by Frank Aceto | Associate Sports Editor
Tallmadge -- He sees some of the opposing players in the classroom and the opposing coach was his mentor.
A piece of Tallmadge second-year head coach Aaron Hinkle's heart will always remain with Green High School, where he still teaches.
After his latest showdown against his old team, one thing is still crystal clear about the Bulldogs-Blue Devils' rivalry.
Hinkle's friends still have bragging rights.
Green improved to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the Suburban League after posting a lopsided 70-35 victory over Tallmadge Jan. 4 at Tallmadge High School's James O. Maddox Court.
The Bulldogs, district finalists the previous two seasons, did whatever they wanted, when they wanted against the young Blue Devils, who have lost eight straight games.
By the time Tallmadge scored its first points of the game -- a layup by sophomore Andrew Francesconi late in the first quarter -- Green had a 17-0 lead. The Bulldogs promptly went on to score the next eight points and had a commanding 32-7 lead at halftime.
Despite the humbling defeat, Hinkle, a former assistant to longtime Green head coach Mark Kinsley, had no hard feelings. Hinkle knows the Bulldogs have a chance to make some noise in the postseason.
"They [the Bulldogs] have some kids who have been playing together for a long time," Hinkle said. "Last year was the last group I coached, but I see some of the current players in the classroom and Mark and I still talk on a weekly basis."
Kinsley's team has a bit more depth, height and experience than Hinkle's squad, which had no returning starters from last season dressed for the game.
Green showed it could score in a variety of ways.
The Bulldogs got easy buckets in transition, including a pair of dunks by 6-foot-6 senior forward Dan Fanelly. Green also buried shots from the perimeter and the painted area.
When the Blue Devils (1-9, 1-5) had the ball, they had some costly turnovers in bunches and simply couldn't knock down shots. Tallmadge managed to find a little bit of rhythm in the final 16 minutes, but the game had long been decided.
"They [the Bulldogs] really hurt us in transition," Hinkle said. "They run the floor well and did a nice job with their execution. They can score inside and outside."
Hinkle hoped his team could slow things down and not allow Green to turn things into a 90-foot dash. Unfortunately, that did not happen.
"We struggled with our transition defense," Hinkle said. "We wanted to limit their possessions and shorten the game.
"But you can't do that when you get down 20-2."
A total of 11 players scored for the Bulldogs. Sophomore guard Austin Marciniak and 6-8 senior forward Josh Pritchard each had 12 points to lead Green. Eddie Janini and Fanelly added nine and eight points, respectively, for the Bulldogs, who also posted a 46-32 win in the junior varsity contest.
Francesconi led the Blue Devils with 12 points and Joseph Vassalotti added seven points. No other Tallmadge player scored more than five points.
"We're going through some growing pains," Hinkle said. "It's tough because we're facing some good competition. You just want to get something out of it. If we can learn something from this, hopefully, it will help us in the second half of the season."
That process was scheduled to begin Jan. 11 when the Blue Devils head to Lodi to play Cloverleaf. Results were not available at press time.
Tallmadge is set to host Field Jan. 15 and Suburban League rival Revere Jan. 18. Both varsity contests are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.