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Pickens' Perspective: Ludlowe basketball teams play similar style

Updated 4:53 pm, Thursday, January 31, 2013
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Two teams. Yet, one brand of basketball.

Fairfield Ludlowe sure knows how to play defense.

The Falcons proved that Tuesday, sweeping crosstown rival, Warde. Although both Ludlowe teams use different methods to get the desired result, they look similar doing so.

Consider that Ludlowe's girls held the Mustangs to just 16 second-half points. The Falcons' boys did even better, keeping Warde to 30-- or 28 if you toss out a jumper with nine seconds left.

I know Ludlowe's boys coach Brian Silvestro is wishing for more offense, but his squad gets playing defense. There's nothing pretty about Ludlowe's games, but winning is winning.

The Falcons are now 4-0 when they allow 40 points or less. In an age in which attention spans have shrunk, and playing above the rim is cosmetically appeasing, Ludlowe's turned back the clock.

Without a shot clock, the Falcons are content to take long stretches off the clock. They stubbornly are content to defend their opposition for equally long stretches on the other end.

"I think they just understand each other, and they understand that each one of them will get their shot off ... plus, how much it hurts us to play defense for that long," Warde coach Ryan Swaller said. "It's tough to do at the high school level; they truly understand the defensive side of the basketball game."

Where Ludlowe's boys are tenacious, Ludlowe's girls are downright truculent. The Falcons ferocious spirit is personified by Julia Von Ehr, a self-proclaimed "defensive specialist" who grabbed loose balls, and rebounds, spearheading the Falcons' improvement in hustle plays.

"My mantra is `D,'" Von Ehr said. "I knew that the better defense I played, the better it'd be for my team... everything was just working."

Lest we forget Pauline Blatt-- the Falcons' fresh-faced, hard-nosed forward-- who dominated Tuesday. Blatt's effort was admired by both coaches, as Danko called her "the difference."

It may be a backhanded compliment to refer to these teams as "hard-working" or "fierce." Yet, while the superficial basketball fan-- who flocks to the sport for dunks or 3-pointers-- turns a blind eye to Ludlowe, the rest of us can marvel at both teams' abilities to simply win games.

That's what it's all about, right?

The saying "hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard" comes to mind. If these Ludlowe teams continue to work hard, they'll be tough to beat.

ppickens@bcnnew.com; twitter.com/Pat_Pickens

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