With midterms last week, players had a very small window of time to leave a big impression. Two of the guys who were able to accomplish a lot with a little are this week’s winners. Both are strong all-around players known more for their work on defense. This week, both were asked to contribute more offensively for one reason or another and they delivered without a hitch.
Josh’s POTW: Joe Letizia, Tappan Zee —
The 5-foot-8 senior has played more varsity basketball games than any active players in Section 1 — at least on the boys side. He’s been starting at the point for TZ since eighth grade, won two gold balls and played for a state championship. But what Letizia has never been known for is his scoring. Sure, he can creep into double digits on a hot night, but defense and toughness have always been his best attributes.
Letizia proved he could score a little when needed last week. In fact, his offense was sorely needed without big man Eric Casey, who missed games on Friday and Saturday with a sprained ankle. Casey had become a steady double-double player in the last month, so the Dutchmen could have really missed his production. Instead, Letizia exploded in the first half of wins against Nanuet on Friday and Saunders on Saturday. He had 15 by halftime against Nanuet, including three 3-pointers in the first quarter. He then dropped 17 on Saunders in the first quarter the next day, upped his total to 22 at halftime and finished with 28.
In all those games — five season’s worth — Letizia’s previous career-high was 20. He erased that number quickly on Saturday while mixing in his typical solid playmaking and defense.
The 6-foot-4 junior (pictured right, in white) has been solid for the Indians this year, averaging a double-double, but he really turned the corner this week.
Simone would start things off with a solid 12-point, nine-rebound performance against Somers in the Indians’ 52-37 win over the Huskers.
But the Peekskill game was where Simone truly shined, scoring a game-high 25 points and grabbing nine rebounds in Mahopac’s impressive 83-57 win. Simone helped orchestrate a 20-7 second quarter that gave the Indians a decisive lead heading into halftime. All of that was done with Indians’ star Brendan Hynes sidelined due foul trouble, showing that Simone can take the reigns when necessary.
I’ve got a chance to see the Indians twice prior to their game with Peekskill (against Horace Greeley and vs. Stepinac in the Slam Dunk tournament) and was impressed with the growth I saw from Simone in such a short period of time. His performance against the Red Devils proved he has the ability to take over games and is certainly #POTW worthy.
“He’s so improved,” said Mahopac coach Kevin Downes of Simone. “He’s got so much more confidence. He’s making shots when he goes to the basket, and he’s only gotten better and he’s only a baby.”
2012-13 Players of the Week
Dec. 17 —
John Decker, Somers
Jay Cabell, Peekskill
Dec. 24 —
Demarcus Miller, Stepinac
Brian Daniels, Briarcliff
Jan. 2 —
Jack Sullivan, Albertus Magnus
John Decker, Somers
Jan. 7 —
Brendan Hynes, Mahopac
Vaughn Dweck, Panas
Umar Singh, North Salem
Jan. 21 —
Dane Williamson, Gorton
Max Twyman, Rye