Home cooking helps Talbots boys basketball to strong start

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Thursday, December 26, 2019 | 5:31 PM


Hampton basketball is off to a hot start — at least in the games that matter. And that can be attributed, in part, to a little bit of home cooking.

The team started its first week of section play with section wins over Franklin Regional, Indiana, and Plum — two of those wins at home.

“I told the team it’s really important to hold serve at home whenever you play section games,” coach Joe Lafko said. “Then you do your best on the road. Teams usually play better at home, and we were able to get two quality wins.”

As of publication time, the Talbots (4-3, 3-0) were tied with Shaler for first place in Section 3-5A. The team has been doing a lot of its damage inside, with senior forwards Ben Ringeisen and Colby Mignogna and Luke Lindgren showing power in the post.

“I think our strength is some of our post play on both sides,” Lafko said. “I think some of our games, that’s why we’ve had success: being able to establish our interior game on offense and protecting on defense. If you can control that paint area, you have a good chance to win.”

The defense has given up 367 points, seventh best in Class 5A despite enduring a 70-47 loss to Central Valley before the break in a game Lindgren (injury) and Ringeisen (personal) were unavailable.

Though the contributions of junior starters Seth Koontz and Quinn Morrow have solidified the starting lineup, the Central Valley game highlighted the need for more depth.

“That will need to be established moving forward,” Lafko said. “During the course of the year, you never know when you’re going to get into an injury situation or foul trouble. So we’re continuing to establish some depth on this team.

“We’re looking for consistency. There’s guys that have given us some minutes. Kyle Fuller and Matt DeMatteo have emerged as two players that came off the bench and have given us minutes.”

The team will hope to build depth quickly, stay healthy and work on its inside-to-outside game as the section’s current top three teams other than the Talbots — Shaler, Mars and Kiski Area — are on the schedule twice after the new year.

“We’re continuing to evolve as a team both offensively and defensively,” Lafko said. “We like the things we’ve been able to do. We just want to build on those successes and move forward to what I think is the toughest part of the schedule.”

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