Slow and Steady
Published: January 31, 2013
Font size: [A] [A] [A]
The stage was set for greatness last Tuesday at Abington Heights and Comets senior Jamie Egan ready to step out into the spotlight.
The Comets and visiting Scranton each entered the boys basketball game undefeated in Lackawanna League Division I play.
With standout J.C. Show the object of the Scranton defense, especially in the first half, Egan delivered under the bright lights with 17 points, four steals and three assists as Abington Heights drilled the Knights, 67-42.
"It felt great. I just went out and played," Egan said. "It was a big game and everyone had to step up. The atmosphere was amazing."
"It was one of the biggest games anybody has ever had for me, almost perfect," Comets coach Ken Bianchi said, pointing out that Egan also played stellar defense and missed just one of his eight field-goal tries in the game.
The seeds for the impressive effort were sown last year when Show was out for a game at Delaware Valley and Egan needed to step in and help pick up the slack.
"He knocked down like three 3-pointers in a row," Bianchi said. "We told him not to worry if he missed. I know he got confidence at Delaware Valley."
"Every one needed to contribute when J.C. was out," Egan said. "Our leader wasn't there and everyone had to make shots and make plays. Everyone contributed."
Building that confidence took some time as Egan tended to be hard on himself and that may have affected his play at times.
"Some players think they are better than they really are, but he's the opposite - he's a better player than he thinks he is," Bianchi said. "He's a very quiet kid, and he was the kind of kid that doesn't brush off his mistakes easily. Mistakes would bother him but you can't let them [mistakes] get you down."
Egan still made errors, but fewer of them, and the few he made left his mind quicker, leaving him poised to make the most of his senior season.
"Playing JV [junior varsity] and moving up slowly really helped me, gave me the confidence to be on the court with these guys," Egan said.
His offense was behind his defense at the beginning of the season, but Bianchi saw progress.
"He started off playing well on defense, and his whole game began to pick up," Bianchi said. "He's a golfer, and he's wiry, but he's our best defensive rebounder. He's not going to get the ball and dunk. He doesn't get up higher than the other guys, but he gets up quicker."
All of his time playing set him up for his recent ascent to stardom. Armed with confidence, Egan was prepared for his big game.
"I get my confidence in practice. If you can hit open shots in practice, you can hit them in games," Egan said. "It gives me the confidence that I can play with these guys."
Last week against Scranton, it all came together, starting by making his opening shot of the game.
"It did. To hit your first shot in a big game sets a good tone for the rest of the game," Egan said. "I hit a three-pointer, and that happened."
His confidence soaring, Egan ultimately helped his teammates establish the flow of the game.
"I was able to hit a couple of shots in the first quarter, and then everybody starts hitting open shots," Egan said.
The court opened up for everybody, including Show. With the whole team involved in the offense, everyone has to be defended, and eventually Show found enough holes and gaps to finish with 21 points as the Comets broke the game open, turning a six-point halftime lead to a resounding 25-point victory.
"It didn't seem like that," Egan said. "We played hard, made some shots and came up with the W [win]. You had to play with some emotion in that gym. It was a great feeling to be in that atmosphere."
Although it was a slow journey to high school stardom in basketball, Egan is ready to assume more responsibility in the second half of the season. Past success has a way of carrying over into the future and Egan can't wait to see what lies ahead.