Greeley Opens the New Season With a Tourney Win

We are part of The Trust Project
Greeley's Cameron Ciero gets inside for a basket in last Thursday's Quaker victory over Carmel.
Greeleys Cameron Ciero gets inside for a basket in last<br >Thursdays Quaker victory over Carmel

By Andy Jacobs
Horace Greeley senior Cameron Ciero proved last year he could be a one-man wrecking crew with the basketball in his hands. But his coach, Dave Fernandes, knows that his star guard’s gaudy point totals looked impressive in the scorebook, but didn’t really take the Quakers very far.
So the 2014-15 Quaker team will try to win more by having Ciero do less, even though he still has carte blanche to shoot when he sees fit.
“Well, you know, he’s got a green light, that’s for sure,” Fernandes was saying last Thursday evening after the curtain had risen on the new season for his team. “But I just think if we play together and we distribute it, it’ll be a much better team, a tougher team to beat.”
So far, so good for the Quakers, who needed a mere 19 points from Ciero on Thursday evening to defeat Carmel 47-42 in their season opener, a first-round game at Lakeland High School’s sixth annual Carolyn Conroy Memorial Basketball Tournament. Ciero scored 13 of his points in the second half to help Greeley emerge with a win in a seesaw game that had six lead changes and five ties.
“We’ve got a lot to work on,” said Fernandes shortly after Ciero set up center Connor Schinderman for a layup with 31 seconds remaining to help seal the victory. “We missed a lot of free throws, we missed some easy baskets. But it’s a group that’s playing together. We’ve really got some nice chemistry, so we’re hoping we can be right in the mix.”
The Quakers, who went on to defeat host Lakeland 50-47 in the title game 48 hours later as tourney MVP Ciero provided 16 points, failed to score for nearly the first five minutes of the second half against the Rams. Their slim halftime lead became a five-point deficit as Carmel scored the first seven points of the third quarter.
It wasn’t until Adam Quine scored on a put-back with 3:17 left in the period that Greeley was able to get on the board. But a Jason Neff 3-pointer from the left corner gave the Quakers the lead again and Ciero’s drive along the left baseline for a layup with 10 seconds to go enabled them to begin the final quarter ahead 33-31.
“The truth is, no,” said Fernandes when asked if he was concerned during the Quakers’ lengthy scoring drought to start the second half. “I’ve got more shooters this year. You know, it’s not all on Cameron. He’s our main guy, but it’s not like all on him. So I’m not worried about that. It’s about defense. Holding them to 40, that’s a good start.”
Back-to-back baskets by Matt Haughney and Ryan Train to begin the fourth quarter gave Carmel the lead once more, but Ciero slashed through the lane for a basket to tie the game again with 6:15 remaining. Nearly a minute later, his fast-break layup turned into a three-point play when he was fouled. The Quakers took a 38-35 lead and never trailed again.
But two free throws by Josh Alexander with 2:09 to go and two more from Train just 22 seconds later brought the Rams back to within a point. Ciero answered by driving the left baseline again for a lefty layup with 55 seconds on the clock. After a Carmel turnover, Ciero found Schinderman open underneath for the bucket that all but decided the outcome.
Ciero had spent most of the evening playing off the ball as junior Ben Wolfensohn, a diminutive southpaw with a quick first step, took care of the ball handling chores for the Quakers.
“I try not to let him do everything,” said Fernandes about Ciero. “But you saw at the end, we put the ball in his hands.”
That might be a winning formula all season long for the Quakers, who also got 10 points and six assists from Neff. For now, Fernandes is plenty pleased with the new look to his team.
“We’re trying to talk about one thing this year – family and the big picture,” he said. “What’s the big picture for us? It’s not about individuals.”

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.