Seton snaps back into action following layoff


For the Potomac News

& Manassas Journal Messenger

MANASSAS — The Seton boys basketball team showed no signs of having had a few weeks off for the holidays, posting an 84-43 Delaney Athletic Conference victory over Word of Life Academy on Tuesday night.

Coming off a 38-point loss to Colonial Beach on Friday, Word of Life was seeking revenge from a Seton victory earlier in the season. But the visiting Ambassadors fell behind early and never recovered, scoring just seven fourth-quarter points against a stingy Conquistador defense.

“I was a little concerned coming back from break,” Seton coach Dan VanderWoude said. “We got off to a slow start and we rely on our pressure defense to keep us going.”

In front of a small but energetic home crowd, Seton (9-2 overall, 8-1 DAC) used its size advantage and pinpoint perimeter passing to keep the Ambassadors on their heels. Sophomore Joey Daniel led the charge early on, using a 4-point play to break an early tie with 4:32 left in the first quarter. Seton got several open looks in the paint, which often resulted in points, and the game’s up-tempo pace clearly favored the Conquistadors, who used 10 players throughout the game.

Word of Life opened with a 3-2 zone defense in the second quarter, but the Ambassadors had no match for Daniel in the first half. His 3-pointer with five minutes left made the score 32-15, and the visiting team could only watch the lead swell to 38-15 with just over three minutes remaining before halftime.

Word of Life’s David Millender, who scored 29 points against Colonial Beach, made some tough shots in the quarter, and along with Mario Taylor, provided most of the playmaking. Seton’s man-to-man, full-court press disrupted the Ambassadors’ offense and forced several first-half turnovers, resulting in just eight second-quarter points by the visitors and a 42-21 halftime score.

“We wanted to trap Millender and make him give the ball up; he’s their scorer and did a good job tonight,” VanderWoude said.

Led by Millender, Word of Life cut into the lead in the third quarter, using a 5-0 run to start the second half. But Daniel provided the spark again, extending the lead to 48-29 with the last of his 3-pointers at 4:32 left in the quarter. Seton used constant ball movement and rebounding to create good chances, while Millender and Taylor got very little help offensively. Every time it looked as if Word of Life would threaten the lead, the Conquistadors would answer with a 3-pointer or layup.

A 62-36 cushion going into the final stanza turned into a 70-40 lead with 5:25 remaining, as Seton exposed gaping holes in the Word of Life defense for a series of transition buckets. VanderWoude would often substitute all five players in at once, and there was no drop-off between the first and second teams.

Seton enjoyed its largest lead of the game, 84-41, after a Word of Life timeout with 1:19 left in the game. The Conquistadors ended strong, outscoring their opponents by a 22-7 margin to erase any chance of a comeback. The outside-inside combination of Daniel and junior Mike Duda was too much for the visiting Ambassadors, who fell to 3-7, 1-4.

Seton had three players finish in double figures, led by Daniel (game-high 24 points) and Duda, who tallied 17 points.

Senior Matt Heishman chipped in with 11 points, while junior Mike Hadro and Zack Ostegren got others involved, recording six and five assists, respectively. Paul Mooney and junior Eric Hickson chipped in with eight points apiece. In the losing cause, Millender led Word of Life with 17 points and Taylor added 11.

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