added all five of his points during the period as the Spartans were within four points at the break.
“We were nervous and upset,” Padin said of the situation at the time. “But we were able to pick our heads up and come out strong in the second half.”
During halftime, Fort Lee head coach John Ziemba drastically motivated the Bridgemen for the two quarters ahead.
“Coach gave us a really good speech during the halftime and we all got pumped up,” Gentile said emphatically. “We came out with so much energy and we knew we were never going to let it go.”
The speech rallied Fort Lee to jump out to an 18-point lead, while the Bridgemen held Paramus to just two points during the entire quarter.
“We had a little bit of a halftime talk about defense,” said Ziemba. “We came out and we gave up just five points in the second half which has been the opposite of what we have been doing.”
While the defense was thwarting the Paramus attack, the Fort Lee defenders were also generating offense on the other end of the floor.
“Our offense is still a work in progress but our offense came off our defense,” Ziemba added. “That is what it has to do.”
Fort Lee closed the game on a 15-3 run in the final quarter without giving up a made field goal.
The Bridgemen had nine players score in the game including Gentile with a game-high 12 points. Freshmen Dashaun Washington and Josh Ford also finished with eight points, as the younger players continue to improve.
“I told Ford and Washington at the end of the game that they both did things today that they haven’t done and that is growing up,” the head coach said. “We’re building something and the big things may not come this year…but we have a few nice years ahead of us.”
But in the present, Fort Lee has a chance of winning three games in a row if they are able to continue this run into what coach Ziemba calls a very big week ahead.
The Bridgemen travel to play Dwight Morrow on Tuesday night, visit Lakeland on Thursday and then have a home game against Garfield on Saturday.
“This is a really big make or break week for us trying to get into the state tournament,” Ziemba said.