by Thomas Spencer
The Fighting Yellowjackets took on the Broncs of Frenchtown on Saturday in Stevensville. The Yellowjackets came out really strong in the first quarter, beating some tough defensive pressure numerous times and capitalizing on strong drives to the basket and open looks from the floor. The first quarter ended 13-14 Frenchtown where Kellan Beller had 8 in that quarter and was absolutely everywhere. Beller worked strongly defensively and played really strong to the basket in the first quarter.
The second and third quarter got away from the Yellowjackets, who gave up 36 points in that time and only answered with 15 of their own. However, the boys from Stevi did hold the Broncs to 9 in the fourth and responded with 9 of their own including 5 from Tad Tackes in that quarter. Beller accounted for 14, Tackes, 9, Travino, 5, and Grazzani had 4 on the night.
This Saturday also happened to be Senior Night for the young Stevi squad and in a sea of junior boys, Lorenzo Grazzani stood out as the team’s only senior. Grazzani, an Italian exchange student, was welcomed by warm applause and a thankful speech written by him was read to the crowd.
When asked later what he liked about his experience, Grazzani said, “My favorite aspect about being an exchange student is to experience a new type of life and culture with new people and have the opportunity to play basketball at a higher level than before.”
“I’ve played basketball in Italy for five years,” said Grazzani. “This is my sixth year in a club, because in my country school and sports are separate programs.” Grazzani usually exhibits a positive attitude and it wasn’t surprising to hear his response when asked what he liked most about his team and experience thus far. “I love how we support each other on our team. Our coaches are trying to make us compete and get better every single day.”
The Yellowjackets played East Helena last Tuesday, winning 35-32, and ending a 28-game losing streak. They will play Florence this Thursday at home.