Strong second quarter lifts Kinnelon past Montville

By Mark Kitchin


KINNELON – Kinnelon coach Sean Rivers doesn’t profess to know much about football but with two of the school’s best football linebackers Chris Villante and Sean Robbins playing pressure defense he knows the basketball isn’t going to get past the Colts players very often. Pressure defense and the ability to knock down shots on offense helped in Kinnelon’s 59-45 triumph over Montville in a rare morning contest on Saturday.

R. J. Gianetti had 15 points and double-digit rebounds for Kinnelon. Evan Argirou scored 13 points and Robbins chipped in with 11 for the Colts. Mark Przetak scored 13 points for the Mustangs which drop to 4-3.

Kinnelon took control of the game with a 24-8 second-quarter run which helped it build a 37-14 halftime advantage. The Colts forced some turnovers on defense, got out well in transition and hit a majority of their shots to take a commanding lead. The relentless rebounding of Gianetti and the ability to create turnovers and score in transition stood out in the triumph.

Kinnelon’s R. J. Gianetti is swamped by Montville players after grabbing another rebound in Saturday’s game.

“Our guards face guard and a lot of the time teams throw over our guards because they are not very big,’’ Rivers said. “It’s a disruption, so the point guard can’t bring it up the floor. Then what happens is I’ve got the two linebackers and we start talking in football terms. All of a sudden their guy goes and they can jump to the ball. They are great at that and then the big guy (Gianetti) bails us out a ton.’’

Sometimes the disruption allows the guards to come from behind, stealing the ball after a few initial passes. It also gets a team’s offense out of tempo and opposing players throw up rushed shots.

“We try to slow down the game a little bit and force them to take time bringing up the ball,’’ Robbins said. “We try to trap them in our half of the court because we have more players and less space to cover.

“We owned the defensive boards in the (second) quarter. I think that led to our offense. We got out and ran and the shooters hit their shots.”

Montville’s Jon Lacy attempts to push the ball ahead as Kinnelon’s Chris Villante puts the pressure on.

Often Kinnelon got second chances from the hard work by Gianetti. He has been a bruiser on the boards. He regularly approaches 20 rebounds a contest and may have even set a new school record for rebounding when he pulled down 25 in a win against Kittatinny early in the year. If the Kinnelon standout isn’t finishing, he’s keeping the ball in play and giving the Colts added opportunities to score.

“Everyone is boxing out, that’s why I can get to most of them,’’ Gianetti said. “I’m boxing out too and everyone is scrapping.’’

“Today, he might have had 20 again,’’ Rivers said. “It’s the old Moses Malone thing, he shoots and misses and gets his own rebound. He’s a human pogo stick. His effort is phenomenal.’’

The Colts (5-2) are becoming a feel good story this year. Last season had an 8-15 mark, but several players returned to the program for numerous reasons to give it some fresh blood and an air of excitement. The core group, who were sophomores but gained lots of experience last year, anxiously invited them back on the team.

“It’s a mixture,’’ said. “I think some of the guys came to the games last year and saw that the younger guys had a pretty good group. We started winning a lot more at the end of the season and got it rolling.’’

Kinnelon’s Sean Robbins drives to the basket against a Montville defender. Robbins scored all 13 of his points in the first half.




Athletes like Villante, John Mamory and Bill Bolding give the team depth and has kicked up the team’s intensity during games and in practice because of the battle for playing time.

“The kids are playing hard,’’ Rivers said. “In past years I always had one or two guys I couldn’t get on because we needed them. Now I can kind of jump on guys. The last game I was yelling at guys at halftime and the kids are looking at me like I’m kind of crazy. … I loved the guys we had last year but there wasn’t a lot of (competition). We got Villante to come back, who played varsity as a freshman and has been out the last two years with injuries. Mamory as a freshman sat out with an illness and didn’t play the last two years. Bolding didn’t play the last two years. In practice we have 10 guys playing each other who are pretty solid.’’

Kinnelon led 46-27 after three quarters but creditMontvillefor hanging in and chipping away at the Colts lead. The three-point shooting of Przetak and Tyler Storch cut the deficit to 13 at one point but the Mustangs were never able to work back into single digits.


About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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