Park View senior center Jeff Schwalm has never been much of an offensive threat during his varsity career. Playing for a team like the Patriots, who try to pressure the ball on defense and run on offense, it's understandable--the lanky 6-foot-7 Schwalm's only niche is that of a defensive stopper.
But for Friday night at least, Schwalm found a new niche, and the Patriots found a new weapon. Schwalm dominated inside and scored a career-high 27 points in Park View's 79-56 rout of Loudoun County in the Patriots' home opener.
Schwalm's previous career best was 13, and besides that game, he had never scored more than eight points in a contest. In the third quarter alone against Loudoun County, he scored 12 points as Park View pulled away. Most of his points came on follow-ups, as he enjoyed anywhere between a two- and six-inch height advantage over the Raiders guarding him.
"Coach stressed to me the importance of working on my offensive game in the offseason because we lost [All-Extra forward] Joe Nelson [to graduation]," Schwalm said. "So I worked a lot on my inside moves, developing a turnaround move. I think it's paying off."
Park View (1-1, 1-0 Northwestern District) didn't create as many transition chances as usual Friday, in part because a revamped schedule mean the Patriots were playing their second game of the year. The Patriots were rusty in their motion offense, and as a result, they were forced to use some half-court sets, which greatly benefited Schwalm.
"We're trying to get our bearings," Park View Coach Ken Edwards said, "but we want to get into an up-tempo game. We don't play that well sitting back. But we were able to get some movement and that got Jeff open underneath."
The offensive awkwardness showed in Park View's 18 turnovers, most of which came on errant passes to a cutting player. At times, the Patriots's fast break looked fluid, with junior Nick Smith leading the attack. The rest of the time, the Patriots seemed to make one pass too many, often looking too flashy for their own good.
"We're still in the process of trying to develop a team concept, and that's why we turned the ball over so much," Edwards said. "We passed the ball too much. We should be running our offense much smoother than we did tonight."
Edwards, though, said he was pleased with the Patriots' full-court pressure. Loudoun County (0-6, 0-4) started two freshmen and was overwhelmed by the defensive heat--Park View scored the game's first 10 points and kept the Raiders scoreless the first four minutes.
"That [10-0 run] put us in such a hole that we didn't know how to get out of it," Loudoun County Coach Chick Bushrod said. "A 10-0 run will rattle seniors. It doesn't matter who you have out there."
Except for one sequence early in the second quarter, Park View's lead was in double figures throughout the game. A 12-2 Park View run, sparked by 10 Schwalm points, midway through the third quarter, pushed the lead into the 20s, where it remained the rest of the way.
Loudoun County (0-6, 0-4)--Houseknecht 3 0-0 6, Payner 1 2-3 4, Stocks 3 0-0 6, T. Ramey 1 0-0 2, Groy 5 0-0 12, Gawrilow 5 2-2 12, Welti 1 1-1 3, Washington 2 0-0 4, Poland 1 0-0 2, Lincoln 1 0-0 2, Roseberry 1 0-0 3. Totals 24 5-6 56.
Park View (1-1, 1-0)--C. Ramey 2 1-2 5, N. Smith 6 5-6 18, Schwalm 11 5-7 27, Brownlee 3 0-0 8, Chew 6 1-1 14, Sisson 2 1-2 5, C. Smith 1 0-0 2. Totals 31 13-18 79.
Halftime: Park View, 37-21.
Three-point goals: Loudoun County 3 (Groy 2, Roseberry). Park View 4 (Brownlee 2, Chew, N. Smith).
CAPTION: Patriots, Raiders players pursue a loose ball.
CAPTION: Raiders defenders try to catch up after Derek Chew dribbles past them during Park View's victory in its home opener. The Patriots won despite 18 turnovers.
CAPTION: As teammate Jeffrey Payner, right, watches, the Raiders' Walt Houseknecht rises high to block Charles Ramey's shot.