Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Sports Person of the Week

Johnson Making His Point for the Huskies


Junior Zach Johnson is having a productive season in his second year as the starting point guard for the Morgan boys’ basketball squad. Photo courtesy of Zach Johnson

Junior Zach Johnson is having a productive season in his second year as the starting point guard for the Morgan boys’ basketball squad. (Photo courtesy of Zach Johnson )

Zach Johnson won a starting spot as the point guard on the Morgan boys’ basketball team as a sophomore last year. Now a junior, Zach is the leading scorer at 19.3 points per game for a Huskies’ club that closed out last week with a 7-3 record at the midpoint of the season.

Zach helped Morgan finish with a record of 18-8 and advance to the Division V state quarterfinals last winter. It was the Huskies’ first campaign with Head Coach Frank Rossi, who has been impressed with Zach from the get-go.

“Zach is an incredibly talented kid. Last year, we had a group of seniors, but Zach won that starting spot and became a very good role player,” says Rossi. “Now, he’s been called upon to carry much more of the load, and he’s stepped up. Zach is a tough guy to cover in our league, because he can shoot from the outside, as well as go to the basket. He can be a nightmare for the opponent’s defense.”

Zach is putting up some solid numbers for Morgan this year. He’s shooting the ball at a 56-percent clip from the floor, is an 80-percent free-throw shooter, and averages three assists per game. At 6-feet tall, Zach can also grab the ball off both the offensive and defensive glass.

Zach says that he’s been playing organized basketball for “as long as I can remember.”

“I got started in the Clinton Park and Rec when I must have been five or six years old. Then I was part of their traveling teams,” Zach says. “I knew when I got to Morgan that I wanted to play.”

Zach saw some varsity minutes as a freshman and then became a starter in his sophomore year. He enjoys playing the point guard position.

“You get to run the offense. I like being able to take matters into my own hands, to bring the ball up the court and initiate things,” says Zach. “It’s very much like being a quarterback in football. You have that chance to run the offense.”

Zach feels pleased with how the Huskies played during the first half of the season. He’s looking for Morgan to make another strong playoff push this year, but knows that the Huskies can’t get too far ahead of themselves.

“We’re a young team this year, so we’re trying to get better with every game. I thought we got off to a good start and have gotten better,” Zach says. “It’s still a matter of taking it one game at a time. We want to focus on the small picture first.”

Zach is a member of Morgan’s starting lineup with fellow juniors Jason Cohen and Rob Zirlis, along with sophomores Connor Duffy and Alex Fratamico.

“We’ve really been playing from the inside out,” says Zach. “We’ve tried to take advantage of our height, to be able to exploit defenses down low, but to also be able to bring the ball back out and score from the perimeter, as well.”

Coach Rossi has been mixing things up defensively throughout the season. He’s called upon Zach to serve as one of the Huskies’ defensive leaders on the floor.

“Zach is that kind of kid who can cover the court,” Rossi says. “When we press, he’s one of the guys that I’m looking for, a person who can disrupt the other team’s offense.”

In the spring, Zach competes for the Morgan boys’ tennis team. His older brother Garrett also played basketball and tennis at Morgan and is now attending Quinnipiac University.

“I’m not sure on colleges yet, but I could end up at Quinnipiac, because Garrett goes there,” Zach says.

Zach still has plenty of basketball left to play at Morgan before then. Coach Rossi says that he looks forward to seeing Zach and the other athletes on this young Huskies’ team continue improving through these next two seasons.

“We’ve set some lofty goals for this team, even though it’s young,” says Rossi. “Next year, when kids like Zach grow into the game even more, we should be continuing to head upward.”

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