Zach Sibel and the PA Blue Devils started last week’s action in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League on a down note as they fell to Sneakers Plus.
“We couldn’t get anything to fall on Monday and the other team hit a lot of shots,” said Sibel, reflecting on the team’s 58-47 defeat on June 17. “It is always tough when you get into that hole.”
Two nights later, the Blue Devils got off to a sizzling start as they faced defending league champions and undefeated Winberie’s, jumping out to a 16-5 lead.
The team was not only motivated by a desire to bounce back from Monday, they were fired up for the chance to knock off Winberie’s.
“We tried to start off hot, get some layups and stuff like that and you saw that tonight,” said Sibel.
“We got hot and got a little bit of a lead and had to keep it up on defense. We always battle them pretty tough, year in, year out. It is a game we look forward to when we see it on the schedule.”
While Winberie’s narrowed the gap to 29-24 at halftime, the Blue Devils turned up the defensive heat after the break and pulled away to a 64-44 victory.
“We kept up that defensive intensity and kept getting stops,” said Sibel, reflecting on the team’s second half surge.
“Those buckets are going to come, especially when you are getting stops and getting out in transition.”
The Blue Devils also found an offensive rhythm as Sibel scored a game-high 20 points with Zak Kumer and Pat Vasturia scoring 14 apiece.
“We saw everyone getting it clicking,” said Sibel. “Pat was hitting shots, Jesse Krasna was hitting shots. We were getting guys open and they were knocking them down. You can’t really complain when shots are going down.”
Sibel isn’t complaining about taking on increased responsibility for the Blue Devils.
“This is my third year in the league,” said Sibel, a former Pennsbury High standout who just completed his sophomore season for Delaware Valley College where he averaged 2.7 points a game in 23 appearances.”
“My role has kind of increased every year. I am just trying to get active and do my thing on defense and when I get opportunities with the ball, to make the most of them.”
In Sibel’s view, the fact that the PA Blue Devils roster contains several college players, including four from Ursinus (Kevin Janowski, Mike Marciano, in addition to Vasturia and Krasna) gives the team an edge.
“We all know how to play so we all feed off of each other,” said Sibel. “When basketball season ends for school, you look forward to this league.”
The squad is looking forward to making a title run this summer. “To come back after a tough loss and beat the defending champions gets your confidence going,” said Sibel. “I think that after tonight, if we keep playing like this, we have got a good shot.”