FEDERAL MATTERS: Hammond uses hair to help Boardman
Boardman's #22 Dave DeBernardi puts a shot up while Poland's #10 Colin Reardon goes for the swat.
Next: Boardman vs. Canfield, Wednesday, 6 p.m., at Poland High School.
Next: Poland vs. Fitch, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
By Jon Moffett
It’s not his scoring or rebounding skills that make Boardman High junior forward Dayne Hammond such a threat on the basketball court. Rather, another part of his game is responsible for his skills: his hair.
Hammond has his long, braided her pulled back into a ponytail of sorts. During a postgame interview, Hammond credited his hair for his team’s 66-48 victory over the host school of the Poland Classic.
Even his head coach got in on the hair club.
“He’s like Medusa,” Dan McKeown chimed in.
In reality, Hammond’s hair may give him swagger. But his athleticism gives him his power. The 6-foot-6 inside presence scored a game-high 19 points for the Spartans (3-3) and brought down 16 rebounds. The loss gave the Bulldogs (3-1) their first defeat.
“I was just feeling good,” Hammond said. “That’s really all I can say. Just let me do my thing.”
“His thing” was part of a dominant inside-outside game the Spartans utilized.
Teammate Dave DeBernardi who provided the outside portion. DeBernardi, a senior, finished second on the team with 17 points. And 12 of those came from beyond the arc. Senior John Fithian had 12 points.
McKeown said his defense was another big factor. The Bulldogs scored just three points in the first quarter and 11 in the first half. The lone first-quarter bucket came off the hands of Darius Patton, who sank a 3-pointer. Patton and Hammond each also play wide receiver for their schools’ respective football programs.
“We knew they shot it well from the perimeter, so we wanted to close it out on shooters,” McKeown said. “We have a nice mix of guys who have a lot of length. So we can close out and challenge shots without taking ourselves out of the play.”
On the opposite end, the Bulldogs struggled with the size of the Spartans. Coach Ken Grisdale said it’s hard to prepare for a team with length when its not an asset you have.
“For us, they’re long. For the Federal League they’re not that long,” Grisdale said. “But when they spread out they’re athletic enough they gave us some difficulty shooting early because of their length.”
The Bulldogs were paced by Patton, who had 16 points. Behind him was Colin Reardon with 12.
McKeown said the team was playing for freshman coach Jay Dana, whose wife, Michelle, passed away on Christmas Day. She was 44.