Niagara Gazette

Sports

December 14, 2012

Jackson takes over for Patriots

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Like Adamson, both are talented players still adjusting to the organized game. Paige brings speed to the guard position, while Socha and his 6-foot-6 frame has manned the middle for the Patriots so far this season.

"These two young men have done well all offseason," Fields said. "Jake is coming off a little bit of an injury from his AAU team, which has hurt is growth, but you know he's just going to continue to grow and get better. I think he's going to be a great player by his senior year. He has a lot of tools and doesn't really realize what he can do out there yet.

"Craig has kind of been thrown into the fire this year. He's been one of our primary ball handlers. He's not really a point guard, but as time goes on, he'll get into the swing of things. We play in a very tough league, and he's going to have tough nights, but he's up to the challenge."

The Patriots have a very small roster, listing only eight players on some nights. Fields said they haven't closed the door on more players who might come out for the team late, but for now, he goes into each game with a trio of seniors on the bench in Alex Nearhood, William Whisker and Justin O'Connor.

"I take my hats off to my seniors, I really do," he said. "They're not basketball players. They like the game, but it's not their main forte. They understand what it means to be a role player, and they understand what it means to work 100 percent. They're dependable, reliable and know the system, and I never worry about using them."

So far, the Patriots are off to a 2-2 start after recent losses to Depew and Cheektowaga. They'll play next in their season tip-off tournament on Dec. 22-23.

Follow high school sports reporter Mike Meiler on Twitter @mikemeiler for updates on your local teams.

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