Rutherford, NJ - On paper, given their recent track records, this had a distinct possibility of being one sided. It proved just that. St. Mary defeated Wallington 84-4 Tuesday night at George Vuyosevich Gymnasium. The Gaels are now a perfect 3-0 while the visiting Panthers are fell to 0-3.
Brian Gaccione’s Gaels used transition, ball pressure and some hot shooting to build the lead. For just the first eight minutes. Second period transition was stopped as well as pressure as the Gaels settled into half court defense. Wallington tried to attack the basket early but ran into the Gael size, anchored by Victor Torres. Panthers then went into an outside shooting mode. Failing to connect they were down 54-4 at intermission.
State rules call for a 35 or more difference necessitating a running clock. At the half both coaches agreed to run the clock the duration of the second half.
The final 16 minutes were like a scrimmage for the Gaels. They worked on multiple pass ball movement, different sets, went deep to the bench- all in the name of doing what they could in a competitively unbalanced situation.
This was not Wallington’s night to cash in on any chance. In the fourth period a three point shooter was fouled in the act. He missed all three attempts from the charity stripe. In the final possession a Wallington player missed a wide open layup in the last seconds. The final score read 84-4 and was quickly taken off the board following the final buzzer.
Post game Gaccione was more concerned about what else he could have done. Realistically, he couldn’t have done more. It was a lopsided matchup with Wallington, on their behalf, not taking any advantage that might come their way. His son Luke Gaccione, who last week scored his 1000th career point and a few teammates asked the coach if they could shoot. Not that they wanted to but if they should even with a wide open look. Shooting was permitted after no transition and a number of passes as noted. Coach Gaccione was concerned why Wallington coach Anthony Alessio called a time out with just over a minute left. Not a time out to sub, a full time out. At that juncture Gaccione and his team just wanted the clock to hit 0:00.
The officials did a good job in a game management mode- giving Wallington any close call. It was something Gaccione felt should be done and was grateful it was done.
Torres, playing approximately a half, led all scorers with a 16 point 11 rebound double-double. Given the disparity one asked why St. Mary had Wallington on the schedule. The answer lie in conference play. Both are members in the NJIC Meadowlands Division this season and are locked into a home and home series.