After getting to a late start this winter season, the Johnston boys basketball team has caught fire and is on a three-game win streak in league play.
The Panthers’ most recent victory came in a 67-53 decision over Juanita Sanchez earlier in the week. Senior forward Thomas Zednik led the way with 30 points while Derek and Justin Salvatore added 12 each. The club also topped Cranston West 72-65 and was led by Hunter Remington with 24 points while Zednik and CJ Ragosta scored 14. Derek Salvatore also put up 14 points in the win.
Although the Panthers got off to the late start and dropped their first two league games, coach Mike Bedrosian felt that the team has been competitive in every game and is finally hitting its stride.
“In our two (league losses), we only lost by three and four, so we were right there. Those were each games that we could have won, but credit to those teams, they played well. We were there at the end of the games though,” said Bedrosian.
He and head coach Mark Livingston have also been encouraged by the early chemistry between the young players and senior leaders in Zednik and Justin Salvatore.
“They’re blending well together. We’re fortunate that Justin has (his brother Derek), those guys have been playing together their whole lives and Derek is our floor general and has played with these guys for six, seven years. Tom Zednik has been great, two of the three games he had 30 points and 10 rebounds. We go as far as he goes and I would say he’s one of the best big men in the entire state right now,” said Bedrosian.
Zednik has also been energized by the new level competition after moving up a division and hopes to carry the momentum into the playoff push.
“He’s embracing it and is looking forward to the challenge of playing in Division II. Playing in Division III for a few years, he wants to prove that he can play at the next level, Thomas has been up for the challenge,” said Bedrosian. “He’s more mature and more confident. He knows that he’s the man now. Last year we had five or six guards that ran the team, he now knows that it’s his team and he’s taken a special interest in it.”