STREETSBORO — He played in front of a packed house.
And some of his biggest fans were practically on top of him.
Thus, Bryce Vecchio had a decision to make.
Should he go for the more conventional honey mustard or should he add some special sauce?
“I was thinking I was going to dunk it and then I was like, ‘I don’t know,’” Vecchio said.
At the very last second, the 6-foot-5 sophomore forward opted for ordinary rather than extraordinary.
Alas, it turned out to be disastrous.
Vecchio’s layup attempt wound up bouncing off the rim and into a frenemy’s hands.
No razzle dazzle. No roar from the well-wishers. Just one distraught young man who wanted to crawl into his own black hole.
“I don’t know what I was thinking,” a befuddled Vecchio said.
In the end, everything turned out OK for the first-year varsity basketball player.
Very OK, as a matter of fact.
Thanks to Vecchio’s game-high 28 points, host Streetsboro made a dazzling 2019-20 debut with a thrilling 67-65 victory over Aurora Tuesday.
Vecchio proved he was human on a couple of occasions. He missed two layups down the stretch that probably could have iced the game for the Rockets.
The rookie sensation was just about unstoppable on every other play, though.
Vecchio converted 13-of-20 shots from the floor, including two 3-pointers. He also added eight rebounds.
And one may want to take this into consideration when it comes to the stellar sophomore’s scintillating performance: It was his first career varsity start.
Unlike many athletes, Vecchio didn’t spend much time working his way through the minor leagues like Crash Davis did.
The precocious sophomore, on the other hand, has taken a much quicker route to “the show.”
And like another hotshot rookie did in the 1988 classic baseball film Bull Durham, this gifted sophomore will continue to bring the “heat.”
“Bryce was tough,” Streetsboro head coach Nick Marcini said. “We were excited to see how he was going to do in a real game setting. He had a couple of really good scrimmages. He’s very talented, very skilled.
“Being a sophomore and never even playing in a JV [junior varsity] game before let alone a varsity game, I think he’ll be better.”
That could be a scary thought for the opposition.
Vecchio boldly attacked the basket on a regular basis.
Let’s just say this kind of massive production was necessary. Streetsboro nearly surrendered a 21-point lead against Aurora, which missed chippy after chippy in the first 16 minutes.
“It feels pretty good,” Vecchio said. “We have a younger team and they have an older team. It was pretty fun to work as a team to get back to it.”
The Rockets don’t expect to play their best basketball anytime soon. Streetsboro had just four practices entering Tuesday’s main event. The Rockets also have several new faces and a number of their older faces are tackling new careers without giving two weeks’ notice to their previous employer.
Of course, this drastic life change isn’t such a terrible thing if you make your home along routes 14 and 303.
That’s because Streetsboro’s football team, which featured a number of basketball players, recently completed its most successful season ever.
The Rockets finished 11-1 on the gridiron and reached the second round of the Division III playoffs for the first time.
“These football guys just need to get back in the gym,” Marcini said. “They just need to get their legs. We’re still learning; we’re still getting better. We got new guys all over the place. We’ll figure it out.”
Fortunately, a baby-faced giant can show them the way. Much sooner than expected too.
“We’ve only had a few practices altogether,” Vecchio said. “Coming out with a win [Tuesday] was pretty good.”
It could lead to “pretty good” things down the road, as well. And it hopes to be anything but conventional.
For Vecchio and his multisport comrades, the more special sauce, the better.
“We have a lot of promise,” Vecchio said. “I feel really good about it.”