Guilderland bursts out of the gates
The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael
Bent knees: Guilderland’s Marc Du Moulin, left, and Bethlehem’s John Sica battle for a loose basketball during last Friday’s game in Delmar. It was the season-opening contest for both Suburban Council rivals, and Guilderland won, 75 to 57. Du Moulin scored 15 points.
DELMAR — The basketball season just began, but Guilderland looked like a cohesive team during an impressive 18-point win on the road at Bethlehem last Friday. The Dutch players were quicker than the Eagles, and seemed to have more energy.
“We wanted it more than they did,” sophomore Andrew Platek said after the 75-to-57 win; he scored a game-high 19 points for Guilderland. “We played our hearts out, went for everything.”
The Dutchmen turned on the jets in the second half, making some tough shots, and playing concentrated defense. Head Coach Ron Osinski couldn’t recall the last time Guilderland won in Bethlehem’s gymnasium, but it had been more than five years.
“We’re walking out of here with a smile on our faces,” said Osinski. “This doesn’t happen often. It’s pretty impressive to hold them [Bethlehem] down in their own gym.”
It was an earsplitting atmosphere — Bethlehem’s Hooligans, equipped with a live band, against Guilderland’s Red Sea. As the game progressed, the Red Sea drowned out the home fans.
“Unbelievable,” Guilderland’s Marc Du Moulin said of the noise brought by the Dutch fans. Du Moulin scored 15 points despite being hobbled at one point by what looked like a right ankle injury. “The fans do make a difference,” he said. “It makes you feel better, and play better.”
“I don’t know where we would be without the fans,” added Platek.
With all the clamor throughout the game, Osinski said that his players couldn’t hear him well in the huddle. He said that the players’ sense of basketball helped them prevail.
“It was so loud, so I had to yell,” said Osinski. “I feel good, though; the kids made a lot of plays on their own without much coaching.”
Guilderland is an experienced team with nine returning players; four of them (Platek, Du Moulin, Vince Simeone, and Matt Cerutti) are back in the starting line-up. Cerutti, a senior, played his first game with the team since his sophomore year; he missed his junior season because of a core muscle injury, which is usually referred to as a sports hernia.
Cerutti, who scored 12 points and grabbed many rebounds last Friday, told The Enterprise that he was uncertain about his basketball career last year. He had tears in his pelvic area that went undiagnosed for a while, but he finally saw a core-muscle specialist in Philadelphia, going there for two separate surgeries last March and July.
“It’s been a long time, so it felt great,” said Cerutti, who adds size (6 feet, 5 inches) and defensive intensity. “That was a scary injury. I wasn’t sure if I was going to play again, but I’m back to crashing the boards.”
Du Moulin and Platek both agreed that Cerutti inserted something into the line-up that hadn’t been there for Guilderland last season.
“He’s very smart, has good demeanor, is calm, can shoot and dribble, do it all,” said Du Moulin of Cerutti. “He’s a good player to have on your team.”
“We struggled with size last year,” Platek added. “He adds a whole new presence to our team.”
The Dutchmen have nine players who stand six feet or taller.
“Look, these guys are veterans, they have confidence,” Osinski said of his players. “We’ve got a lot of pieces that mix together well.”
Guilderland busted out to a 13-to-3 lead over Bethlehem with a balance of jump shots and points in transition. The Eagles got to within four points before halftime, but the Dutch went on an 18-to-4 run to start the third quarter; the team had style and precision.
Du Moulin said that Guilderland had the Dec. 6 game circled on the calendar since last season.
“We made a statement,” he said. “We’re usually the forgotten team; not many people pick us to win, ever, for whatever reason. We have to prove people wrong, and I think we did that tonight. Our heart really came out tonight.”
Platek said that the Dutch played basketball together throughout the summer. “It’s carried over,” he said. “It’s been months and months, and it shows on the court.”
After the convincing victory over Bethlehem, Osinski said he wasn’t extremely satisfied with Guilderland yet; it’s a long time until the regular season ends. However, the Dutchmen beat Columbia at home on Tuesday, 75 to 62. Platek and Simeone combined for 44 points and eight three-pointers.
Usually, Guilderland plays in a tournament before Suburban Council play starts, but not this year. Osinski didn’t know what to expect from his team last Friday.
“It was tough coming in here,” said Osinski outside the Bethlehem school. “Even though we started late, the kids knew the stuff that I was throwing out at them. That’s huge, them knowing what to do. Most of them know.”